Snow and Sun reveal the Mountain in its full glory


The sun and clear skies that thawed-out the frozen slush on our roads Friday, also brought out the splendor of Mount Rainier.  About a foot of snow now graces the lower elevations of Mt. Rainier National Park, creating superb conditions for all winter sports, particularly snow-shoeing.

Kautz Creek Trail, about four miles up the mountain from the Nisqually River entrance in Ashford, is an especially ideal trail for snow-shoeing, as it has a gentle slope and mild elevation gain.  In addition, the trail is wider than most, which is vital in wintertime as tree branches hang low with snow, or are toppled altogether and force snow-shoers to wiggle, side-step or crawl under the impediments.

Snow-shoe rentals are available from the National Park at the nearby Longmire Lodge.  Full-day rates are $14.00 per pair, and half-days, starting at 12:30 pm, are $11.50.

For the more adventurous backcountry snow-shoer, or the hundreds of family sledders heading to the slopes at Paradise, the road is currently open – which is often not the case when big snows inundate the road above Longmire and force lengthy closures for snow-plowing operations. 

The road to Mt. Rainier National Park is clear of snow and ice, but travel within the park requires chains or 4WD.


The popular Kautz Creek Trail begins at the spacious Kautz Creek parking lot on the road to Longmire and Paradise. It also has the first latrine faciltiies as one enters the park.


Be prepared for many downed-trees on the Kautz Creek Trail





Due to recent tectonic activities underneath Mt. Rainier, Kautz Creek now runs iron-ore red, a beautiful contrast to the surrounding hues of winter.

The majestic Longmire Lodge is two miles further up the road from Kautz Creek, and has complete facilities for snow-shoers and cross-country skiers.


All pictures and copy by Bruce A. Smith

© 2011 All Rights Reserved

This entry was posted in Environment, Mount Rainier, Nature and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Snow and Sun reveal the Mountain in its full glory

  1. anuttama says:

    Beautiful pictures!

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