Skiing and Snowshoeing in Mount Rainier National Park
Skiing and Snowshoeing
Mt. Rainier is a major Nordic ski center for cross-country and telemark skiing. Although trails are not groomed, those around Paradise are extremely popular. If you want to ski with fewer people, try the trails in and around the Ohanapecosh–Stevens Canyon area, which are just as beautiful and, because of their more easterly exposure, slightly less subject to the rains that can douse the Longmire side, even in the dead of winter. You should never ski on the plowed main roads, especially in the Paradise area—the snowplow operator can't see you. No rentals are available on the eastern side of the park.
Deep snows make Mt. Rainier a snowshoeing pleasure. The Paradise area, with its network of trails, is the best choice. The park's east side roads, Routes 123 and 410, are unplowed and provide other good snowshoeing venues, although you must share the main parts of the road with snowmobilers.
Paradise Snowplay Area and Nordic Ski Route. Sledding on flexible sleds (no toboggans or runners), inner tubes, and plastic saucers is allowed only in the Paradise snow-play area adjacent to the Jackson Visitor Center. The area is open when there is sufficient snow, usually Thursdays through Mondays from late December through mid-March. The easy, 3½-mile Paradise Valley Road Nordic ski route begins at the Paradise parking lot and follows Paradise Valley/Stevens Canyon Road to Reflection Lakes. Equipment rentals are available at Whittaker Mountaineering in Ashford or at the National Park Inn's General Store in Longmire. Adjacent to the Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise, Mt. Rainier National Park, WA, 98304. 360/569–2211. www.nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/winter-recreation.htm.
Outfitters and Expeditions
General Store at the National Park Inn. The store at the National Park Inn in Longmire rents cross-country ski equipment and snowshoes. It's open daily in winter, depending on snow conditions. National Park Inn, Longmire, WA, 98397. 360/569–2411. www.mtrainierguestservices.com/activities-and-events/winter-activities/cross-country-skiing.
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