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Nisqually Vista

Intermediate
 4.3 (15) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A great value loop: stunning Nisqually Glacier views & abundant wildflowers for very little effort.


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Map Key

1.2

Miles

1.9

KM

Loop

5,395' 1,644 m

High

5,233' 1,595 m

Low

175' 53 m

Up

175' 53 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (3°)

12%

Max Grade (7°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly This non-taxing excursion is a chance to instill in the tykes some educational info on glaciers and volcanoes. Fun to look for marmots too!

Not wheelchair friendly due to stairs.

Overview

This paved path is gentle, lollipop-shaped route to great glacier views. Often overlooked by the masses who descend on the Visitor Center area trails, you may achieve some much needed solitude on this excursion.

Description

From the far western end of the lower (non-visitor center) parking lot, look for the stone steps that lead to a paved 3-way junction. Take the left fork for the Nisqually Vista Trail and soon cross Dead Horse Creek. Hike along the "stem" of this lollipop shaped route through lush meadows overflowing with a variety of wildflowers. This is Rainier National Park at it's best.

Descend briefly to the where the trail branches for the "head" of the lollipop. Going right (in the counterclockwise direction) saves the best viewpoint for last. However, if it is already snowy at this intersection and you're trying to avoid icy spots, consider taking the left (clockwise) fork and covering this less snowy section of trail as an out-and-back to the main viewpoint. Either way you choose, hike through woods alternating with pretty fields and stop at the viewpoints along the way. An interpretive sign explains the Nisqually Glacier and the amazing forces that created this huge U-shaped valley. Check out the snout of the glacier and see if you can spot any waterfalls or ice chunks coming off the steep face. Like most glaciers in the world, Nisqually has receded greatly, leaving rocky mounds behind. Finish your outing by completing the loop and retracing your steps back along the "stem" to the parking lot.

This trail is a popular snowshoe trekking destination in the winter months.

Note: Trail is being repaired and restored during the summer and fall of 2015. Expect work during weekdays, with temporary closures possible. (posted 7/1/15)

Flora & Fauna

Deer, marmot. Lupine, Indian paintbrush.

Contacts

Shared By:

Megan W

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 15 votes

#5

in Paradise

#1326

Overall
  4.3 from 15 votes
5 Star
47%
4 Star
40%
3 Star
13%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#5

in Paradise

#87

in Washington

#1,326

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1,517 Since Jul 21, 2015
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Photos

Paradise @ Mount Rainier National Park
Aug 25, 2015 near Eatonville, WA
Nisqually Vista Trail
Jul 14, 2015 near Eatonville, WA
Mt. Rainer - clearly the focus of this park...
Feb 26, 2015 near Eatonville, WA
Mount Rainer wildflowers
Jul 25, 2015 near Eatonville, WA
Nisqually Vista Trail
Jul 25, 2015 near Eatonville, WA
Marmot sighting!
Jul 25, 2015 near Eatonville, WA

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Check-Ins

Aug 9, 2020
Peter Watson
Jul 3, 2020
Katie Jajtner
mostly snow covered, didn't find final vista, but sledding on a hill 1.2mi
Sep 5, 2019
su g
Aug 30, 2019
Joyce Parizo
1.2mi — 1h 00m
Aug 5, 2019
Anita Peebles
Jul 25, 2019
Joaquin Ramirez
Jul 14, 2019
Trent Smith
Jun 29, 2019
Phil Kwon