Sno-Park 101: What do I need for 2020?

Snowmobile from Jason

Get out and shred on that sled! If you love snowmobiling, the time is ripe to head out to Washington State Sno-Parks! 

Hey — it’s snowing!

Winter 2020 has rolled in like, well, a storm. That means it’s time to break out your favorite winter toys. Whether you ski, snowshoe, snowmobile, cross country ski, skijor or just enjoy a romp in the snow, Sno-Parks in Washington are where you will find “snow” much fun!

Three exciting changes are in effect this season to make your winter recreation adventures even more awesome.

❄ No Discover Pass required! While you will still need to buy the right permit for your winter recreation style, the Discover Pass is no longer required at Sno-Parks. Bonus: This makes getting your winter groove on much easier. 

❄ Snowbikes are now legal! In this case, snow bikes are a hybrid between a motorcycle and a snowmobile. You will need to register them the same way you do a snowmobile.

❄ There’s a map for that! Check out the new Winter Recreation interactive map. Use it to plan your perfect winter vacation.

The Basics

Woohoo — let’s go snowshoe! Strap on some snowshoes and enjoy a winter day outdoors like these kids at Mount Spokane State Park.

Get your mitts on the right permits!

Permits may be purchased online or from one of many permit vendors statewide. All permits must be affixed to the lower left corner (driver’s side) of the vehicle when parked at a designated Sno-Park area. Read on for more details about what you will need to get out and go at Sno-Parks!

Depending on which Sno-Park is on your winter itinerary and the type of adventure you have planned, you’ll need a Sno-Park permit. Sno-Parks are plowed with groomed trails—and have sanitation services—so you can park and enjoy winter fun!

There are three Sno-Park designations

  • Non-Motorized — for skiing, fat-tire biking, skijoring, snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, skate skiing, etc.
  • Snow Play — For sledding, building snow sculptures, etc.
  • Snowmobile/Motorized — for snowmobiling and snow biking

Note: Mount Spokane State Park is the only Washington state park that offers downhill skiing and snowboarding in addition to Nordic trails for classic skiing, skate skiing and skijoring, In addition, the park has groomed roads available for snowmobiles and all types of non-motorized use. Other designated trail systems that aren’t groomed are also open to non-motorized use including snowshoeing, back-country skiing, snowboarding and fat-tire biking. For information about downhill skiing, visit the Mount Spokane 2000 website or call (509) 238-2220.

It costs money to prepare and maintain Sno-Parks. Permit revenues are important to keep these areas usable for everyone. When you buy a Sno-Park permit, you’re helping pay for trail grooming, snow removal, maps, brochures, signage, enforcement, warming huts, bathrooms and more! Snowmobile registration fees and a percentage of the state’s fuel tax also help pay for these services.

Question: Snowmobiling and snow biking? Oh yah! What will I need? 

Answer: You’ll need a Snowmobile Sno-Park Permit to visit motorized parks. When Washington residents register their snowmobiles or snow bikes, they get a no-cost seasonal Snowmobile Sno-Park Permit. To register, visit the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) website or get one in-person at a licensing agent.

Visiting Washington from another state? You can purchase an Annual Snowmobile Sno-Park Permit or a Daily Sno-Park Permit.

Be sure your snowmobile or snow bike is registered before you hit the trail! Remember to affix the permit in the lower left corner of your vehicle’s windshield or snowmobile towing vehicle before you go.

Enjoy skate skiing on the shores of Lake Wenatchee this winter!

Skiing along the shores of Lake Wenatchee.
Marble mountain shelter

Permits provide funding for Sno-Park amenities such as grooming, plowed parking lots and cozy warming huts like this one at Marble Mountain Sno-Park.

Q. I like to ski, snowshoe and do other non-motorized winter recreation activities. What do I need? 

A: For all types of non-motorized winter adventures, you’ll need a Seasonal Non-Motorized Sno-Park Permit.

Q. I’m only visiting for the day this season…what do I need for non-motorized activities? 

A: You’ll need a One-Day Sno-Park Permit.

Q. I’m visiting a Sno-Park with special groomed trails…what do I need?  

A: A few Sno-Parks have special groomed trails ideal for Nordic skiing and skate skiing. To ski at the following Sno-Parks, you’ll need a Combination Special Groomed Trail sticker and a Seasonal Non-Motorized Permit.

  • Cabin Creek
  • ChiwawaFatbiking-Pearrygin
  • Crystal Springs
  • Hyak
  • Lake Easton
  • Lake Wenatchee
  • Mount Spokane
  • Nason Ridge

Fat tire biking is an increasingly popular winter sport. Try it yourself this winter at Pearrygin Lake State Park.

Trip Planner...

Be safe!

We want you to have fun, and that means staying safe. Whether you skate ski, snowshoe, sled, skijor, cross-country ski, fat tire bike, snowmobile or just build a snow person, brush up before you go, and be prepared for any emergency. Here are some great tips from our outdoor friends and partners!

❄ General winter safety: Visit Take Winter by Storm for a comprehensive crash course on how to stay safe in the snow.

❄ Skiers: Find solid information and fun quizzes to bolster and test your knowledge of ski safety, helmet use, etiquette, youth skiing and more at the National Ski Patrol site.

❄ Skijoring: Don’t let your winter fun go to the dogs! Not when you can learn so “mush” at the Skijoring USA site!

❄ Snowshoeing: When it comes to getting out and about in the Evergreen State, our friends at the Washington Trails Association know how to go! Learn snowshoeing basics and how to stay safe here!

❄ Snowmobiling: Buzzing through the trees is a blast! But anything from a busted sled to an Snohengeavalanche can put the brakes on your riding fun. The Washington State Snowmobile Association has a handle on everything you’ll need to stay safe on your sled.

Stay up-to-date on conditions, fun stuff to do and grooming reports on our winter recreation Twitter feed: @StatePks_WNTR.

❄ And speaking of avalanches…We strongly advise you check with the Northwest Avalanche Center every time you plan to go out in the snow.

Snow Play Sno-Parks offer a fun and beautiful way to just play in the snow. You can even make a "snohenge" like this one seen at Lake Easton State Park.

Learn More

Still have questions?
Call the State Parks Winter Recreation Program at (360) 902-8684 or check out our winter recreation web page.

Have a great State Parks adventure to share?
Share your Sno-Park and state park photos and adventure stories here!