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Nisqually Vista Snowshoe Trail

Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier Area, Washington

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Nisqually Vista Snowshoe Trail

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  • View south of the Tatoosh Range from the parking area at Nisqually Vista Snowshoe Trail.- Nisqually Vista Snowshoe Trail
  • View of Paradise maintenance building.- Nisqually Vista Snowshoe Trail
  • View of Mount Rainier (14,411') from Nisqually Vista Snowshoe Trail.- Nisqually Vista Snowshoe Trail
  • Nisqually Vista Snowshoe Trail.- Nisqually Vista Snowshoe Trail
  • View of Mount Rainier (14,411') from Nisqually Vista Snowshoe Trail.- Nisqually Vista Snowshoe Trail
  • View of Lane Peak (6,012') from Nisqually Vista Snowshoe Trail.- Nisqually Vista Snowshoe Trail
  • View of Mount Rainier (14,411') from Nisqually Vista Snowshoe Trail.- Nisqually Vista Snowshoe Trail
  • View of Mount Rainier (14,411') from the Nisqually overlook.- Nisqually Vista Snowshoe Trail
  • Mount Rainier (14,411') from Nisqually Vista Snowshoe Trail.- Nisqually Vista Snowshoe Trail
  • View of the Nisqually River 800 feet below the Nisqually Vista Snowshoe Trail.- Nisqually Vista Snowshoe Trail
  • Terminus of the Nisqually Glacier viewed from the Nisqually Vista Snowshoe Trai.- Nisqually Vista Snowshoe Trail
  • Mount Rainier (14,411') from Nisqually Vista Snowshoe Trail.- Nisqually Vista Snowshoe Trail
  • Pacific silver fir (Abies amabilis) from Nisqually Vista Snowshoe Trail.- Nisqually Vista Snowshoe Trail
  • View of Pinnacle Peak (6,562') in the Tatoosh Range from the Nisqually Vista Snowshoe Trail.- Nisqually Vista Snowshoe Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Panoramic vistas of Mount Rainier, Nisqually Glacier, and Nisqually River. Easy snowshoe suitable for all visitors.
Cons: 
Paradise Road gate only open 9 A.M.-5 P.M.
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Region:
Mount Rainier Area, WA
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
No
Groomed trail: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
200.00 ft (60.96 m)
Parking Pass: 
National Park Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Winter
Total Distance: 
1.00 mi (1.61 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
5,400.00 ft (1,645.92 m)
Typically multi-day: 
No
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

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Perhaps the easiest and most rewarding snowshoe hike at Paradise during the winter months, the short 1-mile loop to the Nisqually Glacier and canyon viewpoint won't disappoint. Following the same trail as the summer route, the path winds through a forest of Pacific silver fir, subalpine fir, and mountain hemlock to reach a viewpoint that is perched 800 feet above the Nisqually River and the rapidly retreating Nisqually Glacier, home to one of the grandest views of Mount Rainier in the entire national park.

Winter Access

WA Hwy 706/Paradise Road up to Paradise is the only maintained and plowed road into Mount Rainier National Park with the exception of adventures departing 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 permits 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 Tuesday through Monday from November 12 through December 21, and it is open daily starting December 22.

Recommended Gear

Before you head out on your next Mount Hood adventure, make sure you have the right gear! 

Here's a list of our go-to snowshoeing essentials to get you started:

Snowshoes: MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoe

Cushioned, Made in USA, Ultralight, 98.8 oz

Men's • $299.95 • MSR | Amazon | Backcountry | REI

Women's • $299.95 • MSR | Amazon | Backcountry | REI

Jacket/Shell: Arc'teryx Zeta AR Jacket

Waterproof, Adjustable Drawcord Hem, Pit Zips, GORE-TEX

Men's • $431-475 • Arc'teryx | Amazon | Backcountry

Women's • $475 • Arc'teryx | Amazon | Backcountry

Pack: Mammut Nirvana Pro Pack 

35L, Carry-On Size, Hip Belt, Ice Axe / Pole Loops, Hydration Compatible

Standard Fit • $189.95-199.95 • Mammut | Amazon | Backcountry

Small Fit • $199.95 • Mammut | Amazon

Insulating Layer: Moosejaw Dequindre Down Jacket

Water-resistant, Insulated, Adjustable Drawcord Hem

Men's and Women's • $179

Poles: Black Diamond Traverse Pole 

Aluminum, Adjustable with Lever Lock System, 21 oz.

$79.95 • Black Diamond | Amazon | Backcountry | REI

Gloves: The North Face GORE-TEX Gloves

Waterproof, Adjustable, Insulated, GORE-TEX

Men's • $99.95-181.63 • The North Face | Amazon | Backcountry

Women's • $99.95-100.00 • The North Face | Backcountry

Boots: Vasque Snowblime UltraDry Boot

Waterproof, Cushioned, Insulated

Men's • $149.99 • Vasque | Amazon | Backcountry

Women's • $149.99 • Vasque | Amazon | Backcountry

Gaiters: Outdoor Research Verglas Gaiter 

Waterproof, Breathable, Lightweight, Abrasion-resistant

Men's • $41.32-65 • Outdoor Research | Amazon | Backcountry | REI

Women's • $49.95-65 • Outdoor Research | Amazon | Backcountry | REI

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.

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