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Too much snow to hike Paradise next week? Opinions, please!

Charlotte
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Too much snow to hike Paradise next week? Opinions, please!

My family is planning to visit Mount Rainier next Friday (7/11). We want to hike at Paradise, the Grove of the Patriarchs, and Sunrise. I see ibgardyloo's post from two days ago saying there are six feet of snow at Paradise, which has me wondering if hiking next week is realistic. (It will be 95 degrees here today, so I'm having a hard time getting my head around this!) Will we be able to hike the trails? Thanks in advance for any local knowledge.

Mukilteo, Washington
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1. Re: Too much snow to hike Paradise next week? Opinions, please!

The Grove of the Patriarchs will be snow-free. As for Paradise and Sunrise, summer snow can sometimes be easier to walk on than the bare, rocky ground underneath if in pretty flat areas, BUT you have to beware of thin snow-bridges, stay off of steep slopes and slather on the sunscreen (reflected sunlight off of snow can sunburn you in places you've never dreamed of getting burned).

Ask the park rangers about hiking in snowy areas.

Charlotte
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2. Re: Too much snow to hike Paradise next week? Opinions, please!

Thanks for the quick reply. Snow-bridges are new to me. Where would we encounter them? Thanks for the tip about the sunscreen. I did find the trail conditions listed on the NPS site, and it doesn't look good for the Paradise area. We'll be at Mt. St. Helens the previous day and staying in Longview, so I'm thinking to use the Nisqually entrance, to Paradise, to the Grove of the Patriarchs, and north to the Sunrise area before we exit through the White River entrance on our way to Tacoma. With just the one day at MRNP, and the current conditions, any suggestions as to how to spend our time?

Seattle, Wa
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3. Re: Too much snow to hike Paradise next week? Opinions, please!

Stop in at the visitor center and they'll give you options. There are a number of low and mid elevation trails in the park that are open, and you can still walk around a bit at Paradise. Yes postholing and falling through snow bridges are real dangers but staff can tell you where it's safe.

Mukilteo, Washington
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4. Re: Too much snow to hike Paradise next week? Opinions, please!

weneedavacation,

Snow bridges are places in snow fields where the snow gets thin forming a "bridge" over some hollow place underneath, usually over a stream caused by melting snow but can occur over rocks too. "Postholing" is when a leg breaks through a snow bridge leaving you stuck, one leg stuck in the snow which can be really irritating.

Charlotte
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5. Re: Too much snow to hike Paradise next week? Opinions, please!

Ah, so postholing would be the term for an experience I had on a trail in the Canadian Rockies many years ago. Irritating, yes, but it sure made a memory. Thanks for the info.

Seattle, Wa
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6. Re: Too much snow to hike Paradise next week? Opinions, please!

Irritating would be best case scenario. You could sprain your ankle and ruin your vacation, or at worst, fall ten feet down a hole, break your legs, and die of hypothermia if no one saw you fall.

Charlotte
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7. Re: Too much snow to hike Paradise next week? Opinions, please!

Christy1, thanks for trying to be sure we are safe. I am definitely taking the dangers of breaking through snow seriously, which was the reason for my original post. Still not sure if we'll be able to get in enough hiking to make the drive to MRNP worth it.

Seattle, Wa
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8. Re: Too much snow to hike Paradise next week? Opinions, please!

I think it's worth it. Get your views at Paradise or Sunrise, and hike in the lower elevations, like Silver Falls, or for something harder with views, do Shriner Peak until you hit snow.

Florida, USA
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9. Re: Too much snow to hike Paradise next week? Opinions, please!

We just hiked part of the skyline trail (to glacier vista) on 7/4. It was 100% snow but a beautiful hike. As mentioned by others, talk to the rangers at the visitor center first for advice. They were not at all hesitant about the skyline trail. There were other trails that they recommended against. It was well worth the hike if the weather is nice. The views of the mountains are awesome. The people watching was great fun too. People wearing flip flops and sandals?! Carrying babies? Some came prepared for the snow with sleds, skis, or just plastic bags to slide down the hills. We had hiking boots and poles. Your feet will get wet. Your backside may also, especially if you give into temptation and slide down the hill on it. It was worth it :-)

10. Re: Too much snow to hike Paradise next week? Opinions, please!

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