Snowshoe the Skyline Trail

Details

Distance

5.5 miles

Elevation Gain

1450 ft

Route Type

Loop

Added by Luke Webster

Snowshoe on the Skyline Trail with one of the most amazing backdrops in the nation. Whether you are just learning to snowshoe or are an expert, Mt. Rainier National Park offers the best trails throughout Washington. 

Nicely situated a couple hours south of Seattle and north of Portland, Mt. Rainier is easily accessible. Before leaving make sure to pack a set of snow chains, for the park requires chains for most vehicles throughout the winter. Head towards the Nisqually entrance to the park. 

Upon entering the park, grab a map (or have this map handy) and choose a trail. Personally, my favorite trails are up in the Paradise area (which in the winter is the farthest you can go, by car, into the park). The Skyline trail, it is a strenuous hike, with phenomenal views and some good backcountry trails.

The Skyline trail starts out at the Paradise lodge and heads north straight up the mountain. Depending on the specific route you take through the snow the trail curves up to the right, as you continue to climb you get beautiful views out away from the mountain and straight at Mt. Rainier. Be careful of any open step open snowfields for they are the most avalanche prone. As you head south-east the trail will loop down to meet the road just east of the original start point. Follow the road back up to Paradise lodge and you're home free. The trip is a total of 5.5 miles with approximately 1450ft of elevation gain. 

Being safe in the winter is all about how well you prepare. Flying by the seat of your pants may work in the summer but can be deadly in the winter. Therefore pack appropriately, check the weatherroad conditions and know how to be on the lookout for avalanche prone areas.

I hate snowshoeing in crowds. While Mt. Rainier is quite the opposite from being isolated, most of the day-trippers come up for sledding, and even if there are a lot of snowshoers the number of trails and deep backcountry allow you to find beautiful empty slops to hike on.

Make sure you have your avalanche probe, receiver and shovel. 

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Skiing
Snowshoeing
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Leave No Trace

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

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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