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What To Do at Longmire, Mt Rainier in Winter

"Mt Rainier...within an easy drive from Seattle..."

The drive to Mt Rainier can be pretty exhausting...2-3 hours along HWY 7 or 161 is a torture ( for me )...But with the right company it's a breeze

Fee-free weekend over this Veterans Day was the first time I decided to take my 4 year old to see "the Mountain". Weather forecast for Saturday looked very promising ( snow accumulation of 4-12 inches ).

We were planning to visit Paradise for some fun snow time and may be go for a short hike...
Between November 1 and May 1, all vehicles traveling in Mount Rainier National Park are required to carry tire chains. This requirement applies to all vehicle types in all weather and road conditions...Weather in the park is notoriously quick to change, and sudden storms can appear with little or no warning.Link
It was snowing hard ! Half way up I decided to turn around.

Before, the only time I visited Longmire was to pick up a climbing permit. When we pulled over and got out of the car we had no idea what to do.

During summer time this area is famous for great hiking with trails like Eagle Peak, Rampart Ridge Trail, and of course, the famous Narada Falls. But in winter there is not a whole lot to do.

The first ( and the most obvious ) choice is the Longmire Museum. It's small, but very cozy with lot's of pics and stuffed animals.

A ranger at the museum suggested that we should check out the Trail of the Shadows across the road from the museum. It's only 0.7 mile and leads to a homestead cabin built in 1888 by James Longmire who discovered mineral hot springs here, and later built a resort.

While crossing the street I saw the sign for the Wonderland Trail, and momentarily thought about taking my son for a "short" 93 mile hike...But then settled for a picture and a short hike up the trail...

I'm still planning to hike the entire length of the Wonderland Trail next summer, so at least now I know a good spot to begin...

But the highlight of the trip was...

...they instantly became best friends...

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