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Ski Tour to The Castle & Pinnacle Peak

Packwood, Washington



4 miles

Elevation Gain

1200 ft

Route Type



Added by James Brady

Explore a relatively easily accessible area of Mount Rainier National Park by ski or snowshoe and avoid the crowds just up the road in Paradise.

Enter Mount Rainier National Park via the Nisqually Entrance outside of Ashford. Drive past Longmire and continue heading up towards Paradise. Parking for this trip can be found at Narada Falls.

From the Narada Falls parking lot you will head up to the closed for the winter portion of Stevens Canyon Road on the hill above the parking area. You will likely see some tracks going up the steep face in front of you which you can choose to follow if avalanche danger is not an issue. If you are worried about snow conditions or would simply like an easier route up to the road you can follow a longer route to the lookers left of the steep face which will get you to the same spot.

The great thing about this route is the lack of elevation gain along Stevens Canyon Road. Visitors can skin or snowshoe along a typically well established skin or snowshoe track that runs along the road which is closed in the winter. As you continue along the road you will be rewarded with great views of the Tatoosh Range to the south, including Lane Peak, Plummer Peak, Pinnacle Peak, and The Castle. Over the course of two miles you will also come across Reflection Lake and Louise Lake. You may even be able to travel across the lakes, however be sure to ensure they are properly frozen before traveling on to them.

Visitors can choose to begin ascending towards several of the summits in the Tatoosh Range at several points along the road near Reflection Lake and Louise Lake. A good route to take leaves from the lower angle terrain just south of Reflection Lake and allows you to ascend to either of the saddles near Pinnacle Peak and The Castle. Ascending all the way to either of these saddles will require you to travel approximately 2.0 miles and climb 1,100 vertical feet from the road. However, visitors do not need to ascend all the way to be rewarded with some of the best views in the park. Simply ascending a few hundred vertical feet will reward you with sweeping winter views of the Tatoosh Range, the lakes below you, and the looming mass of Mount Rainier to the north.  

As always, please use extreme caution when traveling in the backcountry during winter. You should always carry the proper equipment (shovel, probe, beacon), be aware of the avalanche danger and current conditions, and avoid any avalanche terrain.

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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


Summit Castle Peak, Mount Rainier NP

Hike from Narada Falls to Reflection Lakes

Snowshoe to Reflection Lakes

Snowshoeing the Nisqually Vista Loop at Mt. Rainier NP

Winter Camp at Glacier Vista

Skyline Loop in Mt. Rainier NP