TOPIC: Experiencing Mt.Rainier from Snow Bowl Hut
PROJECT: Reconnaissance by Laura Hughes
Winter adventure called us to the mountains, and we had it all planned out: snowshoe up to Snow Bowl Hut, a cabin at the foot of Mt. Rainier National Park. Weeks out, we were feeling almost ready. We had the crew, we had the gear-- but what we didn’t know was how much snow we would encounter. Two days before, our hopes were confirmed: snow was falling, and lots of it. It was sure to be gaiter weather, and we could hardly wait.
Our trek up to Snow Bowl Hut was both hearty and enjoyable. With 4 miles of trail and an elevation gain of under 2,000 feet, it's a reasonable backpack or snowshoe in for most adventurers, and our group was no exception. On the trek out, we were extremely impressed with how well-maintained the trail was, and it’s all thanks to the team at the Mt. Tahoma Trails Association. These folks work in partnership with Mt. Rainier National Park to keep the trail system groomed, provide safety and guidance to hikers, and maintain the three cabins (and one yurt) located in the region.
What sets Snow Bowl Hut and its neighboring huts on the trail system apart from other experiences is how both incredibly accessible and adventurous it is. After spending the morning admiring the snow-flocked trees and climbing steadily to our accommodations, we played the afternoon away by making snow sculptures and drinking canned wine, with only a blanket of winter clouds separating us from the majesty of Mt. Rainier. The Snow Bowl Hut itself takes on a ski lodge vibe, boasting couches, hardwood floors, and a fireplace, which made for a cozy night after a full day of chilly activities. It was also a prime opportunity to take advantage of simpler living. We forgot about our cell phones, melted snow over the fire to make water, and slept in one large room with pull out mats like an adult summer camp-- the perfect mix of leisure and adventure!
As we descended down the mountain in the morning, I told myself that I would certainly be back to Snow Bowl Hut-- it’s too much of a gem not to see in the other seasons.
Learn more about the hut-to-hut trail system that makes Mt. Rainier NP even more accessible, click here.