Winter Camping on Reflection Lake / Louise Lake / Snow Lake
Snowshoes, micro-treads, or backcountry skis

Basic Winter snow camping Equipment

Snowshoes / trekking poles / Winter boots and socks, gaiters / group snow shovel / pulk sled optional

Winter Backpack (60L-75L) to hold bulky winter gear / waterproof sack or plastic bag / insulation bag

3 or 4 Season tent (built to withstand wind and snow)/ tent footprint / snow anchors or snow baggies

2 Sleep pads needed: closed cell foam pad & inflatable pad / Winter sleeping bag rated ~ 20* to -15*

Foam sit pad or camp chair to insulate you from the snow / 1 liter water bottle with insulated cover

Headlamp / sunglasses or goggles / lip & skin spf 15 / stove w/ JetBoil gas or canister fuel cook system

Map & compass / GPS / First Aid kit / Water bag snowmelt system / ice axe and rope usually optional

Whistle / warm Hat & Gloves / Matches or Lighter & firestarter / clif Bars / leave-no-trace Blue Bag

Appropriate Winter Clothing: Parka or Ski Coat / snow pants / SmartWool base layer / wool or fleece

Emergency shelter (or bivy bag) if day snowshoeing without a tent / Smartphone GPS & battery pack

*Bear can or a Food bag with odor-free liner and strong cording to hang safely high on a tree branch

* In avalanche country, you'll need a beacon and wands and backcountry experience if in deep snow

* Shake & Heat hand warmers are excellent for generating heat and maintaining sustaining warmth

* Pull-behind Sled pulks work well for x-country skis, or heavy gear and water jugs over flat terrain

Mount Rainier has multitudes of beautiful winter camping opportunities. One of our favorites is the classic snowshoe overnight into Reflection Lake with spectacular views of both Mt. Rainier and the Tatoosh range.

Starting at Narada Falls parking lot at approx. 5000 ft., you'll wind up and over the forest to Reflection Lake.

Narada lot is plowed in winter but fills quickly on weekends. Trail starts behind the restroom building and trails up the ridge until coming to the snow-covered Stevens Canyon road, continuing across and through the forest (or following the road if no avalanche danger is present). You'll come to Reflection Lake in several miles.

These trails are well loved, and since it's also a popular day trip, they're easy to follow even in fresh snow.

You'll need a backcountry permit obtained free from the Longmire Ranger station at the park's southwest entrance. While you're there, rent a bear can to keep your food safe from the sly foxes and other wildlife.

Weather on Mt. Rainier changes rapidly due to the airstream off of the Pacific, Alaska, and Puget Sound.

Prepare for sudden changes. Mountain weather forecast link for Rainier at 5000' -

Mt. Rainier snow camping on Reflection / Louise Lake
AcmeMapper Topo trail map

Trail Details

The trail begins at Narada Falls (red F) across the stone bridge behind the restroom complex. Follow the trail up the ridge through the woods, crossing over snow covered Stevens Canyon road (closed in winter) picking up the trail on the other side, winding through the woods and coming to the west side of Reflection Lake (red B). You'll find exceptional camping or lunch views on the bench between the 2 Lakes (red D). Continue down Stevens Canyon road to explore more backcountry, or head up into the Tatoosh on the trail south of Reflection Lake.

Note: More good trails and snow camping spots can be found near Paradise Lodge to the north (20 minutes beyond Narada Falls) with beautiful snowshoeing trails & a daylodge.

Weather on Mt. Rainier changes rapidly and shouldn't be underestimated. Prepare wisely.

Trail Details:

Length: Narada Falls to Reflection Lake, 5 miles roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 1150'

Highest point: 5400'


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