You are here: Home Find a Hike Hiking Guide Glacier Vista Snowshoe

Glacier Vista Snowshoe

» REI » Amazon

A portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.

Paradise. Close your eyes, and whisper the name. The image that pops into the minds of most folks will be white sand beaches and warm blue waters. But for some of us, Paradise is best served cold. Rather than white sand, we see undulating drifts of cold white snow. Rather than warm blue waters, we see deep sapphire ice. Palm trees are replaced with dark green alpine firs. Paradise, to us, is the alpine landscape of Mount Rainier.
Snowshoers can experience this wintery wonderland at the aptly named Paradise meadows of Mount Rainier National Park. If you want an easy,
family-friendly introduction to snowshoeing, there is no better route than the gentle climb through the sprawling meadows above Nisqually Glacier.

From the west end of the parking area, near the Climbers Hut, climb the groomed trail up through the tall snow bank surrounding the parking lot (depending on the snowfall, the snow bank can be upwards of 25 feet high). The trail passes the guide service building, and leads to the groomed sledding run the Park Service maintains in the lower meadows. Stay to the left of these runs, and slowly work your way uphill while drifting west. When you come to the tree line, turn north and follow the edge of the meadow uphill, working around the various drifts and dips that form when the wind whips the snow.

Continuing up the slope about 1 mile, you'll find frequent breaks in the trees on your left. These provide clear views down on the jagged, rock-strewn expanse of the Nisqually Glacier that fills the valley below. At a little more than 1 mile from the parking lot, you'll be in a broad open area known as Glacier Vista, with wonderful views of the whole Nisqually Valley, as well as up to the towering hulk of Mount Rainier. Behind you, the Tatoosh peaks line the southern horizon.

You can return the same way you came, but to vary things a bit, turn right and cross the upper meadow back down to Alta Vista. From the north end of this knoll, look east down into the Edith Creek basin. Then descend along the west side of the hill (the east side of Alta Vista is too steep and slide prone to be safely traversed) to return to the sledding runs and the parking lot.

Author’s Rating: Easiest.
Generally good trails for beginners, with little elevation change and minimal avalanche danger.
Driving Directions:

To get there, drive east from Tacoma on State Route 7 and bear left onto SR 706 at the town of Elbe. Continue east through the Nisqually Entrance of the park, and proceed up the plowed road to the Paradise Lodge parking area.

Improve or add to this guidebook entry

Note: the description and driving directions for this Mountaineers Books entry are copyrighted and can't be changed.

Recent Trip Reports

Hiked here recently? Submit a trip report!
There are 23 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Paradise, Glacier Vista Snowshoe — Feb 08, 2014 — Fat Matt
Day hike
Expand report text Hide report text
Snow was falling while I was up there. The clouds opened up near the apex of the journey. There we...
Snow was falling while I was up there. The clouds opened up near the apex of the journey. There were a number of groups gathered near the summit of the trail waiting to go up. There has not been much snow this year (2014) so the number of snow shoeing locations is rather small. Great shoe overall.
Read full report with photos
Glacier Vista Snowshoe — Jan 04, 2014 — analonthetrail
Snowshoe/XC Ski
Issues: Snow on trail | Avalanche danger
Expand report text Hide report text
It was a sunny and clear weekend perfect for snowshoeing. From Mill Creek, it took us about 3 hours ...
It was a sunny and clear weekend perfect for snowshoeing. From Mill Creek, it took us about 3 hours to reach Mt. Rainier National Park. At the gate, you are able to purchase a day pass or annual pass. There was only one ranger stationed this Saturday morning, but the line was quick. Due to icy conditions 2WD vehicles are required to have chains on while 4WD vehicles just needed to have chains available in the car. Road up to Paradise Lodge parking lot was well plowed.

At 10:45 am we reached the parking lot. It was about 1/2 to 3/4 full. On our way out around 2pm the lot was packed with people waiting for parking spots to open up. Plenty of restrooms available just before you begin your climb up or at the really nice visitor's center where they also have a small cafeteria and gift shop.

Originally our plan was to make it up to Panorama Point, but the ranger at the parking lot told us to reconsider due to avalanche danger and ice. We followed the paths made by all the snowshoe-ers before us. It was a very easy trip up to Glacier Vista. There were clear, beautiful views of Rainier, Helens, and Adams. It got pretty gusty up there a few times, but only for a few seconds. After a bit more exploring, we made it back down to the and wandered around the visitor's center before heading home. Gates close at 5 pm.

All in all, an easy snowshoe with stunning views well worth the drive.

For more photos and text of me blabbing please visit my blog: http://analonthetrail.blogs[…]glacier-vista-snowshoe.html
Read full report with photos
Glacier Vista Snowshoe — Apr 24, 2013 — MtnManiac
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail
Expand report text Hide report text
It truly was a day in Paradise this - well - day at Paradise. I only logged a bit over three miles ...
It truly was a day in Paradise this - well - day at Paradise. I only logged a bit over three miles and 1000 elev gain. Most of the action was in my (camera) trigger finger, I think.

Conditions: firm not-quite-breakable crust in the shade and a bit "gloppy" and slushy in the sun. I made it half way up Panorama Point, but being careful of a wrenched knee or something, did the prudent thing and rather than risk twisting it during the sloppy snow ascent, I wandered over to some snow-bedecked trees.

This was heaven on earth - or Paradise indeed.
Read full report with photos
Glacier Vista Snowshoe — Feb 10, 2013 — eireann17
Snowshoe/XC Ski
Expand report text Hide report text
We headed up to Paradise on a very gray Seattle morning and found abundant sunshine and blue skies. ...
We headed up to Paradise on a very gray Seattle morning and found abundant sunshine and blue skies. The road was a little icy in places on the way up (arrived at Paradise parking lot a little after 10 a.m.) but just bare and wet on the way down in the afternoon.

This was the first snowshoe trip for my friends and I, and it was so much fun! We headed up (northwest from visitor center) around the sledding area following one of several pretty obvious, wanded trails in the general direction of Glacier Vista. Eventually we joined up with part of the Alta Vista trail, then decided to do the very steep uphill to Panorama Point.

If you go up to Panorama Pt, your calves will thank you for using snowshoes with a heel lift. The snow cover is deceptive, everything looks closer and less steep than it really is, but the view is worth the effort. The air was so clear we could see all the way to Mt. Hood! And sliding down is a hoot--just be sure to watch out for other snowshoers and skiers headed up.

On our way down we passed the crowded sledding area and decided to take a little side trip east on the Skyline trail before returning to the car. The snow was much more crunchy/compact on the trail in this direction... and fortunately not quite as good for making snowballs as one of my friends had hoped. :)

If there's sun in the forecast, get on out and play!
Read full report with photos
Glacier Vista Snowshoe — Jan 20, 2013 — caemlet
Day hike
Expand report text Hide report text
This was my first shoes shoe trip. We began at Paradise and went left just after the children's sled...
This was my first shoes shoe trip. We began at Paradise and went left just after the children's sledding area. We went along Alta Vista and followed approximately the Skyline trail to Glacier Vista. Then dropped down to meet up with Edith Creek and Myrtle Falls. The weather could not have been better. The snow was icy in spots but well packed and make for a great first experience. For a first time snowshoe trip, I must highly recommend this route.
Read full report with photos
glacier vista.jpg
Photo by Wild Celtic Rose.
Location
Mt. Rainier -- SE - Longmire / Paradise
Mount Rainier National Park
Statistics
Roundtrip 3.0 miles
Elevation Gain 700 ft
Highest Point 6300 ft
Features
Mountain views
Guidebooks & Maps
Green Trails: Mount Rainier East No. 270, Paradise No. 270S

Improve or add to this guidebook entry

Note: the description and driving directions for this Mountaineers Books entry are copyrighted and can't be changed.

Map it
Red MarkerGlacier Vista Snowshoe
46.7522507603 -121.789535524
(46.7523, -121.7895) Open in new window
Document Actions
  • Print this
  • Share
Get the Guidebooks

Mountaineers three booksSelect content from The Mountaineers Books' guidebooks is featured in this Hiking Guide. Sales of the books from this website help protect and maintain trails.

> Shop Now

More hikes » Hike of the Week
Diablo Lake Trail (Apr 17)

Diablo Lake

North Cascades

Follow the Diablo Lake Trail up and across talus slopes on the flanks of Sourdough Mountain to impressive cascading waterfalls and stunning views. This hike in the North Cascades Institute's backyard makes a great option for an early season hike in stunning North Cascades National Park, much of which is inaccessible during the winter and spring.

Get Trail News

Subscribe to our free email newsletter for hiking news, events, gear reviews and more.

What's Happening
GiveBIG 2014 May 06, 2014 Donate to WTA during The Seattle Foundation's GiveBIG event and grow your impact on trails!
Hiker Potluck in Vancouver May 28, 2014 Come out for an evening of great food, meet other hikers and learn what is happening on trails near you.
More »