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