Ski Tour to The Castle & Pinnacle Peak

Rate this Adventure 4 miles 1200 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by James Brady

Explore a relatively easily accessible area of Mount Rainier National Park by ski or snowshoe and avoid the crowds just up the road in Paradise.

Enter Mount Rainier National Park via the Nisqually Entrance outside of Ashford. Drive past Longmire and continue heading up towards Paradise. Parking for this trip can be found at Narada Falls.

From the Narada Falls parking lot you will head up to the closed for the winter portion of Stevens Canyon Road on the hill above the parking area. You will likely see some tracks going up the steep face in front of you which you can choose to follow if avalanche danger is not an issue. If you are worried about snow conditions or would simply like an easier route up to the road you can follow a longer route to the lookers left of the steep face which will get you to the same spot.

The great thing about this route is the lack of elevation gain along Stevens Canyon Road. Visitors can skin or snowshoe along a typically well established skin or snowshoe track that runs along the road which is closed in the winter. As you continue along the road you will be rewarded with great views of the Tatoosh Range to the south, including Lane Peak, Plummer Peak, Pinnacle Peak, and The Castle. Over the course of two miles you will also come across Reflection Lake and Louise Lake. You may even be able to travel across the lakes, however be sure to ensure they are properly frozen before traveling on to them.

Visitors can choose to begin ascending towards several of the summits in the Tatoosh Range at several points along the road near Reflection Lake and Louise Lake. A good route to take leaves from the lower angle terrain just south of Reflection Lake and allows you to ascend to either of the saddles near Pinnacle Peak and The Castle. Ascending all the way to either of these saddles will require you to travel approximately 2.0 miles and climb 1,100 vertical feet from the road. However, visitors do not need to ascend all the way to be rewarded with some of the best views in the park. Simply ascending a few hundred vertical feet will reward you with sweeping winter views of the Tatoosh Range, the lakes below you, and the looming mass of Mount Rainier to the north.  

As always, please use extreme caution when traveling in the backcountry during winter. You should always carry the proper equipment (shovel, probe, beacon), be aware of the avalanche danger and current conditions, and avoid any avalanche terrain.

Read More


Easy Parking


Have you done this adventure? Be the first to leave a review!

Stay Nearby

Loop C

Cougar Rock Group Campground

Overview Cougar Rock Group Campground, on the southwest side of Mt. Rainier National Park, is conveniently located to the Paradise area. Paradise is the most popular destination in the park, with a...

Loop C

Cougar Rock Campground

Overview Cougar Rock Campground, on the southwest side of Mt. Rainier National Park, is convenient to the Paradise area. Paradise is the most popular destination in the park, with a lodge and visit...

Ashford, Washington

Mt. Rainier Guest Services

This 146 room Lodge and Inn offer a number of full-service restaurants and store. 

From $109/night

Packwood, Washington

Ohanapecosh Campground

Overview Ohanapecosh Campground, on the southeast side of Mount Rainier National Park, is surrounded by old growth forest and crossed by an exceptionally beautiful snow-fed river. Close to Ohanapec...

Nearby Adventures

  • Summit Castle Peak, Mount Rainier NP

    Start this route at the Narada Falls Parking lot. This route starts by following Stevens Canyon Road until you arrive at Reflection Lakes after 1.5 miles. About halfway along the lakeshore a path breaks off to the right into the forest. This is a ...

    6 miles 1400 ft gain

  • Snowshoe to Reflection Lakes

    In 1899, Mount Rainier National Park became the 5th National Park to be established, and for good reason! With over 350 square miles of protected wilderness there's nothing you can't do within the boundary of the park, and in this case we're talk...

    3.5 miles 580 ft gain

  • Hike from Narada Falls to Reflection Lakes

    Free copies of the Paradise Area Trails can be picked up at the Longmire Wilderness Information Center or Paradise Visitor Center. There are also a number of signs along the trails to decide the route of your adventure.From the Narada Falls parkin...

  • Snowshoeing the Nisqually Vista Loop at Mt. Rainier NP

    Mt. Rainier rises over 14,410 feet and the views you get from the Paradise area on the South side of the mountain are unparalleled. Paradise is one of the few places in Mt. Rainier National Park that is open to visitors during the winter months fo...

    1.4 miles