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.
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.
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.