Hiking in Paradise – Nisqually Vista and Myrtle Falls

We covered a lot of ground in Paradise last week for the short amount of time we spent at Mt. Rainier; just one night at Paradise Inn gave us access to many wonderful hikes without the crowds.

We managed to take 3 of them – two short ones the first day and a longer one the next (Snow Lake which I’ll save for later.)

First up was Nisqually Vista.

Nisqually Vista

This easy paved trail provides great views of the mountain and meadows filled with wildflowers.

(Pictures in the galleries can be enlarged by clicking on them.)

It also leads to views of Nisqually Glacier.

Mt. Rainier has 26 glaciers, more than any other in the conterminous United States.

Nisqually is the most visited and longest studied glacier on the mountain due to its proximity to Paradise.

I found this simple definition of a glacier on the USGS website –

Glaciers form where more snow falls than melts over a period of years, compacts into ice, and becomes thick enough to begin to move. A snow patch becomes a glacier when the deepest layers begin to deform due to the weight of the overlying snow and ice.”

Notice how massive the glacier must have been in ages past by the size of the valley surrounding it. The bottom of the glacier is hard to discern (at least to me) due to the extensive debris cover. Still, you can see the snowmelt flowing out of it which is the source of the Nisqually River.

Afterwards, we checked in to Paradise Inn and took our second hike of the day after dinner, just before sunset.

Myrtle Falls

The trail to Myrtle Falls – easily one of the best in the park – starts behind the inn and provides fabulous views of the mountain and meadows, along with a gorgeous waterfall

Staying overnight allowed us to see sunset cast its beautiful glow on the mountain.

“The hills are alive with the sound of music!” I thought.

And not a bad backdrop for a wedding, either.

~ Susanne

18 Comments on “Hiking in Paradise – Nisqually Vista and Myrtle Falls

  1. Oh my gosh, Susanne! that place is incredibly beautiful! What a privilege to be there. Gorgeous photos! ❤️

    • Thanks so much! I’ve lived here my whole life but will never tire of the mountain. Since we retired our visits have inreased to multiple times a year and every time is new and special. 😊😊

  2. Great shots of an amazing trip, Susanne. I am pleased to see the paths so well laid out. Almost anyone could manage to do those hikes.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Thanks, Pete! Yes, those two trails are very accessible for anyone and have terrific views! The hike we took the next day to a turquoise mountain lake was on a more traditional, at times steep and dusty trail. I’ll share that one next. 🙂

  3. These are the two walks we did at Paradise, Nisqually Vista in the morning and Myrtle Falls after lunch 🙂 I loved them both but Nisqually was by far my favourite. We’d arrived quite early (we stayed just outside the park the night before) and there were only a few other people on the trail. It didn’t look quite like it does in your beautiful shots as much of it was covered in snow, and it wasn’t quite such easy walking either but so worth it! I have photos here if you’re curious: https://www.toonsarah-travels.blog/gallery-a-snowy-walk-in-paradise-mount-rainier/

    I’m looking forward to seeing your longer walk as that is going to take me somewhere I didn’t see on my visit, but it’s great too to be reminded of the places I did 🙂

    • Wow, you really did have a snowy hike! Great pictures! I probably wouldn’t have done it with that much snow, not having the proper footwear. Interesting that you liked Nisqually Vista better than Myrtle Falls. Maybe because of the crowds? I liked Myrtle Falls better for the view of the mountain and meadows. Last year we kept going on from there to the Skyline/Goldengate trails which was amazing! Even at midday you lose the crowds as it’s steeper and more difficult. Here’s that one.

      A Wow Hike on the Flanks of Mt. Rainier

      • Yes, probably the crowds made a difference. On the Nisqually Vista trail we felt like we were in a special place whereas on the Myrtle Falls one it was very busy, almost as much as a city street! I loved the flowers, the falls and a very young fawn who posed beautifully for all the tourists, but it wasn’t as special as Nisqually!

      • I just checked your link and realised I’d seen it at the time you first posted it, but those stunning views were well worth a second look!

  4. Great photos, Susanne. The valley photo is sobering, seeing how far the glacier has receded. Makes one wonder how long it will be there at all.

    • Thanks, Graham. I too was impressed with the size of that ‘trough!’ Apparently, the glacier reached its greatest extent in around 1850 and has generally been retreating ever since.

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