Hiking to Glacier Vista on Mt. Rainier with Kids

Our hike started at Paradise on Mt. Rainier. The hike was only 0.9 miles up to Glacier Vista. It was the farthest we had every hiked up Mt. Rainier. Sad, I know. It was only our third trip though, twice with a baby in tow.

Purples, pinks, yellows and blues covered the meadows around Paradise on Mt. Rainier

This was no easy hike either. The weak were being separated from the strong. I was quickly falling into the weak category. I was carrying the backpack and Mike was carrying Dek. My in-laws were plugging away just fine only stopping to check out the local flora and birds high up in trees. Boy do I need to start working out more.

The first 15 minutes was a stead incline. My old knee injury from Portugal was threatening to act up. Suddenly my BLT from Copper Creek Inn wasn’t enough to keep me moving. Perhaps a chocolate chip cookie chaser would have done the trick.

After my legs were about to give out, we finally started to level out a little bit. We had passed the test. We were now worthy enough to finish the climb. Dek was able to get out and walk for a little bit until the path got trickier by something we did not expect to see this time of year. Snow.

A little snow fun in our summer gear was quite an unexpected treat
Working our way up the paved path, marveling in the fields of wild flowers

Dek’s eyes were dazzled. What was this white, cold stuff? He had only seen snow once before and that was over a year ago; too long for a little mind to remember. In t-shirts and shorts we made snowballs, handprints and tried not to slip on our bums.

We watched families slide down snowy hills and kids use ski poles to walk into frozen dips. My mother-in-law and I marveled as a group of Asian schoolgirls giggled their way up a snow bank, helping their friend in platform sneakers scale the slope without falling. Mother nature was not going to stop this girl’s fashion statement.

Glaciers and waterfalls overwhelmed our eyes as we worked our way up the mountain

Finally we made it to the Glacier Vista at 6300 feet. The view was spectacular. Waterfalls ran off of the glaciers on Mt. Rainier. Snowboarders and skiers made their way down a large patch of snow higher up the mountain. Maybe next year we will make it that far with our boards (and kid) in tow.

Natures way of inspiring the next generation of Dr. Seuss’s

Dek wandered around checking out puddles and more snow. He loved to be out of the hiking pack and explore on his own. We all got to hear the whistle of a few marmots, sniff a variety of flowers and throw more than our fair share of rocks. Have no fear; we left most of the mountain there.

Stone steps, both large and small, took us back down to Paradise

Heading back down was much easier. There was no way we could stop though. When Mike’s mom paused to ask me about a particular flower my knees began to shake. No way could I stop any more until we could sit down for a bit. I had used more muscles than I had all year. Sad, but true. Suddenly I was wishing I could be in the hiking backpack and Dek could be the one walking.

Back at Paradise we made a quick pit stop and then headed to the parking lot. It was getting late and bedtime was fast approaching. We had skipped naptime and were headed towards a melt down.  With any luck we would get the boy in bed and the take-out Chinese food would arrive right on time. Fried rice and egg rolls seemed like a good way to bounce back from such an amazing day of climbing.

The view from Paradise and the view from Glacier Vista were both spectacular to behold

Kid-Friendly Mountain

  • The paved paths around Paradise make Mt. Rainier very kid friendly. I saw parents with babies in strollers making their way up to certain points. It is definitely more practical to have a good hiking backpack or Ergo to carry your baby in though. There were more than a few steps and the snow made using a stroller very difficult.
  • Bring water for the whole family
  • Light snacks are a must while you sample the view at Glacier Vista
  • Pack a light jacket or sweatshirt. The higher up you go, the cooler it is.
  • Hats and sunscreen are still necessary even if it is chilly

Seattle Planning Guide

Hotels in Seattle

  • Inn at the Market: Top rated hotel right by iconic Pike Place Market. Free Wi-Fi, breakfast available.
  • The Maxwell Hotel: Free Wi-Fi, bicycle rentals available, pool, pet-friendly
  • The State Hotel: Family friendly (children activities on site), pet-friendly, free Wi-Fi

Looking for more? Search for a great deal on Booking.com!

Airbnbs in Seattle

8 thoughts on “Hiking to Glacier Vista on Mt. Rainier with Kids”

  1. So was it not cold when you got to the top? Those pictures look amazing! Sounds like it was a lot of fun. The scenic pictures are gorgeous.

    1. It was a little chilly at Glacier Vista, but the chill was a welcome relief after the walk. We headed back down before we all got too cold. There were skiiers and boarders higher up that were in snow gear though, so I’m sure it was quite chilly for them.

  2. The photos are beautiful! It must be wonderful to live so close to the mountains.

  3. Very well written story, and I could totally relate to the humor in trying to do something that used to be so easy, before kids. The shaking knees get me every time.

  4. When I was in 6th grade, we took a family hike on Mt. ranier in August and came across a patch of snow – it was so cool to play in snow in our shorts. I wonder if this was the same trail?? All the pictures look like ones we have from that trip years ago!

    I miss being around mountains so much!!

    Thanks for linking up and the shout out!!


    1. I have to say, I really do love living so close to the mountains and water. We’ve been out here 5 years and it just keeps getting better. I’ve gotten so used to the size of our mountains that I have become a west coast mountain snob and stick my noise up at the tiny mountains back east. My hubby still just says they are older mountains and more settled, not smaller 😉

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