Summit at Snoqualmie – Summit East has a rustic real alpine feel to it. The Old Milwaukee Lodge is an authentic two story humble lodge. This is where the Snoqualmie Nordic Center is based. You’ll find a mix of Alpine and Nordic skiiers here as well as snowshoers. Upstairs is the Broken Tip Bar with a pool table, two Crown Royal Thrones, and a superb view out the A-Frame window of the slopes from its second floor perch. Downstairs is the Cafe which serves burgers, fries, pizza, soups with a relaxed comfortable dining area.
The Snoqualmie Nordic Center typically operates mid-December to early April. Opening and closing dates may vary year to year since operations are dependent on natural snow. It’s only open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays plus some holiday periods 9-330. Nordic skiing is only allowed on the Nordic Trails accessible from Summit East and the Silver Fir chair.
The Snoqualmie Nordic Center offers lessons for beginners, youth and teens, as well as private lessons for anyone looking to improve their skills.
If you want to snowshoe or Nordic Ski on a weekday and have brought your own equipment, consider the Hyak Sno-Park and the Palouse to Cascades Trail along Keechelus Lake or Gold Pond. It’s much cheaper as well though there are no lifts, warming huts, or trail grooming services.
Pets are not allowed on the trail system or in the area around the lodge. If you want to ski or snowshoe with your dog, try the nearby Gold Creek Sno-Park. Dogs on Sno-Park trails must be on leash.
Lifts, Trails, Facilities
Lifts and Alpine Trails
Summit East has 3 lifts – East Peak (triple), Rampart (quad), and Hidden Valley (double). Silver Fir Express, while part of Summit Central, may be used by Nordic skiers to access the upper trail network.
The East Peak chair brings skiers up to the summit of 3,710’ Mt Hyak. Here you can ski several narrow groomed trails to a mid mountain quad. Or you can try some pitchy ungroomed short but steeps runs under each lift line. The Backside Hidden Valley offers great views, a few runs and a vintage center-pole double chair.
Nordic and Snowshoe Trails
The map below shows the Summit at Snoqualmie Nordic Trail System. The green marked trails are the easiest, blue harder, and black the most difficult. There are warming huts at Grand Junction and Jim Brooks (conditions permitting). Find portapotties along the trails and at the warming huts. You can use kids trailers on the trails if they have runners and the appropriate safety devices.
There are quite a few beginner trails. You can start with 2 km of trails around the lodge. Then move to the Cold Creek Trail where you can travel 5.6 km at beginner level. If you have a Sno Park permit, you can use the Palouse to Cascades trail along Keechelus Lake.
The Mt Catherine loop is the longest trail at nearly 16 km and ranges from easy to intermediate. There is a large network of upper area trails accessible by using the East Peak or Silver Fir Express lifts. There are all levels of trails there.
Nordic Equipment and Snowshoe Rentals
Rent Nordic equipment or snowshoes at the Old Milwaukee lodge. The nearest place to rent Alpine skis and snowboards is at the Silver Fir Lodge. There are skiable connectors from the Silver Fir Lodge to Summit East so it’s no problem.
Snowshoes cost close to $30 for all day Adults. There are no snowshoes available for children under 6. The trail tickets will be around an additional $20 per person.
Location, Parking, and Tickets
From North Bend, take I-90 East to Exit 54 (Hyak). Turn right after the off ramp. After turning, proceed through two stop signs and follow Hyak Drive for 0.1 miles. The main parking lot is on your right.
There are 3 parking lots at the Snoqualmie Nordic Center and Summit East. The lower lot is actually the closest to the Lodge. To get there, continue beyond the main lot entrance, then take a right and go down the hill.
A Nordic trail pass is a separate thing from an Alpine lift ticket. It gives you access to the 50 km of Nordic Trails at Summit East from 9-330. There is a half day option available but it’s not much cheaper and a half day is very short here. There’s a separate line to get tickets if you don’t need a rental.
The pass also includes two chairlift uploads per day on the lifts Silver Fir Express or East Peak Chair for easy access to the upper trail system. You must be using Nordic equipment – Alpine equipment requires a regular lift ticket. Last upload time is 230 on both chairs. Downloads are on Silver Fir only 1230 pm and 330pm.
An all season pass in 2019-2020 will cost $139 for Ages 7-69. Although the daily window rate Nordic pass has not yet been determines, the season pass is advertised to pay for itself in 6 visits.
For snowshoeing, the trail tickets are less expensive. It’s $20 per day per person for Ages 7 and up. Two daily lift rides are not included. You get the same access to the 50km of trails as the Nordic Skiiers have. However, you must stay to the right of the two parallel tracks set by the groomers.