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Glacier Vista Trail – Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

View of Nisqually Glacier at Glacier Vista near Paradise in Mount Rainier National Park.

View of Nisqually Glacier at Glacier Vista near Paradise in Mount Rainier National Park.

If you don’t have the time or energy to make it higher on the popular Skyline Trail, a moderate trip up to Glacier Vista is a great way to spend a day in Mount Rainier National Park.

The trail begins at the hub of activity – the Paradise Jackson Visitors Center at around 5,400 feet of elevation on the south slope of Mount Rainier. You can take a variety of trails to reach the vista, which is named for the spectacular view of the Nisqually Glacier that snakes down the slope. I started on the Skyline Trail, then veered onto the Waterfall Trail, which will connect with the Deadhorse Creek Trail. That eventually merges back with Skyline and just a bit past that, the spur Glacier Trail gives you the best view of the ice to the west. At this point, you’ll have gained almost 1,000 feet in elevation over about 1.5 miles.

The quickest and easiest way back to the Visitors Center is to jump back on the Skyline Trail and take it straight south back to the end. And if you’re feeling adventurous, keep heading up the mountain on the Skyline for even better views.

  • View on the Skyline Trail on the way to Glacier Vista near Paradise in Mount Rainier National Park.
  • View of Nisqually Glacier at Glacier Vista near Paradise in Mount Rainier National Park.
  • View of the Tatoosh Range on the way to Glacier Vista near Paradise in Mount Rainier National Park.

Directions: Take State Highway 706 through Ashford to the Nisqually Entrance of Mount Rainier National Park (entrance fees apply). Continue to Longmire and then on to Paradise – seasonal restrictions apply during the winter (check here for road status).

Elevation profile:

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