Spotlight: Snow Play at Mt. Rainier National Park
A winter getaway in the shadow of Washington’s tallest volcanic peak
What You’ll Find
The highest mountain in Washington and the Cascade Range at an elevation of 14,410 feet. In the winter months, Mount Rainier National Park is transformed into a wonderland of snow-play opportunities like sledding, sliding, ranger-guided snowshoe walks, snowmobiling, skiing and snowboarding.
Mt. Rainier National Park is located in west-central Washington and is about 200 miles from Seattle, Tacoma and Yakima. The southwest and northwest entrances are open year round; the three east entrances are typically closed in the winter. Visit the park’s website for detailed directions and maps.
The National Park Inn at Longmire and the Paradise Inn are located within park boundaries. There are many more accommodations just outside the park, including lodges, inns, spas, cabins and rustic retreats.
Camping on the snow is allowed most anywhere in the park for groups up to 12 people. Groups of 12 or more may camp at Paradise only. Those who venture into the backcountry need to obtain a permit at either the Longmire Museum or the Jackson Visitor Center. Read carefully, the park’s guidelines for winter camping before embarking on your wintery adventure.
Make Sure You
Follow winter safety advice. Be aware of quickly changing weather conditions and come prepared with gear, clothing, food and water appropriate for the conditions.
Some areas of the park, including Sunrise, White River, Ohanapecosh, State Routes 410 and 123 and the Stevens Canyon Road close in mid-October or early November until summertime. Check out current conditions using the park webcams and monitor information updates and alerts on the park website.
Did You Know?
Mount Rainier is an active stratovolcano, characterized by gentle slopes that rise up to a dramatic and steep summit. The mountain last erupted in 1890 and continues to produce seismic activity consistent with an active volcano. Read our spotlight article about Mount St. Helens for a look at another Cascade Range volcano in Washington.