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Ben There Done That: Snowshoeing Mount Rainier

A heavy dumping of snow makes for pristine conditions for snowshoeing in the mountains.

When it’s snowing in the lowlands, you know it’s dumping in the mountains. Plenty of February snowfall is making for beautiful wintry scenes in the Cascades.

Before you head up to Mount Rainier, make sure you are prepared with the right gear and a current weather forecast. Check avalanche conditions at nwac.us. Also, chat with a ranger to help you navigate the surrounding trails. Visibility can drop to zero quickly, and blinding snow, wind, and cold can create dangerous conditions.

Credit: Ben Dery
Low visibility along a snowshoe route

With over 12 feet of snow depth as of February 20, there is a need for snowshoes when hiking away from the Paradise parking lot. If you don’t have snowshoes, plan on post-holing up to your hips.

Credit: Ben Dery
Marshmallow world at Mount Rainier

What’s really cool about snowshoeing near Paradise is that once you get away from the main lodge, people tend to stay on the main path. This keeps most of the snow virtually untouched adding to the allure. And on a clear day, the contrast between fresh snow and crystal clear blue sky is mesmerizing.

Credit: Ben Dery
Lenticular cloud on Mount Rainier