Let's snowshoe the Naches Peak Trail before Chinook Pass and Cayuse Pass close for the winter. There is currently 12 inches of snow at Chinook Pass. A major weather system is forecast for Friday, so the snow totals could change by as much as two feet. Afterwards, we may stop somewhere for hot chocolate or dinner. I will need up to 3 people willing to drive.
Note: A winter storm warning is in effect from 4:00 AM Friday to 6:00 AM Saturday. Snow accumulations at Mount Rainier will be around two feet, with the snow level falling to 1,500 feet by Saturday. This may be enough to close Cayuse and Chinook Pass or make driving there challenging. It may also delay the scheduled 9:00 AM opening of the gate between Longmire and Paradise. If both are closed, there should be sufficient snow at Longmire to start the snowshoe there. I will make a final decision as to destination at the Park & Ride Saturday after checking the pass reports and talking to those who are willing to drive.
This is a weather permitting event. Rain (50% or greater chance) will cancel. Rain showers, snow showers, or snow will not. The current forecast is for an 80% chance of snow showers.
Excerpt from “Day Hiking Mount Rainier,” by Dan A. Nelson
The loop trail leaving Tipsoo Lake meanders through meadows that offer some of the best views of Mount Rainier found anywhere. The route is relatively flat--it rolls up and down but has no ridiculously steep sections and only a few real climbs. The route takes advantage of the Pacific Crest Trail, as well as some of the heavily used tourist trails around Tipsoo Lake. Don't expect quiet solitude here, though the beauty of the terrain you pass through offsets any worries about crowds.
• Trailhead ETA: 9:30 am. • Round Trip: 3.4 miles.
• Starting Elevation: 5,320 feet. • Ascent Elevation: 560 feet.
• High Point: 5,880 feet. • Difficulty: Easy/moderate.
• Pace: Slow/moderate. • Snowshoe Time: 3.5 hours.
• Special Features: Lakes, mountain views.
• Maps: Green Trails Mount Rainier East, No. 270 and Bumping Lake, No. 271.
• GPS: N[masked], W121 31.055.
What to Bring: Day pack with the 10 Essentials, appropriate snowshoe attire (no blue jeans, cotton clothing, or sneakers), snowshoes, gaiters, gloves, plenty of water, lunch/energy snacks, sturdy/comfortable shoes + a bag for wet/soiled pairs, trekking poles, sun preventatives, and your camera! Dress according to the forecast (layers!).
Contact: Longmire Wilderness Information Center, (360) 569-6575.
Permits/Regulations: $15 per vehicle for a 7-day entrance permit or $30 per vehicle for an annual pass. Group size limited to twelve. Fires prohibited. Dogs prohibited.
All vehicles are required to carry tire chains when traveling in the park during the winter season (Nov 1 - May 1). This requirement applies to all vehicles (including four-wheel drive), regardless of tire type or weather conditions.
Getting there: From Enumclaw, drive east about 47 miles on State Route 410 to the junction with SR 123. Stay left to continue east on SR 410 another 3 miles. Park in the Tipsoo Lake parking lot on your left just past the footbridge marking Chinook Pass.
Useful Links: 7-Day Weather Forecast
• Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center
• Naches Peak
• Hiking Guide Description and Trip Reports
Robert's Cell: (253) 677-6992.
Disclaimer: Trailside is not a professional guide service. Our leaders function, as facilitators only, to enhance your outdoor experience. Reports of trail and weather conditions are based on best available information, are subject to change, and are no guarantee of fitness for any particular purpose or appropriate for a certain fitness level. You may join us on this hike at your own risk. Keep in mind that hiking involves risks and weather changes quickly in the mountains. You are responsible for your own safety and the more prepared you are, the better the chance you will remain safe. Signing up for any Trailside organized event indicates that you have read, understand, and agree to the terms of this disclaimer and hold harmless all Trailside Organizers and Leaders in the event of injury or loss.