As the snow begins to pile up at the higher elevations and cross country skis, snowshoes and sleds are being pulled out of storage, it is time to think about Washington State Parks Sno-Park Permits. Winter access areas require special attention, above and beyond summer time needs. This includes plowing parking lots, grooming ski & snowmobile trails and clearing access roads and trails. Permits are required at most sites and are administered by Washington State Parks.
Where Any winter Sno-Park location. Essentially any winter recreation site where the parking lot is plowed during the winter (it doesn’t matter if it is state or federal land—it just needs to be plowed for this to apply). Here is a full list of locations.
For example: Gold Creek Pond Sno-Park, Hyak Sno-Park (although not the ski area parking lot), Crystal Springs Sno-Park
When Nov 1 through April 30
Price $20/day; $40/annual pass (plus $40 for Special Groomed Trails Permit—see below for details)
Where to Buy REI Co-op, Snoqualmie Pass Visitors Center, or see a full list of vendors
What does it fund? Your pass helps cover the cost of keeping the parking lots plowed (so you can park your cars after a snow storm) as well as keep trails groomed (where applicable—see below). They also make sure that there are porta potties at each Sno-Park.
How do you know where the pass is required? There will always be a sign at the parking lot that indicates that a Sno-Park pass is needed in the winter. See a full list of sites. Green Trails maps currently doesn’t show where these are needed.
What is the Special Groomed Trails Permit and where do I need that? Some Sno-Parks not only have a plowed parking lot, but they also have a groomed trail system. Essentially it costs even more for them to groom and plow (rather than just plowing), so they have a higher cost for the pass if you park there.
If you bought a day pass – it can be used for either groomed or un-groomed locations without any extra charge
If you bought an annual pass – you will need to buy a Special Groomed Trails Permit as well if you want to park here. See a list of the places that require this extra pass if you have an annual pass.
How many cars? This pass is non-transferable and can only be used on one vehicle. The license plate numbers is written on the pass.
More Info http://parks.state.wa.us/134/Permits