FATMAP by Strava
Making our way down towards tree line

Ski Tour the Five Washington Volcanoes

Complete the set of Washington's most legendary summits and rip some superb turns in the process.

Ski Touring Moderate, Difficult

Making our way down towards tree line
Making our way down towards tree line Photo: Kyle Miller


Towering above the towns and valleys surrounding them, Washington's volcanoes are some of North America's most impressive natural features. As demonstrated by the 1980 eruption of Mount St Helens, the five volcanoes described here are all "live", and this unusual element of hazard only increases the draw many skiers feel towards them.

As is often the case in the Pacific Northwest, the approaches to these routes are fairly involved, and the tours are pretty adventurous, too! The Cascades are not mountains suitable for those who like an easy life, so expect to earn these summits, and you won't be disappointed. The peaks described here are high, wild, and rugged, with all of them featuring steep and/or glaciated terrain in their upper reaches. The famously unpredictable Washington weather further adds to the challenge of these tours, which - as is hopefully clear by now - are tough!

The sheer volume of ski touring adventures available in Washington is overwhelming, but the "cool factor" of skiing one of these legendary mountains make them more popular destinations than some of the state's more obscure options. That said, it's not just the kudos of skiing that make these sought-after tours; they're all exceptional ski journeys regardless of the fact that they all end on famous summits. All 5 of the tours here feature superb skiing, so these definitely aren't mere high-altitude slogs - they're great places to find fun turns.

Rather than suggesting a logical order in which to do these, we'd recommend following the weather and conditions to tick them off in whichever order you can manage. The aforementioned PNW weather and the vagaries of high-altitude ski conditions mean that you'll need to be flexible, open-minded and bold to get these all done - which only makes it more rewarding when you do manage it!

Routes included

Related guidebooks