Let's Go Cross Country Skiing or Snow Shoeing

Last time was so fun and such good exercise, let do it again! This time I want to go in WA. I have never been to this one so it will take some more planning and patience. Meet at 9AM at gateway transit center by the elevators that are in the 2 story parking garage, meet there to carpool (we will be leaving at 9:10, be on time or early please) and head up to Lone Butte Cross Country Ski Park. If you want to just meet there, we will be there about 10:30 AM. Call Eric to find us[masked] or text. Please list on RSVP if you can or are willing to drive and about how many people you can fit in your car. You can rent skis at Next Adventure $20, Mountain Ski Shop on Sandy $15 or REI. You can either go cross country or snowshoe. Both activities are super Fun and pretty easy to learn. To build leg strength before going you can walk, hike, or do the elliptical. Pack a lunch, wear warm waterproof layers, sunglasses or googles, and sunscreen. Looks super nice up there! Last time we went for dinner at a nice brew pub after, maybe we will hit the Walking Man Brewery in Stevenson, maybe even the Bonneville Hot Springs (bathing suits required) hot springs is $25 i'm not going to go, but you are welcome to go if you want to pay and can talk others into going who you are traveling with. If you are renting skis or snowshoes, please get them the day before. Beginners and people of all levels are welcome. We will help accomodate your level and give some tips about technique and terrain.

Lone Butte stands right in the middle of the diamond shape formed by Rainier, St. Helens, Adams and Hood. As such it afford excellent views of each of them in all directions as well as part of the Columbia Gorge. It's an easy summit in summer as you can drive to a spot near the summit and walk up through the forest and rock (there's no trail though) but it really makes for a great winter summit when you can't get to the big Cascade peaks.

The mountain has a neat geologic history as it was formed by an eruption that occurred under either glacial ice or a meltwater lake. This kind of volcano is called a "tuya". The lower part of the mountain is composed of pillow basalt that forms when it erupts under water and appears lumpy. On a winter ascent when snow-covered this is greatly accented. The top 200 feet of the mountain are where the basalt core rises through the trees. There are also neat lava dikes on the northeastern side of the mountain.

At the part of the hike where the road/trail ends there is an old quarry site on the southwestern part of the mountain where you can see the various strata easily. If you hike around the west side of the mountain there is a large snowfield in winter that looks like it would make a neat steep snowclimb although the easier way to the summit is around the southern side of the quarry.

Not many people make a winter ascent and it makes for a neat day of cross country skiing or snowshoeing. Depending on conditions, an ice axe and crampons might be warranted as well. The only problem in the winter is the sound of snowmobiles on the trails below. But, in winter you get an approach from the snow park of 3 miles. The top 600 or so feet of elevation gain would require skins on skis though.

All in all, this is a fun mountain with great views and some neat sites along the trail.

Getting There

To get to Lone Butte requires travel on Interstate 84 from either the east (Spokane/The Dalles) or the west (Seattle/Portland). If you are coming from the east in Washington though you can also take Highway 14.

Take I-84 to Cascade Locks, OR and go across the Bridge of the Gods ($0.75 toll for cars) to the Washington side of the Columbia River. Turn right onto Highway 14 and go through the town of Stevenson. A few miles after Stevenson turn left at the sign for Carson (Wind River Road, the main drag through town) and go north. You will continue on Wind River Road but note that at about the 10 mile mark you will take the right fork which is just a few hundred feet north of the Carson National Fish Hatchery. From here continue on several miles to the fourth and last snow park (the Lone Butte Snow Park). Be careful in winter as the winding corners get icy and there are some steep dropoffs in places.

Snow park pass is required to park at the snow park. (This is NOT the same thing as a Northwest Forest Pass, this is another way they get money out of you.) You can buy these at any outdoor store and some grocery stores as well in the area. There is a store on Wind River Road between Carson and the fork to the right in the little town of Stabler called the Stabler Country Store that sells snow park passes as well. It's on the left side of the road as you head north.



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  • Linda L.

    Great pictures Janelle!

    March 10, 2013

  • Eric

    good day up skiing, if some of you missed us, we were meeting by the parking garage elevators, please read event details. we had a fun day, got a little off track with bad online directions, then made a save for a great sunny day of snowshoeing and cross country skiing, thansk to all who made it and those who drove, Awesome Day!!! and great mexican restaurant in Stevenson after our journey! now i know a new place in WA, and they have a rad sledding hill, plenty of groomed cross country trails and good snowshoeing, whoohoo let's explore some more!

    March 9, 2013

    • Linda L.

      I *barely* made it on time!

      March 10, 2013

  • Linda L.

    Thanks for putting this trip together, Eric. It was definitely an adventure getting there! But, once we went up the wrong road, moved the log, then went back to the main road to find the right path and found Lone Butte, I found it was all worth it. The weather was great, the views were pretty, the people were all nice and very friendly, and the shoeing was an easy trek once we cooled off by stripping off our layers. Too bad I missed the Mexican Food, but will join you guys next time!

    March 10, 2013

  • Linda L.

    I'm posting more pics soon...

    March 10, 2013

  • Eric

    great pics, thanks!

    March 9, 2013

  • Colette A

    The people were great, weather was awesome and had a great time. Directions to the place, not so much...

    2 · March 9, 2013

    • Roxandra

      Nice meeting you, Colette! Did you do the whole loop?

      1 · March 9, 2013

    • Colette A

      Yes, nice to meet you too Roxandra! No, we didn't. We headed back down after you left. :-)

      1 · March 9, 2013

  • Ann C.

    Not feeling well at all. I'm so jealous. Have a great ime.

    1 · March 9, 2013

  • Eric

    bring your suits just in case we find a different hot springs, maybe carson?

    1 · March 9, 2013

    • Stephanie

      No fair because I can't go!!

      March 9, 2013

  • Janie

    I'm looking forward to xcountry skiing and also am excited that we are going to a site in Washington. I will need a ride too at Gateway! We had so much fun with a group of 12 last weekend snowshoeing at June Lake at Mt St Helens. Will be fun to see you again Linda L.

    1 · March 7, 2013

    • Janie

      I'll be driving to Gateway, that's no problem for me. I'll carpool with others up to the mountain though.

      March 8, 2013

    • Janie

      I think I may snow shoe now rather that xcountry ski.

      March 8, 2013

  • Natalya

    What is temperature there, elevation? Will we have discount as a group to go to hot spring, other ways it's $25.

    1 · March 8, 2013

    • Eric

      not sure about temp, or elevation, it should be about 35-50 degrees, you can just take it mellow, you don't have to ski too far, and good heads up about hotsprings last time it was $12, $25 is too much for me

      March 8, 2013

    • Stephanie

      Have a wonderful time tomorrow, everyone.

      March 8, 2013

  • Stephanie

    Cat is sick. Too many things going on.

    1 · March 8, 2013

    • Stephanie

      lol....will be going to Breitenbush in June to celebrate my bd. If we can get a group together, that would be nice. Renting a tent, I hope.

      March 8, 2013

    • Stephanie

      Otherwise there is a day thing at Breitenbush which includes a meal or two. I love that place.

      March 8, 2013

  • Eric

    it turns out hot springs is $25, too much for me, let's ski and go eat at walking man brewery in stevenson, go to a free hot spring in a month or so, bagby, or breitenbush, cougar, there is a bunch free, can't pay $25, if anyone wants to go sometime to another one i will host!

    1 · March 8, 2013

  • Linda L.

    Hi All: Just curious if you could answer below this post if you are going 1) xcountry skiing or snow shoeing, and 2) are you going to the Hot springs afterwards. Myself? 1) leaning toward snowshoe because I have the equipment, but, I am an experienced xcountry skiier, but, no longer have equipment. 2) Not sure if I'm going to the Hotsprings. Depends on who else goes! But, I'll bring my swimsuit and towel, just in case! :)

    1 · March 7, 2013

    • Eric

      Linda, hey, i'm going cross country and to eat after, it turns out the hotsprings is $25 and no group rates, that's too much for me, bring a lunch up to the mountain if you want.

      March 8, 2013

    • Linda L.

      yeah, $25 is too much!

      March 8, 2013

  • Ann C.

    Does anyone know how long the trail is and the elevation. I want to make sure I can do it.

    1 · March 8, 2013

    • Eric

      we can take it easy on trail, not sure of elevation, we can stay on easy part, very casual if you want, i don't go to fast or far, you'll be ok!

      March 8, 2013

    • Eric

      not sure, but you'll be ok, we can go slow and you only have to go as far as you want, just take it mellow, i usually go slow

      March 8, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Anyone idea on the conditions up there right now? (i.e. powder). I'll be bringing my snowshoes.

    Also, hot springs afterwards?!

    1 · March 7, 2013

    • Eric

      today was a little snow of the crust

      March 8, 2013

    • Eric

      little bit of fresh snow at t-line today, hot springs is $25, i'm going to pass, but let's go eat after at walking man brewery in stevenson, i've heard it's cool

      March 8, 2013

  • Erin

    Great idea! I am happy to pay for gas, but would prefer someone else drive. See you tomorrow.

    1 · March 8, 2013

    • Eric

      i am hoping we have enough drives, there is a slight chance some people might have to drive, i was up on hood today all the way to timberline and driving was good, this will be ok for driving

      March 8, 2013

  • Susan C.

    Seems a bit more strenuous than I can do, and I have a volunteer commitment at Cat Adoption Team anyway. Sounds like a great place to go for photography, though!

    1 · March 8, 2013

  • Laurence

    Have not recovered yet from pulled muscle, have to cancel.

    1 · March 4, 2013

    • Linda L.

      Aww too bad your muscle is not recovered yet. Guess I will have to drink hot cocoa with whipped cream by myself!

      March 7, 2013

    • Laurence

      Ohh nooo, you can't do that! Hope to see you on another event. Have fun!

      1 · March 7, 2013

  • Amy

    Something has come up, I won't be able to make it. :(

    1 · March 7, 2013

  • Roxandra

    I have brand new snowshoes. It this OK for a beginner? I'm more of a downhill skiier.

    1 · March 4, 2013

    • Colette A

      I'm band new to showshoeing too!

      1 · March 6, 2013

    • Linda L.

      Snowshoeing is VERY easy -- ya don't even need lessons!

      1 · March 7, 2013

  • Colette A

    Barb, check your email box, I sent you a couple of responses. Waiting for your response. Thx.

    1 · March 7, 2013

  • Michael G.

    I'm really looking forward to this. Think I'll try cross country. I'll meet you guys at Gateway. Wish I could drive but I have a 7 Civic that wouldn't make it. See ya at Gateway! I'm down for the hot springs as well!

    1 · March 5, 2013

  • Natalya

    Thank you Eric. We do need a ride.

    1 · March 5, 2013

  • Colette A

    I am in Vancouver, I will be snow shoeing, my first time with the group and shoeing. If someone in the Vancouver area wants to ride with me that would be cool. I have AWD SUV. This should be fun!

    2 · March 2, 2013

    • Colette A

      Yes, that would be great!

      March 4, 2013

    • Janelle

      Which area do you live, I am in the heights and can come to you :]

      March 4, 2013

  • Natalya

    What time we will be back to Gateway?

    1 · March 4, 2013

    • Eric

      depends on if you drive or who you ride with, i plan on going to eat after then going to the hotsprings and being back around 7 or 8 pm

      March 4, 2013

  • Eric

    it sounds like some people want to check out Bonneville Hot Springs after, brings your suits, outdoor hot tub mineral water, huge mineral pool and sauna. not the real deal like bagby or breitenbush, but still enjoyable.

    1 · March 3, 2013

  • Eric

    if some people have newer vehicles to drive and help carpool, that would be appreciated!

    March 3, 2013

  • Linda L.

    I'd like to ride w/someone, please -- and I'll contribute $$$ for the ride. Don't know if I'll ski, or shoe yet!

    1 · February 19, 2013

    • Eric

      can you get to gateway transit, from there we can find ya a ride no problem

      February 27, 2013

    • Linda L.

      Oh, yeah, I can get there easily! I just don't want to drive to the mountain :)

      February 27, 2013

  • A. S.

    Will be out of town

    1 · February 27, 2013

  • Janelle

    I would like to carpool with someone please and will help with gas. I will be snowshoeing, its gonna be so fun-first time with this meetup :]

    1 · February 19, 2013

    • Eric

      meet at gateway transit to carpool, we will find room

      1 · February 27, 2013

  • Laurence

    Never cross country skied before... That will be interesting. Looking forward to it.

    1 · February 19, 2013

    • Eric

      it's super fun!

      February 27, 2013

  • Richard von R.

    Sorry to cancel, just realized I have sailing class scheduled

    1 · February 26, 2013

    • Eric

      hope to see ya next time

      February 27, 2013

  • Katie F.

    Whoops, I'll be out of town that weekend.

    1 · February 19, 2013

  • Stephanie

    Will be snowshoeing, taking light rail to Gateway, and help pay for carpooling.

    1 · February 19, 2013

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