The 8-mile Columbia Mountain loop is one of the top snowshoe treks in the Columbia Highlands–indeed, in the entire state. Hike north on the Kettle Crest National Scenic Trail across the southwestern flank of 6,780-foot Columbia Mountain, through a unique ecosystem where sagebrush intermingles with subalpine fir. Amidst scattered aspen groves and granite slabs bound snowshoe hare and ground squirrels. Owls, woodpeckers and grouse can frequently be seen in the tree canopy. The high point of this eight-mile loop is the broad, open summit, site of a recently restored historic fire lookout. From this vantage, views of wilderness-quality lands in the Kettle Range and Selkirks abound.
Driving directions: About 4 miles west of Kettle Falls on Hwy 395, cross the bridge over the Columbia River. Almost immediately (1/10 mile), turn left (west) on Hwy 20, toward the town of Republic. Drive approximately 22 miles to the Sherman Pass parking area, on the right (north) side of the highway. Washington State Sno-Park pass required.