Walking in a Riverbed at Mt. Rainier – Following the Nisqually River

The promised sun and highest temperatures of the year finally arrived in the Pacific Northwest after an interminably cold and rainy spring.

You may ask why we’d wish to go to a snow-covered Mt. Rainier on such a warm and lovely day to which I would reply, why not? It’s a perfect day trip.

So it was, we headed south and entered the park through the Nisqually Entrance, the only one open to vehicles year-round. The roads were dry and clear though snow was still stacked high on the mountain.

Some came to play in the snow – we just came for a look at Paradise – one of the snowiest places on earth.

The Visitor Center was closed, so we soon drove back down the mountain, stopping to view the Nisqually Glacier,

the source of the Nisqually River.

Just a sliver of river flows now but soon it will become a torrent of snowmelt and glacial flour.

Further down we were able to walk in the riverbed.

Eventually the river makes its way down the mountain for seventy-eight miles before emptying into Puget Sound, at the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge.

According to the website; “Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1974 to protect the Nisqually River Delta from development for the benefit of fish, wildlife, and plants, especially migratory birds. The diversity of habitats hosts at least 250 species of birds and other wildlife including: insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. Habitat management enhances freshwater wetlands to meet migratory bird requirements but also offers exceptional viewing, nature and landscape photography opportunities.

We went there one fall day and saw the crown of Mt. Rainier in the distance and wildlife in abundance.

It’s time for another visit.

Another day.

~ Susanne

19 Comments on “Walking in a Riverbed at Mt. Rainier – Following the Nisqually River

  1. Wow, you took so many beautiful photos, Susanne! I would love to hike this place. ☺️

  2. Being able to walk along an almost dry riverbed is something very interesting. I have never managed to do anything like that in the UK.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Thanks, Pete. 😊 We stopped to look at a waterfall in the distance and the trail crossed the river. Won’t be along till the river grows with the snowmelt.

  3. Wow, Susanne! What a stunning set of images. There is something wonderful about seeing snow-capped mountains on a warm, spring day. Fascinating that Nisqually is home to such a large glacier! Years ago I walked on a glacier at the top of Mt Dana on the east end of Yosemite outside of Tuolumne Meadows. Funny how it looks so small from a distance but you walk on it and it seems never-ending. Glad you had a great day and hopefully not too warm!

  4. Stunning scenery in all weathers! We walked the Nisqually Vista trail on our July visit to the park amd there was still quite a bit of snow even then.

    • Really true, Sarah! I love the Nisqually Vista trail, but all the trails at Paradise were under snow. There were snow-free trails at Longmire but this time we mainly enjoyed the scenery from the road and overlooks. And from a riverbed! 🙂

    • Mt. Rainier is wonderful, always good for a visit! 😊 Do you mean the eruption of Mt. St.Helens, a little further south? She blew her top back in 1980, with catastrophic mudslides, and covered the area with volcanic ash. Were you here for that?

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