Wildflowers to Snowshoeing in 30 Minutes or Less

When I lived in Southern California, I lived near the beach and loved that I could be in the mountains within a couple of hours. Now, I live in the mountains of Northern California and the beach is only a little farther than a couple of hours away. I live at a great elevation where I get a little snow but not enough that I’ve ever had to dig out, at least not so far. I love that I can go from wildflowers to snowshoeing in 30 minutes or less. If I want to see a lot of snow, I just have to drive up the hill another 30-40 minutes and it’s a winter playground. That’s just what my hiking group did earlier this week. I went along and tried snowshoeing for the first time.

I tried snowshoeing for the first time this week. I love that I can go from wildflowers to snowshoeing in 30 minutes or less in Gold Country. Check it out.

Snowshoeing at Iron Mountain Sno-Park

We went to Iron Mountain Sno-Park near Mormon-Emigrant Trail Road on Highway 88. Be sure to get your parking permit before you go, either from one of the local vendors or online. We stopped at the ranger station in Pioneer. Passes for the day are $5. There are no facilities here other than a restroom.

Many, many years ago, I went to Mammoth in Southern California and tried skiing. My former husband and I took a day ski lesson there. I was very tired near the end of the lesson and didn’t want to do the last run. My instructor insisted I could do it. About half way down, I got off course and the tip of my ski stuck in a snow bank. I fell and twisted my knee which was the size of a basketball (well, almost) the next morning. This was not the best experience so I was a little apprehensive about snowshoeing, but I found it much easier and very enjoyable.

Setting out on the trail snowshoeingI didn’t have any equipment so I borrowed snowshoes from another member of the group and bought poles. The poles will come in handy on other hikes but I didn’t want to buy snowshoes until I decided if I liked it.

Putting on our snowshoes
Heading out

We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day for snowshoeing. The views were amazing. It had rained/snowed the day before so the air was clear and the sun was shining. The temperature was cool enough that we didn’t get overheated, but we did have to remove a couple of layers as the hike went on. This was a “snowshoeing for beginners” hike so it was a relatively easy one with a gradual increase in elevation.

The view from our trail at Iron Mountain Sno-ParkThis is actually the snowmobile trail which is a gradual inclineIn spite of the fact that we got an email telling us what to bring, I was pretty unprepared. I brought everything on the list but no backpack to carry it in!! Oh my gosh. What was I thinking? Obviously, I wasn’t. My friend, Kathy had her large backpack (I have one like that too) but didn’t have a small day-pack either. We put all our stuff in her pack. She carried it most of the way but I relieved her a few times.

Kathy and me

Kathy and me

When we stopped for lunch, Peter pulled out a waterproof blanket that Denise and I sat on. I think we crowded Peter out but he never complained. The blanket was great and I definitely want to get one.

Taking time out for lunch while snowshoeing
Stopping for lunch

During the hike, I checked out everyone’s backpacks to decide what I want to get for future hikes. I really need something smaller than the backpack I currently have for day hikes. My new pack will need to have a way to carry my poles and to hang other things. An outside pocket for my water bottle (or do I want one with a bladder?) and another for keys and small objects is also a must. There are so many options it is almost mind boggling. Whatever I end up getting, here’s what I want to be sure to carry in it.

Be Prepared: What to take in your backpack/daypack for snowshoeing*

  • Map
  • Compass/GPS
  • Water
  • Sunscreen & lip balm
  • Sunglasses
  • Lunch or snack

There are lots more things you might want to consider and include depending on the length of time you plan to be out. These are just a few things to make your daytime snowshoe trek safer and more comfortable

* This list contains affiliate links.


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I tried snowshoeing for the first time this week. I love that I can go from wildflowers to snowshoeing in 30 minutes or less in Gold Country. Check it out.Have you been snowshoeing? How about skiing? If you’ve done both, do you have a preference?

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Until next time…

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  1. This sounds so cool and exciting! Although I have never tried anything like this, maybe I will one day! Thanks for sharing! Love the pictures too!

  2. This looks like a fun activity! Not something I’ve heard of before! Glad you had fun ?

  3. I was so hoping to take the kids to the snow this year but we probably won’t make it before it melts away. I currently live in Northern Cali and hubby and I are seriously considering moving up in elevation. It’s just so beautiful! I have been skiing before…I twisted my ankle but we had a blast anyway! This looks like so much fun!

  4. This is awesome! I truly do love living in Southern California and having the ability to see sand and snow so easily. I have never tried snowshoeing before. I’ll have to check it out soon!

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