Reflection Lakes + Inspiration Point

Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier Area, Washington

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Reflection Lakes + Inspiration Point


  • Beginning of the Paradise Valley Route just south of Paradise Inn.- Reflection Lakes + Inspiration Point
  • Looking north at Mount Rainier (14,411').- Reflection Lakes + Inspiration Point
  • View east toward Eagle Peak (5,958') and Mount Wow (5,921') to the right from near Inspiration Point.- Reflection Lakes + Inspiration Point
  • Mount Rainier (14,411').- Reflection Lakes + Inspiration Point
  • - Reflection Lakes + Inspiration Point
  • View south toward the Tatoosh Range.- Reflection Lakes + Inspiration Point
  • View below of Narada Falls.- Reflection Lakes + Inspiration Point
  • View east toward Eagle Peak (5,958'), the Nisqually Valley, and Mount Wow (5,921') to the right from Inspiration Point.- Reflection Lakes + Inspiration Point
  • View up toward The Castle and Pinnacle Peak (6,562').- Reflection Lakes + Inspiration Point
  • Reflection Lakes.- Reflection Lakes + Inspiration Point
  • Mount Rainier (14,411') from Reflection Lakes.- Reflection Lakes + Inspiration Point
  • View from Reflection Lakes.- Reflection Lakes + Inspiration Point
  • Snowshoers venture out to Reflection Lakes.- Reflection Lakes + Inspiration Point
Overview + Weather
Panoramic views of the Tatoosh Range and Mount Rainier.
Paradise Road gate is only open 9 A.M. to 5 P.M.
Mount Rainier Area, WA
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
670.00 ft (204.22 m)
Parking Pass: 
National Park Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring
Total Distance: 
7.00 mi (11.27 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
5,440.00 ft (1,658.11 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description


Among the numerous winter adventures based in and around Paradise, the trek up Edith Creek Basin to Panorama Point, and the 3.5-mile one-way cross-country ski to Reflection Lakes are the most classic.

Departing from the backside of Paradise Inn, the trail (which is an unmaintained road) that gradually descends 600 feet to the bottom of Paradise Valley starts off groomed. Once you make it to 4th Crossing, however, you'll have the opportunity to cut new tracks into this backcountry winter wonderland. From the trail near Inspiration Point the Nisqually Valley opens up and the Tatoosh Range with Eagle Peak dominates the scenery. Looking back, you'll enjoy views of massive Mount Rainier behind your shoulder.

From Inspiration Point the trail levels out for the additional mile to Reflection Lakes. Certainly a different landscape in winter than in summer, the view of Mount Rainier from Reflection Lakes is one of the park's most classic perspectives.

Winter Access, Camping + Permits

Highway 706/Paradise Road up to Paradise is the only maintained and plowed road into Mount Rainier National Park with the exception of adventures that depart from Chinook Pass. Paradise Inn is closed in the winter, but the Jackson Visitor Center (Paradise) is open and staffed on weekends and holidays from mid-October through May. The National Park Inn in Longmire is open year-round.

The gate at Longmire, which allows vehicles up to Paradise, is only open from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M., and it is highly recommended that all vehicles start their return to Longview no later than 4:30 P.M. The gate is only open Thursday through Monday from November 12 through December 21, and the gate opens daily starting December 22.

Other than a National Park Pass, special day use permits are not required. Winter backcountry camping is permitted throughout Mount Rainier National Park once a minimum of 5 feet of snow has accumulated as long as you camp a minimum of 300 feet from all trails and structures. A free backcountry permit is required and can be obtained at the Longmire Information Center and at the Jackson Visitor Center in Paradise. Groups larger than 12 can camp in the designated group campsites at Paradise only. 

Backcountry Safety

Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Map

Field Guide + Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(23 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(65 within a 30 mile radius)

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Published in collaboration with Casio Pro Trek

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