Description: The two-mile trek on Highway Loop 20 is perfect for snowshoeing and hiking beginners (go around Jan.-March). With the highway closed for winter, you just park at the end of the line and walk on the closed highway towards Big Four Mountain. It is completely flat, a nice easy walk except for the extra effort of walking in snow (the snowshoes helped but weren't essential). We stopped at Big Four Picnic area, a good turnaround point, or you can continue on a one-mile trail to the Ice Caves. The caves themselves are off-limits in winter due to avalanche danger. Oh, and Droopy's little snow booties, at $15 a set? They kept his feet noticeably warmer but didn't stay on well - we lost one on his first outing.
Directions: Drive I-5 North to Everett. Take exit number 194 onto Highway 2 east.
Exit onto highway 204 (to Lake Stevens).
Turn left (north) onto Highway 9.
A little past Lake Stevens take a right (east) onto highway 92.
Follow 92 for about 8 miles, through Granite Falls, and at a T intersection with the Mountain Loop Highway take a left (north) onto Mountain Loop Highway (20).
Follow road for about 10 miles to the Verlot Public Service/Ranger Station.
You can buy trailhead passes at this station when it is open (but not needed to park on the highway). The Rangers are very nice, and if your dog is well behaved they don't mind it coming into the station with you. From the Center travel east about 12 miles until the road ends. Park in the make-shift lot at the end of the road.
Last updated 2/02