Thing to Do

Enjoy a Winter Wonderland at Paradise

Warmly dressed people gather on a snowy hill.
Families enjoy sledding at Paradise.

NPS Photo

Winter brings into focus a frosty view of the mountain. A winter wonderland, Paradise offers a plethera of winter recreational opportunities, for people of all ages. Snow gives the mountain a fresh look, while also offering a chilly invitation to crosscountry ski, snowshoe, snowboard, sled, or winter camp. An abundance of snow creates a winter recreation paradise, but also brings the challenges of icy, snowy roads, and unpredictable weather. The road to Paradise is plowed when possible to allow access. Spend hours at Paradise or add a stop in Longmire to make a full day of winter fun.

If winter recreation is your passion, look no further than Paradise. Everyone is welcome to explore this winter wonderland that has activities for all ages. As the colors of the mountain change from fall to winter, winter photography gets icy as the mountain is draped in snow. Once the snow is deep enough, crosscountry skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, and winter camping are adventures that can start from the edge of the Paradise parking lot. Whether you want to cruise down the mountain, take a slow stroll to capture winter photography, stay for a few hours or stay overnight, Paradise at Mount Rainier has something for you! 

The Paradise sledding and sliding area is perfect for a family of all ages. The sledding area is located north of the upper parking lot. While beautiful, the greater Paradise area contains avalanche zones, unstable snow bridges and deceptively steep drop offs where sledding activities are unsafe. The official Paradise Sledding Area is the safest and only location that sledding is permitted in Mount Rainier National Park. The sledding area at Paradise is generally open late December through mid-March, depending on snow. Sledding runs are only opened when there’s sufficient snow depth to prevent resource damage. Use only inner tubes, plastic sleds, saucers, or other soft sliding devices. No wooden toboggans, runner sleds with metal edges, or other hard devices are permitted. Dress warmly in layers with wicking fabric. NOTE: The sledding area has NOT yet opened for the season (updated 11/23/21).

When you need to warm up head to the Jackson Visitor Center (access may be limited due to COVID-19 safety precautions) to check out the exhibits, watch the park film, or talk to a ranger. At the visitor center get information about trail conditions and permits to make sure you have what you need for your winter adventure. 

Check Road Status or for the most updated road information check @MountRainierNPS on Twitter, no account necessary.

Avalanche Alert: Before starting out for the day, check the weather forecast and determine the avalanche hazard. Snow avalanches are common in winter and spring. The greatest danger to you is an avalanche that you trigger by skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, or climbing in avalanche terrain. Consider snowpack, weather, and topography in selecting your route. Ask yourself, “Will this slope slide?” and if it does, “Where will I or my partner go?” Even small avalanches can be deadly.

Pack accordingly: Carry an avalanche transceiver, probe, shovel and these 10 essentials.

Roads can be snowy and icy, and all vehicles are required to carry tire chains. Be prepared to use tire chains. In winter, plan extra driving time to reach Paradise and check road status when planning a visit. The gate to Paradise at Longmire closes nightly. Check Twitter for current open/close status of the gate before heading out. Spend hours at Paradise, stay overnight by winter camping, or add a stop in Longmire to make a full day of winter fun.
Snowplay is typically available from late December to late March. Snowplay is an exciting family activity. Layer up in warm clothes and bring some hot chocolate, sleds or tubes for a sledding adventure with a mountain backdrop. If you enjoy snow and family fun, then this activity is for you. Slide down thick powder as you take in the sights of Paradise, then run up the hill and do it again! On weekends, warm up inside the Jackson Visitor Center as you check out the displays or chat with a ranger. 

When snowplay is not available, Paradise is an excellent destination for winter recreation, especially snowshoeing. 
Paradise has activities for visitors of all ages.
Dogs are not allowed on the trails or on snow at Mount Rainier. However, they can walk on plowed roads and parking lots. Learn more about pets at Mount Rainier
Park entrance fee required. No fees for any activities. Permits are required for winter camping.
Paradise is located on the south side of the mountain, accessed via the Nisqually Entrance.
No reservations are required to visit the area.
Paradise is open year-round when road conditions allow. Be prepared for snow and ice on trails, as well as the road. Wear warm clothing and shoes, and bring the winter 10 essentials if planning to recreate. 
The gate to Paradise at Longmire closes nightly, typically opening at 9:00 am if conditions allow. Check Twitter for currently open/close status of the gate before heading out. Facilities may have limited hours in winter or access may be limited due to COVID-19 safety precautions. Check hours of operation when planning a visit.
Accessibility Information
In winter, paths can be snow covered and often icy. Paradise is open as winter road conditions allow. The Jackson Visitor Center is accessible to wheelchairs. The exhibits, theater, dining area, restrooms and general services are accessible.

The Jackson Visitor Center exhibits can be explored with an audio description tour. Listening devices for the tour can be checked out at the front desk.

The park film and exhibit videos in the vistor center are captioned. Assistive listening devices for the film can be checked out at the front desk. See accessibility page for more details. 

Mount Rainier National Park

Last updated: November 23, 2021