On January 14th I went snowshoeing with meetup to Reflection Lakes in Mt. Rainier National Park. What a difference from last year! Last year it was snowing, windy and freezing. We couldn’t see beautiful Mt. Rainier at all. Today she was out in all of her glory.
Here are the stats per WTA (I believe this may include extra distance to Louise Lakes)
7 miles round trip (I think we maybe did about 5?), 560 feet elevation gain, high point 5100 feet.
Pass required: National Park Pass (or America the Beautiful Pass
See www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/reflection-and-louise-lakes-snowshoe for more information and directions.
There was some new snow over the week, but then it turned warmer and it rained on top of it so it was very wet, sloppy snow on the day we went, but it was still a great day out. There are two routes to get to reflection lakes. One route up to the top of Stevens Canyon Road is prone to avalanches. We went the other route over Mazama Ridge.
From the warming hut, the trail is on the left hand side of the road, going up through the forest, following the creek to the road. When you reach the road, take a left following signs to Mazama Ridge. The trail rolls up and down a bit as you go over the ridge to the lake. Don’t forget to look up at the beautiful view of Mount Rainier and other neighboring peaks. See WTA for continuing to Louise Lakes and alternate routes.
It is also worth taking the short trip down to look at Narada Falls when you get back to the parking lot. Today there was no ice forming on the falls as the weather has warmed up, however I have seen pictures of it when it is a cool wall of ice.