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|Snowshoe Destination: Crater Lake Snow Camp, OR|
Monday, January 06 @ 14:32:59 PST by Drew (1116 reads)
|Vicinity Location: The trailhead is 95 miles southeast of Eugene,
OR in Crater Lake National Park.|
From the South (Year Round):
From Medford – Drive 63 miles on Route 62
north and east to the park's west entrance.
From Klamath Falls – Drive 44 miles on Route
97 north to Route 62 north and west to the park's south entrance.
From the North (Winter):
From Roseburg - Drive 113 miles on Route
138 east to Route 230 south to Route 62 east to the park's west entrance.
From Bend – Drive 132 miles on Route 97 south
to Route 62 north and west to the park's south entrance.
From the south entrance road,
drive about 4 miles on South Entrance Drive and Rim Drive to the parking area
west of Crater Lake Lodge. The trailhead is on the west side of the parking lot
near the lake.
There are bathrooms near the parking lot.
A National Park entry permit may be required
to park at the trailhead, depending on the month.
Operating hours and seasons: Link
A free wilderness permit is required to camp
overnight in the park.
Pets are not allowed on this trail.
Length and Elevation:
5.6 miles round trip Elevation gain 1,300
feet and loss of 1,300 feet. Total gain and loss is 2,600 feet. Elevation at
the trailhead is about 7,050 feet. Highest point is 7,874 feet. From camp to
The Watchman the gain is 1,100 feet and a loss of 400 feet.
Crater Rim Drive.
There are no geocaches along this trail.
, Download Garmin .gpx file
The Watchman Lookout Station sits 8,025 feet above sea level on Watchman Peak,
which is on the western edge of Crater Lake. The lookout was built in 1932 by
the CCC and served the dual purpose of fire lookout and trail museum. The Watchman
Lookout actually had flushing toilets from the early 1960’s until the late 1970’s.
The water was pumped over 1,000 vertical feet from Lightning Spring.
Early fire detection and prompt suppression used to be a primary responsibility
of the National Park Service. The Watchman Lookout Station was part of the fire
detection network for Crater Lake National Park which included a number of
National Park Service, United States Forest Service and Bureau of Indian
Affairs lookouts. A trained observer, usually a park ranger, manned the lookout
and kept in contact with the fire dispatcher at the park headquarters on
short-wave radio. During the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps also
provided observers. The National Park Service manned the Watchman Lookout
Station each fire season until 1974 and it has been manned intermittently afterwards.
Since the lookout was built, there has been a major change in how wildfires are
dealt with. Today many fires in National Parks are left to burn unless the fire
threatens life and property. The Watchman Lookout preserves the essential
elements of 1930's era fire lookout. The 360 degree panoramic view and the use
of native materials that blend the structure into the surrounding landscape
combine make the Watchman Lookout Station a unique and historically significant
structure. The lookout was listed on the National Register of Historic Places
April 13th, 2014.
Before beginning this hike, stop at the Steele
visitor center and fill out a wilderness permit which contains the names,
addresses, and contact information of all the hikers. The visitors center is
about 2.5 miles before the crater rim parking lot. It is also required to turn
in your copy of the permit when you finish your trip. The park service will
search for overdue hikers.
Spring snow depths along the rim can vary from a few inches to tens of feet
depending on how the snow had drifted. The hiking trail begins west of the
parking area. Be sure to check out the views to the northwest of the parking
area along the rim of the crater. These are some of the nicest views of Crater
Lake and Wizard Island
Follow the snow-hidden road west as it drops gently down along and behind the
rim. On a sunny day there are great views right at the start of the trip. Llao
Rock, a massive rock formation jutting up from the lake for almost 2,000 feet
can be seen behind Wizard Island and the named peaks around Crater Lake ramp up
into the blue sky.
The number of people soon diminishes after the next viewpoint of the lake. On
the way in, we tried to stay close to the rim which means you follow the up and
down contours of the rim. Trees grow right up to the edge of the rim but there
are plenty of gaps in the tree cover which allow you to gaze at the azure blue
of the lake. The wind can really blow at the edge of the rim and be calm just a
few steps away. There are some small, steep slopes which can avalanche so be
aware of changing conditions. Also be aware there can be cornices at any spot
along the rim so exercise extreme care and forethought when approaching the
crater rim for a view. If you can’t see a tree between you and the edge, there
could be a cornice ahead.
As we snowshoed farther along the rim, we only saw one or two other people. After
a couple of miles we didn’t see anyone else. The views are wonderful at many
spots along the way. We saw Mt. Shasta and Mt. McLaughlin to the south, Mt.
Thielson to the north, and other tall peaks.
We found a place to camp about 400 feet back from the rim with great view to
the southeast. Jeremiah and Carissa set up their tent and Johnny set up his
tent in the middle of a snow meadow. I made my snow trench near the edge of the
meadow. It didn’t take me too long to get the roof on the trench so I could
sleep out of the wind. Johnny had a backpacking beer kit from Pat’s Backcountry
Beverages and Jeremiah helped read the instructions. The beer was okay but I
think bringing some cans for a short trip would be easier. After the beer
brewing, we felt pretty warm in the sun and decided there was time for us to
climb The Watchman.
Johnny, Jeremiah, and I put out snowshoes back on and headed along the road
towards The Watchman. We mostly stayed off the ski tracks but some places were
along the narrow tops of snowdrifts that we had to snowshoe on the ski tracks.
Some places had tall drifts and other places the wind had blown most of the
snow away and spring weather had melted the snow down to the road.
We passed another viewpoint with unobstructed views of the lake and from there
we snowshoed along the road up the south side of The Watchman. We climbed
steadily for about .8 mile up to a point where we decided to leave the road and
head up the ridge towards the lookout tower.
For about .3 mile we travelled up the ridge on a moderate slope where it was
easy to pick our way among the trees. We headed towards the southern facing
slope. The trees become sparse and we could see Mt. Shasta and all the nearer
The last several hundred feet of the slope is pretty steep but the avalanche
danger was very low because there hadn’t been any snow for the week. Climbing
is slow work at 7,500 feet and I needed a couple of breaks on the way up.
We got to fire lookout but the snow slope facing the lake looked too dangerous
to climb. I walked around to the north side and there was an easy snow slope
and climb over the railing. From there it was easy to walk to the overlook for
fantastic views of the lake and from every side of the lookout.
After taking photos we headed back to camp. It took us about 90 minutes on the
trip up and about 60 minutes for the trip back to camp. We got back well before
dark but had taken our flashlights as a precaution.
Cooking dinner is always the coldest time of camping but my heavy mittens were
really nice to have. I always use my white gas stove in the winter so I melted
a lot of snow for dinner and breakfast.
It was getting pretty cold after we finished dinner so it wasn’t long before we
retired to our tents and shelters. Since I my snow shelter was open to the
weather, I dug a pit, put in my water, and put a lid on top. The full moon made
the night bright and I was glad that my snow shelter kept the moon off of my
face so I could get a good night’s sleep.
The next morning was 20 degrees and everything outside was covered in frost. I
checked on my water and there were some ice crystals but it was mostly
unfrozen. I walked around on the hard crust and ventured to the rim for the
sunrise. To the right I could see some cornices so I was careful not to venture
too close to the edge. I walked around taking in the views until the others
Things warmed up quickly with the shining and a light breeze in camp and in a
couple of hours it was close to freezing. Johnny used a few snow blocks from my
snow shelter to make a windbreak for his stove. We had our breakfasts and
Johnny made French Press coffee.
It was nice to hang around camp in the sun and after a while, we broke camp and
headed back. We didn’t see anyone else until 11:30 and we were pretty close to
the parking lot. I stopped for some photos at the rim then joined the group at
We stopped in at the Steele Visitor Center to turn in our permit, use the
toilets, and congratulate ourselves on a great trip. From there, it was back on
the road, stopping for pizza in Eugene.
Enjoy the photos!!
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|Snowshoe Destination: South Cinder Cone, OR|
Friday, February 15 @ 10:51:59 PST by Drew (2128 reads)
From Portland, take I-5 south for about 46
miles, driving through Salem.
Take exit 253 for OR-22 E toward Detroit
Lake/Bend 0.3 mile.
Turn left onto OR-22 E/Mission St SE, crossing
over I-5 and continue to follow OR-22 E for 65 miles.
Turn left onto Marion Creek Rd. The road is just
before Marion Creek and is easy to miss. It is 4.5 miles from Hwy 22 to the
trailhead. The road is not plowed. Drive to where you will be able to get back
out if it snows during the trip, and park.
A Northwest Forest Pass may be required. There
is no fee during winter.
Outhouse at the trailhead.
Length and Elevation:
12.6 miles round trip. From the trailhead to
camp is 6.3 miles and an elevation gain of 3,000 feet with an elevation loss of
Marion Lake Trail #3436, Lake of the Woods Trail
#3493,with connection to the PCT trail #2000.
Topo Map, Download Garmin .gpx
Review: April 13, 2013
The four of us drove up the road until the snow
prevented us from going any farther. Since it was dark, we decided to walk up
to the trailhead and set up our tents. We walked less than .25 mile and reached
the trailhead. Some of us camped on snow and some on wet forest duff.
I hadn’t brought a tent and Jerimiah offered me
a spot in his tent, which I gladly accepted. The sleet turned to snow and we
were snug in our bags until Jerimiah heard a noise and shined his flashlight
onto a rat. It must spend its nights looking for camper’s food. We didn’t have
any food in the tent or in our backpacks, but Jerimiah finally pulled his
backpack into the tent to get it away from the rat. The rat was pretty bold and
hung around for about an hour. I woke up imagining the rat had found my food
bag and chewed a hole in it and had contaminated all my food. I hurried out to
check my food and it was untouched. During breakfast Jerimiah told about the
rat but no one else had seen or heard any trace of it.
The snow had stopped and we made breakfast and
packed. Happily for me, I used the pit toilet instead of having to use the
“blue bag” for the day.
We walked up the Marion Lakes Trail because the
first part of the trail had mostly melted out. The trail is well maintained and
not very muddy. The snow on the trail got deeper as we slowly gained elevation.
We reached Ann Lake after walking 1.5 miles. We met a couple of guys drinking
beer and looking for a spot to fish. The wanted to walk up to Marion Lake, but
soon after the lake, we needed to put our snowshoes on and they turned back. We
needed to be careful to keep to the side of the trail because water running
down the trail had thinned the snow and we stepped through a couple of times.
The snow started blowing as we made our way up
to Marion Lake, which is about 2.2 miles from the trailhead. The lake was
pretty much frozen over with a layer of snow covering most of the lake. I don’t
think the fishermen would have been able to fish at the lake if they had been
able to walk to its shore.
To follow the trail, walk through the woods to
the far shore of the lake and follow the shore southeast for about .3 mile to
the junction with Lake of the Woods trail.
Head north, away from the lake generally following the contour of the land,
slowly gaining elevation and entering an area burned by the B&B fire. The
fire burned about 95,000 acres in 2003. It looks like a lot of the burned trees
have fallen over during the storms of the past decade and the silver forest is
fairly open. Coming into the stream valley, continue uphill until finding a good
place to cross the stream. Continuing to follow along the ridge, head generally
east for about a mile.
In the burned-out area, we found a fallen log for lunch and hoped the clouds
would clear. We talked about the hike and what was the best route to take to
where we wanted to camp. The waypoint for our lunch was N44 34.534 W121 50.465.
From lunch, the path became steeper. We first climbed a pretty steep, though
fairly short slope and continued to follow the ridgeline. Though we couldn’t
see the cone, Justin knew the general direction and we continued generally
heading east but curving to the south. After lunch we moved out of the charred
trees of the B&B fire.
As we continued to climb among the clouds, we used the compass and GPS to head
in the general direction of the cinder
cone. We wove through the trees, picking our way through spaces in the
trees. There were a few short, steep places but they were in the trees so the
avalanche danger was very low.
At about 6,200 feet, we found some good breaks in the trees to contour around the
lower slopes of the cone. We had found an alley through the trees and it made
for easy travelling. The snow had a thick crust and it was easy to walk.
We scouted around for a camp and backtracked to a flat area that had trees to
block the wind a bit.I started my igloo and the rest set up their tents.
Jerimiah picked the windiest spot and you could see his tent flapping a lot.
I made a bigger than normal igloo so we could get inside and the construction
took about 2 ½ hours. It kept me warm while the others mostly kept to their
tents to stay warm. I got done about 5:30 and Justin decided to help build a
snow wall to help shield Jerimiah’s tent.
They used extra blocks from the igloo and cut additional blocks for a while.
We talked a bit while we made dinner but
most of the time was spent in our shelters.
I spent a quiet night only hearing a bit of wind on occasion. The wind died
down during the night but the clouds remained. We still couldn’t see much the
next morning as we made breakfast.
We decided that our route as pretty good so we followed it back as best we
could. Sometimes we could see our tracks and other times not. The map shows the
terrain as relatively gentle, but there is a very steep slope to the south of
our track and boulder fields.
Once we reached our Saturday lunch spot, the slopes were pretty gentle. We
found our stream crossing without a problem. The sunlight and clouds made
interesting patterns with the trees which are a mix of silver-grey and charcoal
black. All the small branches have been burned away and only the skeletal
frameworks of the trees remain. From our lunch spot, it was easy to navigate
back to Marion Lake. We alternated wearing snowshoes and carrying them.
Marion Lake was mostly frozen over but seemed to have a couple of interesting
patterns which we think were made by water upwelling and keeping the ice from
forming a thick layer. We walked the rocky trail above the lake, then continued
through a flat forested area for just a couple tenths of a mile then traverses back
across the steep slope. Even though I tried to avoid walking over the trail, I
still fell through in a spot up to my hips. The rest of the group navigated the
slope without plunging through to the trail.
Back in the forest the slope lessened and walking became easier. The trees help
shield the trail from high snow ac*****ulations. We soon came back to the shores
of Lake Ann which looks like it stays unfrozen during the winter.
We carefully negotiated the logs at the outfall of the lake and went back into
the woods. There were still deep patches of snow where you step into a
footprint thinking it will hold, only to posthole up to your knee. Those
patches lasted about .5 mile and from there it was a pretty easy walk. We
enjoyed finishing up our trip on a trail that has a nice consistent grade
downhill for the last mile.
We got back to the pit toilet about 2 in the
afternoon and I enjoyed not having to use a blue bag on the trip. We met a
couple of people going for a day hike, but other than the two people we saw on
the first day, we had the wilds to ourselves.
I hope we can see some mountains on the next trip. The scenery
should be fantastic on a clear day. Thanks to Justin for organizing this trip
to a quiet place of solitude and snow.
Enjoy the photos!!
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|Snowshoe Destination: Barlow Butte, OR|
Friday, February 15 @ 10:47:32 PST by Drew (2285 reads)
From Portland take I-84 East to the Wood Village,
exit (16A). Head south and turn left onto NE Burnside Rd. Heading East,
Burnside will merge into Highway 26. Follow Hwy 26 past Government Camp and
exit on Highway 35 to Hood River. Follow Hwy 35 for about 2.7 miles. Turn right
into the Barlow Pass Snow Park.
A Snow Park permit is required during the snow
season. No permit is needed in the summer months.
No outhouses are available at the parking lot. The
closest bathrooms are at White River West parking lot or Government Camp.
Elevation: 5.9 Miles roundtrip, Elevation gain totals 1,800 Feet. Elevation
at the trailhead is 4,150 feet. Highest point is at 5,070 feet. Lowest
elevation is 3,900 feet.
Barlow Road, Barlow Butte Trail, Mineral Jane
Trail, with connections to the Pacific Crest Trail #2000.
Topo Map, Download Garmin .gpx
Review: February 1, 2013, March 3, 2013
Walk east across the parking lot and to the
Pacific Crest Trail and the Barlow Road. Walk northeast a bit until you reach
the Barlow Road, which heads downhill. Walk about 150 feet farther, looking for
the Mineral Jane Ski Trail, the Barlow Creek Trail, and the Barlow Butte Trail
#670 off to the left. Follow this trail downhill, looking for blue diamond
signs marking the trail.
Follow along this trail as it drops down to a tail
junction sign for the Mineral Jane Ski Trail and Barlow Butte Trail. Turn left
at the signpost. Continuing straight takes you the wrong way, descending towards
Devils Half Acre.
From the signpost, the trail climbs a bit, crosses
a small creek, and then steadily gains elevation for about .25 mile and reaches
a sign for the Mineral Jane Ski Trail and Barlow Butte Trail. Continue straight
ahead on the Mineral Jane Ski Trail through the moss-draped Hemlock forest. The
trail should be easy to find, though you may not always be able to see blue
Now you’ve gotten far enough from Hwy 35 so that you can barely hear the
traffic. The sound of your snowshoes crunching through the snow masks out the
low-level traffic noise. The trail crosses a low saddle then drops down and
joins a Forest Service road. Walk along the sweeping turns of the Forest
Service road as it gently loses elevation. Right at a mile from the trailhead,
a nice view of Mt.Hood is off to the left.
Walk a bit farther to a T-junction at a Forest
Road There is a blue diamond with a black arrow pointing to the left. Turn
right at the junction and begin walking very gently uphill. The trail here is
mostly level for about the first.25 mile, then steepens as you climb up the
lower shoulders of Barlow Butte.
Continue steadily gaining elevation as you head
east. Walking along the road you pass many spectacular views of Mt. Hood,
looking across the White River Valley. About 1.6 miles from the
trailhead, you pass a small mountain stream tumbling down the mountainside,
going under the road, and continuing downhill to join the White River.
The trees are beginning to change from Hemlocks to Noble Fir. This section
appears to be protected from the east winds by a nearby ridge, thus allowing
moss to drape down from the tree branches.
You might think that trails lose elevation as you
walk away from Mt. Hood, but Barlow Butte Trail steadily gains elevation going
away from Mt. Hood.
The trail continues to climb for a couple of miles,
rounds a bend, and begins to descend. A few hundred feet farther and you reach
a point about 2.6 miles from the trailhead. Look for a break in the trees,
angling up and to the right. This is a tree-lined snow-covered forest road which
you walk on for a few hundred feet. Head towards a large meadow that is ahead
on your left. After reaching a big meadow, navigate along the top of the
meadow, gently turning to the left and sidehill for about .3 mile, crossing
over a very gentle saddle so that the uphill side is on your right before the
saddle, and the uphill side is on your left after the saddle.
Be sure not to lose elevation as you sidehill
towards Barlow Ridge. You will reach a pointed rock butte jutting from the
ridgetop. The easiest way to get around this first butte is to skirt it on the
left, following the snow around the rock.
Continue along the ridge to the second butte. You will
need to switchback down through the forest on the right side, losing about 50
to 100 feet in elevation. Once you’ve gotten past the butte, there is a nice
place to take a well deserved break, with a view of Mt. Hood as a reward.
Barlow Butte is not far from here.
Start climbing along the ridge, with views of Mt.
Jefferson to the south and Mt. Hood to the west. The ridge is exposed and can
have large cornices on the right side. Stay to the left side of the ridge to
avoid walking on any cornices and continue up the slope, entering the woods
just below the butte. Looking back you can see the two promontories you passed
earlier, one up high on a rocky slope, and the closer one jutting up out of the
Near the top of the
butte, look for any clearings off to the right and head in that direction. You
will find nice views of the Forest road you came up on, the route you followed
along the ridge, and the White River Valley.
You will want to
head back into the woods, looking for the highest point of the ridge. After a
bit of a walk, you should be able to find Barlow Butte, which is a snow-covered
rock dome which stands just a bit higher than the rest of the ridge.
Now that you’ve
reached the apex, the next goal is to get back to the car safely. Continue
following the ridge for about 500 feet, and it begins to drop down with
increasing steepness. Pick a good point to leave the ridge, cut left across the
face of Barlow Butte. The woods here are fairly open and you can choose where
to switchback and mostly avoid any brushy areas.
As the slope decreases, it becomes more difficult
to pick out any ridgeline to follow. A compass heading of North by Northwest (about
330°) will allow you to bushwhack through the open forest, back down to the Mineral
Jane ski Trail. Turn left here, retracing your steps past the junction with the
Barlow Butte trail and back down the bridge over the small stream.
The last quarter mile feels like a mile because
the trail climbs steadily the whole way back to the parking lot. Eventually you
reach the sign for the Mineral Ski Trail and the Barlow Butte Trail #670. From
here, snowshoe up the Barlow Road Trail for about 150 feet and take the
junction to the left. The junction is easy to spot if you keep a lookout for it
and it leads up and away from the Barlow Road. Soon you’ll reach the junction
for Barlow Road and the Pacific Crest Trail. It is just a short walk west back
to the parking lot.
This trail is moderately used, which is surprising
because of the very low avalanche danger and the great views. You can turn this
into an out-and-back trip by turning around at the alpine meadow and retracing
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|Snowshoe Destination: Mazama - Narada Loop, WA|
Thursday, November 03 @ 08:36:28 PDT by Drew (6015 reads)
miles east of Ashford, WA in Mt. Rainier National
From Seattle, take I-5 South to Hwy
512 East and go towards Puyallup
(Exit 127). Follow Hwy 512 East for about 2 miles.
Turn south onto Hwy 7 towards Mt. Rainier.
Follow Hwy 7 south to Elbe. At Elbe,
turn left onto Hwy 706, travel through Ashford, and then to the Nisqually
entrance of Mt. Rainier National
Park. Now, follow the last
paragraph of the directions.
take I-5 North and take exit 68 to Hwy 12. Take Hwy 12 for about 30 miles to
Morton. Turn left into Morton on Hwy 7 and drive about 17 miles to
Hwy 706. Turn right on Hwy 706 and drive to the Nisqually entrance on the west
side of Mt. Rainier National
Park. The drive take about 3 1/4
Peak weekends: Once you are in the park,
continue about 18
miles on the Longmire-Paradise
Road. If you are in the park by 9am then you can follow
the signs and probably park at the Paradise Inn parking lot. Barn Flats
Trailhead Parking is 2.2
miles past Narada Falls on the right. In the
winter the road between Longmire and Paradise can
open as late as 10am. The
road opens earlier if little snow has fallen the previous night.
National Park entrance fee must be paid to enter
Mt. Rainier National
No pets or bikes allowed on trails within the
Flush toilets available near the parking lot,
near Paradise Inn and at Jackson Memorial Visitor Center.
Avalanche Evaluation Information
4.4 miles round trip. Elevation
gain 1,130 feet and loss 1,130 feet round trip. Elevation at the
trailhead at 5,400
feet, highest point is at 5,800 feet.
Lowest elevation is 4,800
feet. The Jackson Memorial Visitors Center is
Paradise Valley Road,
Mazama Ridge Trail, and Narada Falls Trail with connections to Barn Flats
Trail. Note, these trails have different names in the summer.
, National Park Service Map
, National Park Winter Map
, Download Garmin .gpx file
-Early Winter Route, Download Garmin .gpx file
-Late Winter Route
March 24th, 2012
Before going on this trip, click here
to check the NW Avalanche
Center or ask a Park Ranger when entering the park, at the Longmire museum, or
at the visitor’s center at Paradise. If avalanche danger is higher than
moderate then evaluate conditions very carefully before taking this trip. There
are two small exposed slopes and one long avalanche runout encountered between Paradise
Valley Road and Mazama Ridge.
past Ashford keep an eye out for elk. I saw a herd of about 15 elk grazing on
the left side of the road. I thought I could get some pictures but the elk
turned skittish as I stopped, so I drove away so they wouldn’t run off. When I
got to Longmire the road was already open for the day and the pavement looked
like I didn’t need cable chains, so I drove up to Paradise.
The weather wasn’t as nice as I had hoped for
but the clouds were high and the winds were low. I strapped on my showshoes and
headed down Paradise Road
admiring the snow clad Tatoosh mountains.
After .6 mile turn
off the road at waypoint LVRD, N46° 47.408’ W121°
43.601’. The spot to leave the road and turn uphill is where the road makes a
sweeping turn of about 90°, just after crossing Paradise River, and
passing a small clump of trees on the left. Head up 4th Crossing Trail keeping
close to the uphill trees when possible. On the way up I noticed two showshoers
turning off the road before Paradise River.
That route forces you to cross an avalanche slope.
I went uphill, keeping mostly to the trees to
avoid avalanche danger. Continuing towards Mazama Ridge the trail passes a
couple of small exposed areas and comes out to a flat area. I headed towards
the trees at the end of the flat area, and then proceeded uphill to the right,
towards Mazama Ridge. On the way up, I looked back and saw the 2 snowshoers
heading towards me and about to cross an avalanche slope. Later in the day, I
met these two snowshoers, Frank and Kip.
Walking through the small copses of trees was enchanting. A warm wind had blew the day before and made
thousands of glistening icicles on all the trees. After leaving the road and walking
mile I passed the trees and reached the
From the ridge I had expansive views of the Tatoosh Range and
what I could see of Mt. Rainier. I
headed down the ridge, enjoying the mountain views. The weather deteriorated a
bit and it started to snow lightly. It was beautiful with filtered sun mixing
with the snowflakes.
I walked generally southwest and found a place
for lunch. I stopped by some fox tracks, hoping to see some wildlife. The only
wildlife I saw was Kip and Frank snowshoeing down a draw towards Reflection Lakes.
I headed down towards Narada Falls,
meeting several people heading up the ridge. I passed the campsite where a
friend and I had been 3 weeks ago and there wasn’t a trace of our camp. The
snow wall that Kevin had built was completely obliterated.
By now several people had tramped out a path
down the ridge for me to follow. After walking down the ridge about 1.8 miles I
reached the junction to Reflection Lakes.
From here the descent steepens down to Paradise
Valley Road. Once I got down to Paradise
Valley Road I used my GPS to find the
Narada Trail. I had to wander around a bit, but I found the footbridge over Paradise River. I
walked carefully on the untrodden snow bridge and rejoined the trail. From
there I headed up to Barns Flat where I waited for the weather to clear but
those stubborn clouds kept hanging around.
I walked back to the trailhead at Paradise and
the sun came out. I went back down Paradise
Valley Road to get more photos and met
two snowshoers who offered to take my picture. It turned out to be Kip and
Frank, who I had seen in the morning and just before noon.
What a coincidence that I would have seen these
two men three different times in the same day. They snowshoed an out-and-back to
We traded contact information and I hope to go
hiking with them sometime.
Enjoy the photos!!
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|Snowshoe Destination: Paradise River Snowcamp, WA|
Thursday, November 03 @ 08:34:15 PDT by Drew (4845 reads)
61 miles southeast of Seattle in Mt. Rainier National Park.
From Portland, take I-5 North and take exit 68 to Hwy 12. Take Hwy 12 for about 30 miles to Morton. Turn left on Hwy 7 and drive about 17 miles to Hwy 706. Turn right on Hwy 706 and drive to the Nisqually entrance on the west side of Mt. Rainier National Park. Drive about three miles from the entrance and cross the bridge over Kautz Creek. Continue to Longmire and take a right turn just after the lodge. Drive about .1 mile and park on the right.
From Seattle, take I-5 South to Hwy 512 East and go towards Puyallup (Exit 127). Follow Hwy 512 East for about 2 miles. Turn south onto Hwy 7 towards Mt. Rainier. Follow Hwy 7 south to Elbe. At Elbe, turn left onto Hwy 706, travel through Ashford, and then to the Nisqually entrance of Mt. Rainier National Park. Drive about three miles from the entrance and cross the bridge over Kautz Creek. Continue to Longmire and take a right turn just after the lodge. Drive about .1 mile and park on the right in the parking lot.
Flush toilets are available at Longmire.
Pets aren’t allowed on National Park trails.
National Park Entrance fee of $15.00 or Annual Pass is required to enter the park.
Length and Elevation:
7.5 miles round trip. Elevation gain 555 feet and 30 feet loss. Total gain and loss is 1,170 feet. Elevation at the trailhead is 3,165 feet, the high point of the trail is 3,920 feet.
Wonderland Trail. Connections to Trail of Shadows, Rampart Ridge Trail.
, National Park Service Map
, Download Garmin .gpx file
Review: February 18, 2012
This is a great snowshoe trip to take when the road to Paradise is closed. However the log bridge over the Nisqually River by Cougar Rock Campground is washed out during the winter about 2 of every 5 years. Make sure the log bridge is in before going on this trip.
From the Longmire museum, walk across the road towards the gate across the road. Look for the Wonderland Trail which is about 30 feet to the right of the road. There is a junction of the Wonderland Trail in a few hundred feet where you will continue straight ahead. The trail goes gently uphill through the woods between the road and the Nisqually River. Sometimes the trail is close to the road, other time it is close to the river.
Since the road is closed then there will only be administrative vehicles and plows on the road. Lucky for us no plows came by when we were close to the road. I would hate to be plastered by wet snow from a plow.
After about 1.5 miles the trail passes a junction to Cougar Rock Campground. Continue straight, keeping on the Wonderland Trail. In about .2 mile the trail drops down to cross the Nisqually River.
Once across the Nisqually, look for where Paradise River joins the Nisqually. The trail is on the left side of Paradise River, about 50 feet from the river. Walk up a slope to the bench above the river and enjoy one of the few flat areas of the trail. This nice stroll lasts about .25 mile and then the trail starts to climb and in almost no time, you’re climbing along Paradise River, enjoying the views of the mountain slopes and the river below.
As the trail climbs the hill, it passes an old wood-stave water pipe. The pipe is covered with metal bands. This pipe supplied water to a powerplant that was once on the bank of the Nisqually. There used to be powerlines across the Nisqually, but have been removed.
In about .6 mile from the Nisqually and 600 feet higher, you reach Carter Falls. Though it is a bit hard to see, it sounds wonderful. From the falls, walk just a bit farther to Madcap Falls. This is more a steeply sloping riverbed than a waterfall but you have a great view of it. The steep trail is mostly past and the trail soon passes little side streams and wet areas where the standing water keeps the snow melted.
Watch out for places where the snow hides voids. There won't be many that a snowshoe will fall into but walkers could well find some nasy step-through places.
In about .5 mile farther, the trail crosses the first of three strong bridges. The third bridge crosses the largest branch of Paradise River. I can remember hiking through this area in the summer before these bridges were built. These bridges have to be really strong because of the weight of winter snows.
Soon after crossing the last bridge, the trail curves to the left around a large fir tree. Paradise River Camp is off to the right and back towards Paradise River a bit. If you want to find the camp, look for the bear pole which is left up all year.
After enjoying the winter scenery, retrace your steps, taking time to look at the interplay of the snow on the tree bark or the texture of lichen on the rocks. Be careful about going off trail becaus of voids under the snow. I found a hole along the rive over eight feet deep.
This is a wonderful snowshoe trip because of all the water along the trail. Avalanche danger is low along this section of the Wonderland Trail. There is just one bare slope to watch for avalanches.
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