Hiked up to Panorama Point from Paradise in Rainier National Park on Sunday. Weather held and it was only partly cloudy near the Point. An excellent trip, though it’s really hard to follow the trails that you want to follow up there during the winter. Seems like the best way is to make your own trail. We ended up starting on Golden Gate Trail before cutting across to Skyline Trail and heading up to and past the Point. Saw lots of people hiking back from Camp Muir and the Summit. Hope to do the same someday. Best part: glissading down from Panorama Point. Stay tuned next week for my review and this week as I catch up on past-due trail reviews :).
Seattle Times writer Walker Orenstein just posted an article on how Washington’s minimal snow season means an early hiking season for some. According to Orenstein, the national parks and other hiking areas in the state are receiving more traffic due to the record-low snow. The article offers some great suggestions for those seeking snow-less hikes in the state, including in the Columbia River Gorge area, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie NF, and Okanogan-Wenatchee NF. While I prefer hiking without a lot of snow, sometimes a lot of snowpack makes for an exciting hike. I recommend a trip up to Paradise in Rainier National Park for some easy snow hiking: the road to Paradise above Longmire just opened a few days ago. I was up at Paradise a few months ago and hiked up to Panorama Point. At the time, I didn’t need snowshoes because the snow was packed so well. If you go on a nice weekend day, expect some crowds at Paradise. Crowds and all, though, it’s amazing to hike up this close to Rainier on a clear day and see this magnificent and massive mountain up close and personal.