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Winter in Mount Rainier National Park

12.13.16

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Winter in Mount Rainier National Park

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  • 462-foot Comet Falls. - Winter in Mount Rainier National Park
  • View of Mount Rainier (14,411 ft) from the Edith Creek Basin Trail.- Winter in Mount Rainier National Park
  • From the Paradise Valley Loop, the view south toward the Tatoosh Range (Unicorn Peak, The Castle, and Pinnacle Peak).- Winter in Mount Rainier National Park
  • Mount Rainier (14,411 ft) and Paradise Inn from the trailhead at Paradise Valley Loop.- Winter in Mount Rainier National Park
  • The sun rises as wind stirs up powdery snow along the Paradise Valley Loop near Panorama Point.- Winter in Mount Rainier National Park
  • Last alpenglow on the Tatoosh as the sun sets. Tracks through Paradise Valley are evidence of many visitors.- Winter in Mount Rainier National Park
  • View of Mount Rainier (14,411 ft) from the Nisqually overlook.- Winter in Mount Rainier National Park
  • Mount Rainier (14,411 ft) from Nisqually Vista Snowshoe Trail.- Winter in Mount Rainier National Park
  • Spring corn in Edith Basin.- Winter in Mount Rainier National Park
  • Sunrise on the Tatoosh Range from Edith Creek Basin.- Winter in Mount Rainier National Park
  • Headlamps at Edith Creek Basin illuminate multiple routes on Mount Rainier (14,411 ft).- Winter in Mount Rainier National Park
  • Views of Mount Adams from Paradise Glacier.- Winter in Mount Rainier National Park
  • Paradise Snowplay Sledding Area.- Winter in Mount Rainier National Park
  • View east toward Eagle Peak (5,958 ft) and Mount Wow (5,921 ft) to the right from near Inspiration Point.- Winter in Mount Rainier National Park
  • Mount Rainier (14,411 ft) from Reflection Lakes.- Winter in Mount Rainier National Park
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Mount Rainier is renowned for its heavy winters. Think of pine boughs laden with a layer of snow, miniature avalanches cascading from each branch with every strong breeze. Paradise, located at 5,400 feet in elevation, has received nearly 643 inches of snowfall per year on average since 1920, including a whopping 1,122 inches during the winter of 1972—at the time, a world record. Likewise, adventurers are certainly snowbound when they visit Mount Rainier in the winter, when the broad white expanse beckons to snowshoers, skiers, and sledders alike. Hikers can learn about Mount Rainier’s winter ecology on a guided snowshoe tour with park rangers, and the intrepid can strike out for overnights (with a permit, of course) in the quiet, cold wilderness for an experience that is truly one of a kind. There are mountain hideaways here, too, for those who appreciate a warm bed and a cup of coffee in the morning.

Mount Rainier is the most voluminous peak on the West Coast. There’s enough here to sate the winter appetite of the most reclusive outdoor aficionado!

Snowshoeing

  • Comet Falls Hike: Perhaps a snowshoe, perhaps a hike, depending on the snowpack. Either way, this adventure leads to a 462-foot waterfall, Rainier’s tallest.
  • Edith Creek Basin: Easy access and a modest trail length from the Jackson Visitor Center makes this a winter classic at Mount Rainier.
  • Paradise Valley Loop: An easy and accessible loop from Paradise Inn.
  • Nisqually Vista Trail: A short loop, perhaps the easiest at Mount Rainier, to one of its best views.

Backcountry Skiing

  • Edith Creek Basin: A great place to learn backcountry techniques for its low-angled slopes.
  • Paradise Glacier: Few crowds and commanding views on the Cascades’ biggest mountain.

Sledding

Cross-Country Skiing

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