1. Go Snowshoeing
Strap on snowshoes (rentals available) for a ranger-guided tour at Paradise on weekends in December in Mount Rainier National Park or a packaged tour on Saturdays at Crystal Mountain.
2. Bring the kids to Paradise’s Snow Play Area
Wax those runners on a Flexible Flyer and race down the slopes at the snowplay area at Paradise, opening in December, given sufficient snowfall. For details, go to Mt. Rainier National Park.
|No.3: Ride Crystal’s Gondola|
3. Ride Crystal’s Gondola
Skiers, riders and foot passengers can all take a ride to the Crystal Mountain summit for captivating mountain views, a delectable meal at the Summit House restaurant or to drop back into the vast terrain that plunges below the ridgeline. During the ski season, The Summit House serves up First Tracks Breakfast Saturdays and Sundays, lunch daily along with Aprés and dinner on Fridays and Saturdays. This gondola is the first to be installed at a ski resort in Washington state. For more information, visit Ski Crystal’s Mt. Rainier Gondola.
|No. 4: On the Rainier Vista Trail
Above Copper Creek Ski Hut
Mt. Tahoma Trails North District
4. Go Hut to Hut Nordic Skiing and More!
The Mt. Tahoma Trails are used in a wide variety of ways. Recreation comes in all forms, from cross country skiing and snowshoeing to snowboarding and skate skiing, as well as an occasional sled dog team. This is a great alternative to the Paradise area, without worrying about winter road closures or timing of the gate opening at Longmire. Glide along new trails in Mt. Tahoma Trails Association‘s expanded North District, off Forest Service Road 92, at Hwy. 706 one mile west of the Ashford, or the South District can be accessed by driving through Ashford 2 miles east on Hwy 706. Turn right (south) on the Kernahan Road. south for 1.4 miles going straight at the turn for Paradise Estates and Skate Creek to Rd. 85. Follow the signs to the Sno-Park. Parking requires a Sno-Park permit.
5. Take in the view while dining on fondue
Ride chairlifts to the newly-remodeled Summit House at Crystal Mountain and dip bread in a cheesy fondue while enjoying the amazing view: 6 famous volcanic peaks. Visit the Summit House for details.
|No. 6: Elk herds feeding at the Oak Creek Wildlife Area|
6. Watch elk herds and big horn sheep gather for winter feeding
On Mt. Rainier’s east side, watch herds of elk gather for daily winter feedings at the Oak Creek Wildlife Area off of Hwy. 12 in Naches (18 miles NW of Yakima). Elk are sometimes fed daily at 1:30 pm and the bighorn sheep are fed mid-morning at the Cleman Mountain Feeding site. More information can be found here: Oak Creek Wildlife Area. Please call first before driving out to ensure feedings are taking place.
7. Watch the winter weather from your lodging at Rainier
Cozy in from a snowstorm or view a spectacularly starry night from your window at the historic National Park Inn at Longmire. The Inn in Mount Rainier National Park remains open year-round. For reservations, please access Guest Services or call 360.569.2275.
8. Nordic Ski at White Pass
Cross country ski on well-established trails through wooded areas and around a lake at the Nordic Center at White Pass. Visit Ski White Pass for details. Afterwards, warm up with coffee or hot chocolate in a friendly yurt. Lessons and ski rentals are available.
|No. 9: Relax at Mt. Rainier area spa|
9. Indulge yourself at a spa
Indulge in a solo pre- or post-holiday retreat at one of three spas in Ashford. They include Alexander’s Day Spa at Alexander’s Country Inn, StormKing Cabins and Day Spa and Wellspring Spa and Retreat Center (Phone: 360-569-2514).
10. Take a tram ride through a wildlife park
Bundle up for a tram ride and see native Northwest animals in their lush winter coats at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, Eatonville. Afterwards, warm up by a roaring fire or at one of the park’s heated discovery centers. For special events, location and more details, please access Northwest Trek.