When snow begins to pile up at the higher elevations and you pull your cross-country skis, snowshoes, and sleds out of storage, you need to know about Washington State Parks Sno-Park Permits. Winter access areas require special maintenance above and beyond summer needs. This includes plowing parking lots, grooming ski & snowmobile trails, and clearing access roads and trails. Many winter recreation sites require a permit administered by Washington State Parks.
Where: Any winter Sno-Park location – essentially any winter recreation site on state or federal land where the parking lot is plowed. State Parks maintains a directory of non-motorized, snowmobile, and snow play Sno-Parks here. Examples in the Greenway include Gold Creek and Crystal Springs Sno-Parks.
When: Nov 1 through April 30
Price: $20 for a One Day Permit; $40 for a Seasonal Permit (plus $40 for a seasonal Special-Groomed Trails Permit if needed—see below for details). This pass is non-transferable and can only be used on one vehicle.
Where to Buy: Online, at the Snoqualmie Pass Visitor Center, or from REI Co-op and other retail vendors.
What does it fund? Your pass helps cover the cost of keeping parking lots plowed and outfitted with porta potties.
How do you know where the pass is required? Signs at the parking lot that indicate a Sno-Park pass requirement in the winter.
What is the Special Groomed Trails Permit and where do I need that? Eight Sno-Parks (Cabin Creek, Chiwawa, Crystal Springs, Hyak, Lake Easton, Lake Wenatchee, Mount Spokane, and Nason Ridge) groom trails in addition to plowing the parking lot, increasing operating costs. Sno-Park One Day Permits may be used for either groomed or un-groomed locations without any extra charge. However, if you purchase a Seasonal Permit, you must also purchase a seasonal Special Groomed Trails Permit.
More Info: Washington State Parks provides additional information here.