If you thought Northwest ski areas were just for skiing, then drop by one of them during the heat of the summer and you’ll see that hikers and bikers are also getting good use out of these mountains and the resort lifts.
More and more nowadays, ski resorts are becoming year-round businesses, looking for ways to bring in revenues during the off-season. Ski resorts are located in some of the most beautiful places in the Northwest and the summer views are just spectacular.
And that’s why many of them will have their lifts operating during the summer months for people who love to get out in the great outdoors. Whether you enjoy hiking, biking, or maybe having a nice meal in a mountain-top ski lodge, you’ll want to consider visiting one of our Pacific Northwest ski resorts in the summer.
They generally open for summer business toward the end of June when the snow’s gone from the upper levels. Lift ticket prices are quite reasonable.
Here are a few choices, along with some activities you can experience this summer at Northwest ski resorts:
Mt. Hood Meadows
The Stadium chair treats passengers to stunning views of the Mt. Hood National Forest. You’ll unload at the top beneath a Cascade canopy of pines and immediately connect with nature while hiking the Timberline Trail.
The ride down is breathtaking and reveals the full panorama of Central Oregon — which includes majestic Mt. Jefferson with the Three Sisters on the horizon.
This natural setting is enhanced with intimate and soulful acoustic performances by talented musicians on the Sun deck, where Meadows serves up a delicious barbecue and cold refreshments. Mt. Hood is just gorgeous and a popular destination for Portland residents. Mt. Hood Meadows offers great views and is the perfect setting for relaxation.
Many special events, ranging from mountain runs to watercolor workshops, are presented throughout the summer.
This popular ski resort is just a little over an hour’s drive southeast of Seattle and operates a gondola during the summer months. The Mt. Rainier Gondola is quite a scenic ride over meadows of wildflowers where you climb over 2,000 vertical feet to the summit of Crystal Mountain.
At the top, you will find an unparalleled view of Mt. Rainier and the Cascade Range, as well as the Summit House, the highest elevation restaurant in Washington State. If you want to just relax, you can soak in the views from one of the slingback chairs situated along the ridge.
And if you love hiking, there are miles of hiking trails nearby. Interpretive ranger walks are also offered on select days. They’ll teach you about the local history, geology, wildlife, and more. Each gondola cabin seats up to 8 people and the ride is 12 minutes each way.
Another mountain close to Seattle is Stevens Pass, which offers scenic chairlift rides and lots of hiking trails to explore. For a nominal fee you can head up the Hogsback high-speed quad chairlift and enjoy the peace and serenity that is the Cascade Mountains in the summertime.
You can either ride the lift back down or walk down the scenic hike-only trail back to the base area. From the top of the lift, you have spectacular views of the North Cascades.
The 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail runs straight through the heart of Stevens Pass, so you can enjoy a part of the West Coast’s most notable hiking routes.
There is a lot to see on the trail — you’ll see animals like pika and marmots and lots of wildflowers as well.
If you’re looking to escape Seattle and enjoy some of the natural summer beauty of the PNW, a ski resort is a great place. You’ll have the normal ammentities such as food, bathrooms, etc. but you’ll also be able to enjoy some amazing scenery without wearing out your feet. Seems like a win-win to me!