Mount Rainier National Park News
Map to access and conditions
All monthly reports

MPG V2.8, January 2013

Current Season Conditions and Photo Opportunities
April 2009

The purpose of this Web page is to provide some general monthly and seasonal conditions in Mt Rainier NP. It's not meant to necessarily completely accurate or updated, see the other news and access Web pages for that information. It is meant to be a general guide to help you visit to the NP. Much of the information has been gleaned from a variety of sources, often from trip reports, conversations with experienced people, Websites, news stories, etc.


I have added a Web page for winter photography in the NP which offers some suggestions for your winter visit. In addition, you can view latest conditions at Paradise with the NPS Webcams.

April is the transistion month when the snowpack peaks at the upper elevations and temperatures continue to change from winter to spring at all elevations. April is somewhat unpredictable but less so as March as the temperatures get warmer and the snowmelt season starts in mid-to-late April and doesn't look back, meaning spring is here to stay, and the snow will completely melt at the lower elevations during the month.

Currently the NP is still under winter rules, but the NPS is scheduling opening facilities, campgrounds and roads from late April, see current conditions map. This year March had an unusual surge of late season snowfall, even at the lower elevations where as of the first week of the month there is 3-6 feet of snow at the lower elevations and at least 16 feet of snow at Paradise.

So if you love snow and cold, and lots of white, you're in luck. This means to come and be prepared for whatever you wish to do, and be flexible with your interests and schedule. And always check ahead.

Photo Oppoortunities

This year what applied in March still applies in April, meaning opportunities can be put down to one idea, winter. If you enjoy the winter and like be out and photographiing in the winter, you'll be fine. There are lots of excellent seasonal nature and landscape scenes when and where there are far fewer people. The open tourists areas are far less crowded as are the trails in those areas, namely Paradise as the other are closed or only open to walk-ins.

This is also the time you can get the snow scenes if you're willing to do some snowshoeing as snow is prevalent throughout the NP, includning the normally clear lower Carbon River trail, from the NP boundary to the Ipsut Campground.

In addition, a good destination photo hike are the four fire lookouts in the NP along with two just outside the NP on the south and north sides. You can get a description of them and locate them on a map. They provides excellent vista of Mt. Rainier and the entire 360 view of the NP and area. The problem is all of these have snow at and on the trail to them, so you have to be prepared with gear and clothing.


If you plan a trip to Mt. Rainer NP in winter, it's fair to say for now, to plan for variations in weather, see the historic range, for warm to hot days (our peak temperatures) and cool to cooler nights with the normal rain and rainstorms. In short, be prepared.

If you plan to hike into the backcountry, the NPS has issued an advisory on the backcountry and especially the Wonderland Trail, see Press Release. This year the high elevation trails are in snow and the weather is cold. It's the same adage about the NP, be prepared.

You can can get reports for previous months here.

Please use the contact link to send e-mail.

[Top] [Guide] [Home]
Web Updates
Image Copyrights
Browser Optimization
WSR V2.8, January 2013