Snowshoeing Season Has Arrived At Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier can be as pretty as a postcard in winter. Guest Services photo.

With snow conditons improving, rangers at Mount Rainier National Park are ready to lead you into the area surrounding Paradise on snowshoe adventures.

During the upcoming holiday break, the guided walks are being offered daily through January 1. From January 7 through March 25, conditions allowing, the walks will be conducted on weekends and holidays only. The walks are offered at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis. Sign up at the Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center information desk at Paradise beginning one hour before the start time.

Organized groups of 13-25 people may reserve a snowshoe walk in advance. Group snowshoe walks begin at 10:30 a.m. For more information or to make a group reservation, call (360) 569-6575.

Snowshoe walks cover approximately 1.5 miles and last up to 2 hours. Snowshoes are provided, or visitors may use their own. A donation of $4 per person is asked to help defray the cost of snowshoe maintenance. Snowshoeing is a moderately strenuous activity, and participants must be at least 8 years old. Remember to wear sturdy boots and dress in layers.

Snow Play Opening Delayed

Due to a lack of adequate snow depth, opening of the Paradise snowplay area will be delayed. Currently there is only 49 inches of snow on the ground in the area. A minimum of 60” is desired to allow snow grooming equipment to access the area to create the tubing runs, without causing considerable damage to vegetation. Sledding and sliding can be dangerous because of safety hazards beneath the snow if there is insufficient snow depth.

In addition, with the recent low temperatures and no new snow, snow that is on the ground has consolidated and is hard and icy. Until additional snowfall occurs, bringing the base level up to the 60” depth, snow play will be delayed.

Because of the high potential for personal injury and frequency of accidents, no other park areas are open to sliding activities. Serious injuries have occurred when people mistakenly slid over waterfalls, into trees, down slopes that were too steep, broke through thin snow into stream gorges, or slammed into other people. Cross-country skiing and snowboarding are permitted in other areas, outside of the snowplay area.

Educational Snowshoe Walks for School Groups

Curriculum-based snowshoe education walks are available at no charge to school groups on weekdays through the park’s Education Program. These programs are tailored to meet the teacher’s identified learning objectives. Contact the park’s Education Office at (360) 569-6591 for more information or to schedule your field trip.

Facilities and Hours

The Longmire Museum (360-569-6575) is open daily from 9 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. The Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center (360-569- 6036) is open from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m. during holiday break (December 17 through January 1) and on weekends and holidays through March 27.

The National Park Inn at Longmire open daily offering lodging, food, gift shop, snowshoe and ski rentals. During the holiday period they will be offering a Christmas Buffet on December 25. For reservations call the National Park Inn at 360-569-2411. For more information call 360-569-2400 or visit their website at www.mtrainierguestservices.com