Two weekends ago Susan and I, along with a group of friends, made our way to majestic Mt. Rainier for some much anticipated snowshoeing.
We’ve already made one trip to Paradise at Mt. Rainier to hike the Skyline Trail Loop, a moderate hike of just over 5 miles that offers amazing views of the surrounding area and well beyond as well as some of the glacier. The Skyline Trail Loop is also the trail you take that leads to the cutoff to the trail to Camp Muir.
Snowshoeing at Mt. Rainer had been on our bucket list for a few years, so, along with a good group of friends, we set off early for the two hour drive to Paradise at the base of Rainier.
We gathered in the lodge for a quick introduction from our guide and park ranger, a very nice and knowledgeable guy. He took us through our gear options which included current technology or if you want to go old school, the old wooden version of snowshoes. We then grabbed our snowshoes and walked the short distance to the trail head.
After affixing our snowshoes to our boots we learned a bit more about Rainier and the park. Again, a lot of trivia I was happy to receive.
The ranger then asked for a volunteer to bring up the rear of the group.
This last person’s arrival tells the ranger that the entire group has arrived safe and sound. I volunteered and with this massive responsibility placed squarely on my shoulders, we set out into the winter wonderland.
The guided tour was great as our ranger was so educated on both the mountain and the local flora and fauna.
As we continued our trek we made our way through deep powder, especially those of us who went off trail into the deep snow.
By the way, running in snowshoes is permissible, easier than one would think and suggested.
After a bit more trekking, we reached the conclusion of our journey: a picturesque view of Mt. Rainier.
After a handful of photos, we made our way back to the car.
This is a pretty simple excursion. I would also say, this is a great thing for kids or friends from out of town that may not have a lick of athleticism. The views are extraordinary and the surrounding area is of course, breath taking. Additionally, the guided tour and rental is only five dollars, so, come on! Call ahead as it can get crowded. Also, be warned, the rangers at the booth when entering may say you need chains. Unless it’s really snowing there is a lot of snow on the road, this won’t be necessary. So, head out to this wonderful place and experience the gentle giant that is Mt. Rainier during winter.