Starting Friday, U.S. Forest Service naturalists at the Snoqualmie Pass Visitor Information Center will offer a variety of guided outdoor winter walks and activities.
Some of the walks are offered on a regular basis, while others will take place only on certain dates.
Here is a look at what is being offered:
90-minute walk: This moderate pace, one-mile round-trip trek will be held Saturdays and Sundays at 10 and 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. This loop winds through old-growth forest. Elevated up on the snow-pack, participants might see normally hidden lichens, fungus, winter birds and mammals. Discover what critters made those mysterious tracks and what are all those tiny of black insects flipping around on the snow. Suggested donation: Adults $15, youth 16 and younger $10.
Extended walk: Fridays-Sundays at 9 a.m. This five-mile round-trip trek will take you into the heart of Commonwealth Basin, a landscape filled with snowshoe routes and interesting winter life. Marten, ground squirrel, bobcat, wolverine all travel through this area, sometimes leaving evidence on the fresh snow. Bring a well-stocked backpack, lunch and dress for the ever-changing mountain weather. Trip lasts 4-5 hours. Suggested donation: $25 per person.
Photography walk: Begins Jan. 19 and then held every other Saturday at 9:30 a.m. Photography enthusiasts from expert to novice can enjoy the chance for winter inspired photos. The trip guide will lead discussions about light, composition and exposure. Participants are encouraged to bring their own film or digital cameras and extra batteries. In order to reduce your own exposure, please carry a well-stocked backpack with lunch. This trip usually lasts about 4-5 hours. Suggested donation: $25 per person.
Kids in Snow: Beginning Jan. 12 and on Saturdays at 1 p.m. This 90-minute family snowshoe outing will help start young participants on their way to earn a Junior Snow Ranger badge. Learn to identify tracks, learn about exploring nature in winter and climb into an igloo (snowpack permitting). Discover which animals live nearby that turn white in winter, sleep the winter away, burrow and live entirely under the snow and those that can freeze themselves nearly solid right through until the spring melt. Kids control the speed of this walk. Snowshoes available for kids and adults. Suggested donation: Adults $15, youth 16 and younger $10.
Nordic ski: Jan. 12, 19, 26 and Feb. 2, 9 and 16. The Forest Service has teamed up with the Summit at Snoqualmie Ski Area to offer a guided winter ecology trip on Nordic skis. Begin this outing at Grand Junction on the ski area’s popular Mount Catherine Loop. Purchase a ski area ticket, ride the ski lift or ski up and meet the group at the Grand Junction hut. We’ll start skiing from there, making stops to talk about the history of the area, forest succession, wildlife encounters and winter-related things. Meet at 10 a.m., and plan to be back at the hut by 11:30. Donations are not suggested.
Partnership hike: Jan. 19. The U.S. Forest Service and Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust are co-sponsoring a day on the snow. Take part in one of three one-mile loop snowshoe outings where staff will share history and stories about this region and give you and your family ideas for your next area adventure. Suggested donation: Adults $15, youth 16 and younger $10.
To take part
The center is at 69805 SE Snoqualmie Pass Summit Road, at Exit 52 from Interstate 90.
To make a reservation, call Kim Larned at 509-852-1062 until Wednesday. Starting Thursday, the visitor center will take reservations Thursdays-Sundays at 425-434-6111.