Paradise

Explore Mount Rainier National Park's most popular area. In summer experience fantastic views of the mountain, brilliant wildflowers and the occasional marmot lounging on the rocks. In winter, this area is a backcountry skiing and snowshoer's paradise. Travel to Alta Vista, Glacier Vista, Mazama Ridge, and the variety of winter trails between the Paradise parking lot and Panorama Point. Learn lots about the park and Mount Rainier at the Jackson Visitor Center.

getting there

From SR-7 in Elbe, turn east onto SR-706, both known as the National Park Highway. Continue through the Nisqually Entrance of Mount Rainier National Park. Be prepared to pay the fee just after entering the park. Drive 19 miles to Paradise.

In winter, ALL drivers in the park are required to carry snow chains or equivalent traction devices—this includes those with a 4-wheel or  all-wheel drive vehicle. Those without a 4-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicle may be required to install them at Longmire or beyond.

hiking Trails to explore

  • Nisqually Vista Loop: 1.4 miles with 400 feet elevation gain
  • Alta Vista Loop: 1.5 miles with 540 feet elevation gain.
  • Golden Gate: 3.2 miles with 1000 feet of elevation gain
  • Mazama Ridge: 7 miles with 600 feet of elevation gain

SKIING routes

A varied array of backcountry skiing terrain is available around Paradise allowing safe and enjoyable ski touring in most weather and snow conditions.

SNOWSHOEING routes

Lots of open terrain to make your own path. If you bear to the right (east) from the parking lot towards the moderate more tree-filled terrain you'll encounter fewer skiers and potentially a few small creek crossings filled with beautiful frozen water formations.

Information for LEADERS

Internal Climbing and Scrambling Lottery

  • In an effort to help manage our impact on this popular area, Paradise has been added to the list of routes/places that are part of our Internal Climbing and Scrambling Lottery. The 2020 Paradise Internal Lottery results and the 2021 Paradise Internal Lottery results are now final. If you are scheduling a course trip here, please check the appropriate internal lottery results document before listing your trip to be sure your course has priority for the field trip date(s) you are scheduling, or that there is no other course that already has priority in the internal lottery for your date(s).

permits & scheduling

  • Before scheduling your trip to Paradise, please review the facilitated access permitting guidelines outlined here. The park has specific regulations in place regarding locations and group sizes for mountaineering training, and Special Use Permits  (SUPs) may be required (regardless of activity type), depending on your group size. Branch activity committees are responsible for applying for their own SUPs.
  • If you are scheduling this as a non-course related activity, please limit your group size to the default party size. The maximum party size is for use by course field trips only, and includes both students and instructors. Group size maximums do not reflect how course field trips are run (in smaller groups of students and instructors), but allow for course leaders to register the course in our system.
  • This route allows multiple bookings. Please check scheduled trips listed below in the "Activities" tab to see if there is another group already booked on the same day. If so, please coordinate with them to ensure you are carpooling and teaching at different areas.
  • In winter, this area is used by our branches to host snow field trips and is a generally popular winter exploration area. Please check other routes/places to ensure we don't have multiple Mountaineers groups going to the same area, and be sure to use one of these if that's your planned destination.
  • Difficulty: Easy, Easy/Moderate
  • Elevation Gain: 500 ft
  • 5,900 ft
  • Land Manager: Mount Rainier National Park
  • Parking Permit Required: National Park Entrance Fee
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 60
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 60
Map
  • USGS Mt Rainier East
  • Green Trails Mt Rainier East No. 270
  • Green Trails Paradise No. 270S
  • Green Trails Mount Rainier Wonderland No. 269SX
Activities

Upcoming Activities

Intermediate Snowshoe - Paradise Area (winter)

Snowshoeing Trip
6-8 miles snowshoeing with Mazama Ridge as the first intended destination followed by Panorama Point
Fri, Nov 27, 2020
Prerequisites
1 participant
Registration closed Nov 25
Seattle Branch

Backcountry Ski/Snowboard - Paradise

Backcountry Skiing Trip
Opt Outside. Early season conditioner break out the boards for the season.
Difficulty: Easy, Easy/Moderate
Fri, Nov 27, 2020
Prerequisites
3 participants on waitlist
Registration closed Nov 25
Tacoma Branch

Beginner Snowshoe - Nisqually Vista Loop

Snowshoeing Trip
A short notice snowshoe for Tacoma Snowshoe course students!
Difficulty: Easy, Easy/Moderate
Wed, Dec 2, 2020
No Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
5 participants
Registration closes Nov 30
Tacoma Branch

TAC MAC Snow Skills Trip - Paradise

Youth Field trip: Mountaineers Adventure Club - Tacoma
Snow and glacier skills practice - ice ax arrest, rope team travel, crevasse rescue
Difficulty: Moderate
Sat, Dec 5, 2020
No Prerequisites
8 participants 0 instructors 2 chaperones
Registration closes Dec 3
Tacoma Branch

Seattle MAC - Backcountry Ski or Snowboard Trip - Paradise Area (winter)

Youth Youth activity: Mountaineers Adventure Club
A MAC ski trip! There will be a pre-trip meeting and there is homework. See
Difficulty: Easy, Easy/Moderate
Sat, Dec 5, 2020
No Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
0 participants 0 instructors 0 chaperones
Registration closed Nov 13
Seattle Branch

Seattle MAC - Backcountry Ski or Snowboard Trip - Paradise Area (winter)

Youth Youth activity: Mountaineers Adventure Club
A back country ski trip for MAC. There is homework that is due by the
Sun, Dec 6, 2020
No Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
0 participants 0 instructors 0 chaperones
Registration closed Nov 13
Seattle Branch

Backcountry Ski/Snowboard - Paradise Area (winter)

Backcountry Skiing Trip
Search for the best early season snow in the Paradise area.
Sun, Dec 13, 2020
Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
6 participants 0 leaders
Registration opens Nov 30
Foothills Branch

Basic Snowshoeing Field Trip - Paradise

Snowshoeing Field trip: Basic Snowshoeing
Basic Snowshoe Field Trip Dec 19, 2020
Difficulty: Easy
Sat, Dec 19, 2020
No Prerequisites
0 participants 1 instructor
Registration closes Dec 1
Tacoma Branch

Alpine Scrambling Course - Kitsap - Class 3 - Paradise

Scrambling Lecture: Alpine Scrambling Course
Snow - That beautiful blanket that changes the mountain environment in majestically inviting ways, yet
Difficulty: Easy, Easy/Moderate
Sun, Dec 20, 2020
Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
3 participants 1 instructor
Registration closes Dec 18
Kitsap Branch

Seattle Nomads Igloo Building - Paradise (Mount Rainier)

Youth Youth activity: Nomads
[MARMOT POD] Phase 2 trip for Nomads. Join for a day of playing in the
Difficulty: Easy, Easy/Moderate
Sun, Jan 10, 2021
Prerequisites
9 participants 3 chaperones
Registration opens Jan 5
Seattle Branch

Seattle Pathfinders Igloo Building - Paradise (Mount Rainier)

Youth Youth activity: Pathfinders
[BLACK BEAR POD] Phase 2 trip for Pathfinders. Join for a day of playing in
Difficulty: Easy, Easy/Moderate
Sat, Jan 16, 2021
Prerequisites
9 participants 3 chaperones
Registration opens Jan 5
Seattle Branch

Adventure Activity - Paradise Area (winter)

Youth Youth activity: Mini Mountaineers
Let's get adventurous! Mini Mountaineers will experience climbing, hiking, playing in the snow, and more!
Difficulty: Easy, Easy/Moderate
Sat, Jan 16, 2021
No Prerequisites
3 participants 4 chaperones
Registration closes Jan 14
Tacoma Branch

Seattle Junior MAC Snow Caving - Paradise (Mount Rainier)

Youth Youth activity: Junior MAC
[SALMON POD] Phase 2 trip for Jr. MAC. Join for a day of playing in
Difficulty: Easy, Easy/Moderate
Sat, Jan 23, 2021
Prerequisites
9 participants 3 chaperones
Registration opens Jan 13
Seattle Branch

Seattle Junior MAC Snow Caving - Paradise (Mount Rainier)

Youth Youth activity: Junior MAC
[ORCA POD] Phase 2 trip for Jr. MAC. Join for a day of playing in
Difficulty: Easy, Easy/Moderate
Sat, Jan 23, 2021
Prerequisites
11 participants 5 chaperones
Registration opens Jan 13
Seattle Branch

Seattle Explorers Snow Caving - Paradise (Mount Rainier)

Youth Youth activity: Explorers
[PIKA POD] Phase 2 trip for Explorers. Join for a day of playing in the
Difficulty: Easy, Easy/Moderate
Thu, Jan 28, 2021
Prerequisites
9 participants 3 chaperones
Registration opens Jan 13
Seattle Branch

Seattle Explorers Snow Caving - Paradise (Mount Rainier)

Youth Youth activity: Explorers
[MOUNTAIN GOAT POD] Phase 2 trip for Explorers. Join for a day of playing in
Difficulty: Easy, Easy/Moderate
Thu, Jan 28, 2021
Prerequisites
10 participants 4 chaperones
Registration opens Jan 13
Seattle Branch

Basic Snowshoeing Field Trip - Paradise

Snowshoeing Field trip: Basic Snowshoeing
Basic Snowshoe Field Trip Jan 30, 2021
Difficulty: Easy
Sat, Jan 30, 2021
No Prerequisites
4 participants 0 instructors
Registration closes Jan 3
Tacoma Branch

BBBS - Snowshoe - Paradise

Youth Field trip: Mountain Workshop - Big Brothers Big Sisters
This program that we are providing for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Thurston County will
Difficulty: Easy, Easy/Moderate
Sat, Feb 6, 2021
No Prerequisites
10 participants
Registration closes Feb 4
Olympia Branch

Olympia Explorers Snow-Shelter Building - Paradise

Youth Field trip: Explorers-Olympia
Learning how to build strong and stable snow shelters
Difficulty: Easy, Easy/Moderate
Sat, Feb 13, 2021
No Prerequisites
4 participants on waitlist 1 chaperone on waitlist
Registration closes Feb 11
Olympia Branch

Seattle MAC - Overnight Snow Camping Trip - Paradise Area (winter)

Youth Youth activity: Mountaineers Adventure Club
An overnight snow camp to practice our snow camping and winter layering skills!
Difficulty: Easy, Easy/Moderate
Mon, Feb 15, 2021 - Tue, Feb 16, 2021
Prerequisites
11 participants 3 chaperones
Registration opens Jan 20
Seattle Branch
Trip Reports
Titles

This is a list of titles that represent the variations of trips you can take at this route/place. This includes side trips, extensions and peak combinations. Not seeing a title that fits your trip? Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.

  • Paradise (Mount Rainier)
  • Paradise Area
  • Paradise Area (winter)
  • Paradise Trails
  • Paradise Area Trails
  • Nisqually Vista Loop
  • Alta Vista Loop
  • Golden Gate
  • Mazama Ridge
  • Dead Horse Creek
  • Skyline Loop
  • Panorama Point to Skyline Trail
Resources