Skiers and snowshoers can count on solitude when exploring the Darrington District; most roads aren’t plowed and snowfall is unpredictable at this low elevation. Any existing snow here is often wet and difficult to ski through. Still determined? Take these routes as suggestions; if the roads themselves aren’t snow-covered, keep driving along the route until you come to some that are.
From Highway 530 on the way to Darrington , go south on French Creek Road 2010 to the snow line, and then ski uphill from there. The road takes you through dense forest and switchbacks for great views and a fast downhill trip back. Or, from the Darrington Ranger Station, drive north on Highway 530 for 6.5 miles to Suiattle River Road 26; follow it till you hit snow, and then ski up the road and along the river. Enjoy fine views of Glacier Peak along the way.
On the Granite Falls  side, the Big Four area is very popular with skiers, snowshoers, snowmobilers, and winter hikers; take the Mountain Loop Highway  23 miles from Granite Falls to the end of the maintained road at Deer Creek Road 4052. Ski two miles from the parking area to Big Four Picnic Area, following the South Fork of the Stillaguamish River; continue another mile to the snowfield near the Big Four Ice Cave . The avalanche danger here is severe; don’t travel beyond the edge of the clearing—it’s the force of avalanches that created and maintains that clearing! Allow 3–5 hours round-trip; this route is suitable for beginning skiers.
A more challenging route is the Deer Creek/Kelcema Lake Ski Route, which follows Deer Creek Road uphill to Kelcema Lake, a distance of 4.6 miles, with an elevation gain of 1,600 feet. Allow 5–7 hours for the round-trip, and avoid it during periods of high avalanche danger. Get here by heading 12 miles east from the Verlot Public Service Center to the end of snow plowing and the start of the ski route. No snowmobiles are allowed here.
Another popular cross-country ski route (for advanced skiers only) begins at the Deer Creek parking area and continues 11 miles to the old mining town of Monte Cristo , gaining 1,275 feet in elevation en route. This is best done as an overnight trip due to its length; be sure to check on avalanche conditions before heading out.