Trip Report    

Intermediate Snowshoe - Mazama Ridge (Mount Rainier)

An enjoyable hike with spectacular views at Mt Rainier NP.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Fantastic snow and trails all around. No significant hazards.

Trip: We started our trip around 11 AM or so, after a slightly delayed start. The morning's precipitation had stopped and we entered a great weather window. The sky was partly sunny, with comfortable temperatures in the mid- or high-20s and no wind. When the sun came out, the day felt warm.

After a couple decision points on a "Considerable" avy risk day, we decided to do the loop counter-clockwise to travel on Stevens Canyon Road to Reflection Lakes (with its steep slopes above) earlier in the day before the sun warmed the slope and the snow became less stable. From Reflection Lakes, we took the slow ascent to the ridge skirting it on the southeast side until we hit a high point two-thirds along the ridge and found a beautiful spot facing Tahoma for lunch. Mindful of time, we headed back instead of finishing the last third of the ridge/loop. There were snowshoers and skiers out but not too many. We ended up traveling about 5 miles/1,000 ft. By the time we were back at the cars (around 3:45 PM), the weather window started closing and a very light dusting of snow began to fall.

It was a wonderful day with a great group of travelers!

Road: The road up to Longmire and Paradise was icy. Chains were required inside the park for all but AWD/4WD with traction tires. Past the Nisqually entrance, vehicles chained up at the Kautz Creek parking area. There was no slow traffic from South Renton P&R to the park in the morning. It was a little slower on the way back during post-work early evening hours but not too bad.