Narada Falls to Reflection Lake Snowshoe hike
HIKE DESCRIPTION: Reflection Lake doesn’t live up to its name in the winter when it’s frozen over, but it’s well worth the trip.
With Stevens Canyon Road closed in the winter, getting to the lake requires more effort than in the summer, when it’s a popular roadside attraction. Snowshoes or skis, and an understanding of the terrain, are a must for this trip, but it’s a short adventure the entire family will enjoy.
Park in the lot above Narada Falls, then cross the bridge past the comfort station to begin your trek. It’s somewhat easy to take a wrong turn here should the route markers be covered with snow as is sometimes the case after big storms. The route starts between the comfort station and the maintenance garage, not at the end of the plowed path.
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Some maps indicate the trail climbs up the steep hill to the road visible above. However, this route is not advised in the winter because it is susceptible to avalanche. The proper route winds through the woods, along the Paradise River. Once you reach Stevens Canyon Road, you can follow it to Reflection Lake, but, again, this is not advised because it is avalanche terrain. Instead travel to the lake via Mazama Ridge.
After enjoying the view of the lake and Mount Rainier, you can retrace your steps to the Narada Falls lot. Or easily extend this trip to visit Paradise, Louise Lake and other scenic spots.
DIRECTIONS: From the Nisqually entrance at Mount Rainier National Park, follow the road to Paradise to the Narada Falls parking lot.
DIFFICULTY RATING: 3 (5 is most difficult, 1 is easiest).
MILES ROUND TRIP: 4.
ELEVATION GAIN: 500 feet.
BEST TIME OF THE YEAR: December-April.
MAP: Green Trails 270S: Paradise. Maps and current information are also available at Longmire.
PASS: Entry into Mount Rainier National Park is $20 per vehicle for seven days.
ALSO: Gray jays are likely to show an interest in you and your food when you reach the lake. They may dive-bomb your snack sack or even land on your head or shoulder. Park officials remind visitors not to feed the wildlife. Pets are not allowed in the park. Even on nice days, it can be very cold on this route. Weather can change quickly and dramatically, so be prepared. Snowshoes and other gear are available for rent in Ashford at Whittaker Mountaineering and at the Longmire General Store. An earthcache is located below the Narada Falls parking lot, but may not be safe to access for inexperienced hikers in the winter. For more information, visit geocaching.com.