Kautz Creek is a rewarding snowshoe trek for those willing to put in the effort. You’ll find sweeping views of the Tatoosh Range and Mount Rainier, but those come only after enduring four steadily uphill, largely view-free miles.
Start at the Kautz Creek trailhead from Paradise Road and wind your way through the woods for roughly one mile until reaching the Kautz Creek crossing. Here you’ll find a small footbridge that may be snow-covered during the winter. Use caution when crossing, as footing can be difficult with ice and snow buildup. From the crossing, you’ll begin an upward climb out of the creek basin toward Mount Rainier, gaining roughly 2,500 feet over 3 miles until the first views of the surrounding mountains are apparent.
The climb from Kautz Creek is largely spent switchbacking up the hillside under the cover of dense trees, but the forest is enchanting here with a fresh coat of snow and the teasing glimpses of the Tatoosh Range through the pines will lure you to the top where better sights await. After another bridge crossing you’ll be somewhere near the halfway mark of the climb and another couple sets of switchbacks past this will mark the end of the steepest section.
Once the terrain levels out, make your way north toward Mount Ararat. After another half-mile, the views open up, giving you the reward you earned for the climb. At this point, you're 4 miles from the trailhead.
This makes a good turnaround point if you’re running low on daylight or time, but you can also press on, following the snow-covered trail to Indian Henry's Hunting Grounds where it intersects with the Wonderland Trail. Continuing this far will give you incredible up-close views of Mount Rainier, as well as a serious workout on snowshoes, as there's additional climbing to be done both on the way to Indian Henry's and on the return trip. The trip to Indian Henry's adds a mile and a half both ways, making it 11 miles round trip.
Kautz Creek Snowshoe
- 8.0 miles, roundtrip
- Elevation Gain
- 2800 feet
- Highest Point
- 5300 feet
Hiking Kautz Creek Snowshoe
Kautz Creek Snowshoe
Map & Directions
Co-ordinates: 46.7698, -121.8258 Open in Google Maps