Families of all ages interested in sledding and snowshoeing in Washington’s Mt Rainier National Park can head to the Snowplay Area at Paradise. Here you and the kids can zip, slide and play in the snow. The Snowplay Area is generally open during weekends and school breaks from mid-December through the end of March and is located on the hill above the Jackson Visitor Center.
On a blustery winter afternoon, my family and I lined up at the top of the runs, watching folks of all ages zooming down the slope in plastic sleds, saucers and inner tubes. (No hard toboggans or runner sleds are allowed for safety reasons.) When it was our turn, my two-year-old son laughed with delight as we sped down several hundred feet in our bright yellow sled.
Prefer snowshoeing? Then strap on your snowshoes and hit the trails or sign up for a two-hour, ranger-guided snowshoe hike at the Jackson Visitors Center. Moderately strenuous, this hike is great for beginners and families with older kids. Snowshoes are available to borrow with a $4 per-pair donation. While only adults and kids eight years and older can sign up, the rangers will allow younger children in front or back carriers to come. Dress them very warmly, rangers advise, for little ones can get very cold because they aren’t moving.
After your sled runs or snowshoeing, stow your gear and head over to the visitor center cafeteria for a hearty lunch and warm beverages.
For more information on visiting Paradise and Longmire, check out Visit Rainier.