12 Ways to Experience Winter at Mt. Rainier | Visit Rainier

12 Ways to Experience Winter at Mt. Rainier


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.

3. Ride Crystal’s Northway Lift
Be among the first to access 1,000 acres of backcountry terrain from Crystal Mountain’s Northway lift. For more information, please access Ski Crystal’s Northway Lift.

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.

5. Take an immersive holiday-themed Train Ride
Climb aboard the Polar Express Train Ride at the Mt. Rainier Railroad. Let the magic of the popular THE POLAR EXPRESS™ come to life in Elbe, Washington. For tickets, schedules, and more information, please access the Mt. Rainier Railroad.

6. Take in the view while dining on fondue
Ride the scenic Mt. Rainier Gondola to the Summit House at Crystal Mountain and dip bread in a cheesy fondue while enjoying the amazing view: 6 famous volcanic peaks. 

7. Watch elk herds & bighorn 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 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.

8. 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.

9. 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. Afterward, warm up with coffee or hot chocolate in a friendly yurt. Lessons and ski rentals are available.

10. Indulge yourself at a spa
Indulge in a solo pre- or post-holiday retreat at one of three spas in Ashford. They include StormKing Cabins and Day Spa, and Wellspring Spa and Retreat Center.

11. 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. Afterward, 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.

12. U-Cut Christmas Trees

Share a traditional family outing to find, cut, and carry home the perfect Christmas tree. The Gifford Pinchot National Forest sells $5 u-cut permits.