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kiliki
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PostFri Jan 08, 2021 3:07 pm 
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The WA Sno-Park website lists this sno-park, at the Crystal Mt Blvd turnoff, but doesn't say what is there. I found this Craig Romano article saying it is little used; I also found a WTA trip report saying it isn't regularly plowed (isn't that the point of a sno-park?) and they couldn't enter. Has anyone been? Is it as lightly used as Craig says? Any trouble with getting there and not being able to get in because it hasn't been plowed?

https://hikeoftheweek.com/new/river-trail-blue-diamond-trail/

I'm looking for a quiet spot to snowshoe with my dog this weekend, without avy risk. I really, really don't want crowds. I just want a quiet snowy walk. Frankly I'd be perfectly happy walking on a closed snowy road in the forest, if anyone has any suggestions for that (no snowmobiles please).
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HikerJohn
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PostFri Jan 08, 2021 3:31 pm 
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I use this sno-park regularly.
It is not super well marked, like you note, but there are signs (I helped put them up):
- When you get to the turnoff for Crystal Mountain, turn left onto CM Blvd.  Go about 100 feet and look for a driveway on your right.  The snopark is plowed, but there is often a bunch of mushy snow there in the entry.  Turn right into it and you'll go about 50 yards back into the woods to big open area.   Avoid the area in the middle as it can be a real mush pit and you can get stuck.  If you don't have a  4WD or AWD, you may want to think about putting on chains before you venture into this sno park.

It's not super quiet but not super busy either-- as the trail from there goes into the National Park you'll have to put Fido on a leash (there are patrolling rangers who will "bark" at you if you don't).   No crowds and no snomobiles (except the occasional NPS rangers going up to White River). 

The other quiet place is to go to FS 73 Snopark-- just back down the road towards Greenwater.  That is also non-motorized and not super busy-- but less restrictions as it's USFS land.

Good luck!

John
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kiliki
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PostFri Jan 08, 2021 4:08 pm 
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Thanks for the info! I do know where it is, as I ski Crystal--I've seen the sign but couldn't ever see back there and have never seen anyone pull in or out. Good to know about the mushy center. I do have AWD but still.

In the link I posted Craig Romano describes a route that crosses 410 then takes us downriver to Silver Spring Campground, so outside the NP. I know my dog shouldn't be on park trails so I assume I should take the NF route.

Thanks for the info about FS 73. I always thought Suntop was a snowmobile destination. I think I may have gotten confused as I've read so many reports about vehicles in the snow causing issues. That must be before they close the gate.
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Randito
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PostFri Jan 08, 2021 4:50 pm 
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kiliki wrote:
I always thought Suntop was a snowmobile destination.

I have skied Suntop several times.  Never been razzed by a sledneck.    It's a pleasant road ski, mostly easy and minimal hazardous terrain -- except the last little bit of the road where in loops around the north side of the top and then crosses a steep west facing slope before the final climb to the top.   It's less exposed to avalanche terrain to leave the road @4800 ft and ascend the last bit directly north through the forest -- following the summer hiking trail if you can find it.   

I've parked on the Huckleberry Creek road and headed up road 7315 -- about a 11 mile round trip 3000vft.   Following the hiking trail from the Sun Top trailhead looks more like 16 miles and 4000vft.
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HikerJohn
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PostFri Jan 08, 2021 6:24 pm 
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kiliki wrote:
I always thought Suntop was a snowmobile destination.


No, Suntop is NOT a motorized sno park.  There have been rumbles recently about trying to make it into one, but hopefully that won't happen.

Here's the official word:
https://parks.state.wa.us/465/Greenwater-Yakima#Sun%20Top
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kiliki
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PostFri Jan 08, 2021 8:46 pm 
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Thanks, it sounds like I have a couple of choices then!
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kiliki
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PostSat Jan 09, 2021 3:54 pm 
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If anyone is curious, there's isn't really snow around Silver Springs right now. I haven't skied at Crystal since before Xmas, so I didn't know how low snow had made it yet.
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thuja
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PostSat Jan 09, 2021 6:40 pm 
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I have parked at Silver Spring years ago, but as others have noted, signage is non-existent and plowing seems to be sporadic at best.  It's only really helpful if you want to ski or snowshoe up 410 after it closes in fall or before it opens in spring. Parking at the interchange will get you towed.  Also, the park entrance elevation here is quite low and the snow level has to get pretty low and needs a big snow dump to make the 410 a decent snowshoe or x-c ski route.  You can safely travel on the road up to the turn off for Sunrise. Just past this point a big avalanche slide path crosses the road and I've not been beyond this point in winter.
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Snowdog
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PostMon Jan 11, 2021 10:37 am 
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I have taken my pup to Suntop several times. We were there Saturday(I/9)- walked the bare road about a mile before we hit snow. Then booted for another mile or so before putting on snowshoes.  Top was sunny and clear with great views, esp of Rainier.
It's about 11 miles RT with 3K gain on nicely graded FS road.

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'we don't have time for a shortcut'
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kiliki
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PostTue Jan 12, 2021 9:47 am 
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Snowdog wrote:
I have taken my pup to Suntop several times. We were there Saturday(I/9)- walked the bare road about a mile before we hit snow. Then booted for another mile or so before putting on snowshoes.  Top was sunny and clear with great views, esp of Rainier.
It's about 11 miles RT with 3K gain on nicely graded FS road.

How busy was it? One reason we avoid busy areas is that my (always leashed) dog hates when off leash dogs accost him, and there are always off leash dogs in busy areas.
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