Snowshoeing the Nisqually Vista Loop at Mt. Rainier NP

Washington Nisqually Vista Loop, Mt. Rainier National Park, WA

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Hike this quiet, mostly flat trail that leads to amazing Views of Mt. Rainier. This spot makes for great Winter Photography.

Mt. Rainier rises over 14,410 feet and the views you get from the Paradise area on the South side of the mountain are unparalleled. Paradise is one of the few places in Mt. Rainier National Park that is open to visitors during the winter months for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, and many other winter activities. Most visitors to the Paradise area will park at the main parking lot and go up the Alta Vista Trail, which in its own right, is spectacular, but if one is looking for a bit more solitude, then the Nisqually Vista Loop is the perfect trail.

To get to the trailhead, drive into the National Park through the Nisqually Entrance on the Southwest corner of the park. From there, drive 19 miles up the road to the Paradise area. The road ends in Paradise during the winter months as they do not plow past this point. Right before you reach the Paradise parking lot, there is a smaller parking lot just a 1/4 mile before the main lot. Pull into this lot and park near the far end. The trailhead begins here, next to the two small buildings where you will have to walk up the snowbank about 20 or so feet to make your way on the trail. After about a 1/3 mile, the trail will fork as this is the main loop. Head in either direction and make your way around the loop through the forest comprised of Pacific Silver fir, subalpine fir and mountain hemlock. At the far corner of the loop, there will be a viewpoint where you will be situated 800 feet above the scenic Nisqually river as well as the massive Nisqually glacier. The glacier is retreating faster and faster every year, but it is still quite impressive. If done at a casual pace, this snowshoe excursion should take around 45 minutes to an hour leaving plenty of time to explore other areas of Mt. Rainier during the short winter days. The snow is on the trail sometimes all the way until late June, so snowshoeing here is possible late into spring.

Pack List

  • Warm Clothing
  • Snowshoes
  • Cross-Country Skis
  • Snacks
  • Hand-Warmers
  • Sunglasses
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Activities:

Photography, Skiing, Snowshoeing

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Spring, Winter

Trail Type:

Loop

Distance:

1.4 Miles

Rating:

Features:

Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Scenic

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How to Get There

3 months ago

First Snow Shoe Trip

Took my 4 year old on a Ranger led Snow shoe and had a blast! Easy trail, friendly people, and no shortage of beautiful scenery!

3 months ago

Added by Chase Dekker

Wildlife photographer and biologist currently based in my coastal hometown of Monterey, California. Always looking for the next wildlife adventure!

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