Go North

For Winter Fun and Adventure!

Editor's Note:   Our South District is now open, but was closed from Fall 2006 to Fall 2008 due to a washed out bridge.   This page was created during this closure. It does a good job of capturing the essence of our North District, so we're keeping it online.

Looking for world-class winter fun for your friends and family?  Are you imagining spectacular views of Mount Rainier as a perfect setting for your next skiing or snowshoeing adventure?   Are you yearning to "getaway from it all" to a warm, cozy hut?  It's time to Go North!

North District is Open with Expanded Operations

Our North District is open with expanded operations!

  • Expanded Plowing and Parking.   Great News:  The 2006/2007 season's extra plowing and almost doubled parking spaces will remain in effect this season!   Please note that heavy snow fall may reduce upper lot parking, requiring visitors to park lower down the road.

  • More Grooming and Volunteers.  We now have a brand new Snow Cat and our previously best Snow Cat deployed together in our North District.  Plus, we had an all-time record volunteer patroller turnout this year.  Together, we expect to do the best job ever of grooming our many miles of North District trails!   Note that grooming can be impacted by severe weather, equipment problems and/or volunteer availability.

Click each of the above for
more pics, including pics
of the hut's fabulous new floor!

Warm up and Relax in a Backcountry Hut

Are you ready for a perfect day in our backcountry?   Venture into a pristine winter scene on groomed trails that lead you to Glacier Vista; an awesome winter wonderland.   Spend hours playing and exploring in the snow.   Then return to a cozy backcountry hut to warm up and relax with friends.  Now that's winter fun at its finest!  

As many as 14 individuals can stay overnight high above the Nisqually Valley at Copper Creek Hut.

The warm and cozy Copper Creek hut is waiting for you.   To make reservations, start with our hut reservations page, or call or stop by Whittaker Mountaineering in Ashford.

Trails and Vistas for All

Our North District combines beginner-friendly hut access with many miles of groomed and backcountry trails appropriate for almost any skill level.   Families with young children often make the trek to Copper Creek hut.  Snowshoers will enjoy exploring the many ridges above the hut.  Whether you're a beginner or an expert, a skier or a snowshoer, looking for nice groomed trails or un-groomed backcountry adventures, our North District has a trail for you!

  • Overlook Trail with an optional un-groomed Loop.  A great trail for first-time skiers.   It starts at the upper SnoPark (at 3300') and is now groomed out for 1 mile.   At the 1/2 mile point, there is a turn-off on the right to an un-groomed trail flagged with orange tape.   This un-groomed trail forms a 2-3 mile loop back to the main trail that is excellent for snowshoers or intermediate skiers.

  • Rainier Vista Trail - Southwest End.   The main trail used to reach Copper Creek hut, excellent for beginner to intermediate skiers.   There is a short (0.2 miles) steeper section just above the upper SnoPark, but the rest of this groomed trail has a very beginner-friendly, gradual ascent over 2.7 miles to reach the hut turn-off. (From the turn-off, there is 0.4 miles trail with a short steeper section to reach Copper Creek Hut at 4200').  The Rainier Vista Trail continues to the north.

  • Valley Vista Trail.  A lower trail, groomed when there is enough snow, often with more wildlife.   This trail starts on the Rainier Vista Trail 1.5 miles above the upper SnoPark and goes about 3.4 miles before returning to Rainier Vista Trail near the Copper Creek hut turnoff.   The trail starts at 3840', goes down to a low of 3450', then returns to 4160'.

  • Cal's Trail.   An un-groomed trail, that goes from Copper Creek hut 0.7 miles mostly North to the Rainier Vista Trail.   Combining this trail, the Rainier Vista Trail and the Hut Turnoff trail makes a nice short 1.4 mile loop from the hut.

  • Rainier Vista Trail - North End (Puyallup Ridge Trail).  A now regularly groomed trail starting at the Copper Creek turnoff going about 5.8 miles out to the old Puyallup Ridge Lookout tower.   Much of this trail is relatively flat.   For a real challenge, do the 18 mile round trip from the SnoPark to the Lookout and back! The views of Rainier and the surrounding Cascades don't get much better (see our Photos section for examples).

  • Puyallup Ridge Loop Trail (Morge Lake Loop).  This 2.7 mile frequently groomed trail provides an alternative route for part of the Puyallup Ridge trail.   It starts just past Morge Lakes, stays on a relatively flat traverse along the West side of the ridge, and returns to Puyallup Ridge trail about 0.9 miles from the Lookout.

  • Mountain View Trail.  This is a short (0.2 mile) groomed trail that goes from the Rainier Vista Trail north of the hut to a location with a nice vista of Mt. Rainier.

Pick the trails that suit your style, then "Go North" soon.   Our Backcountry Map will help.   Get one at Whittaker Mountaineering in Ashford or at Whittaker Mountaineering MTTA Map.   For more information, see our Maps page.

Photos and Stories

We need your help!   We need your North District photos and stories to share with others.   Please join in by:  emailing your photos, captions and stories to MTTA's Web Team.  We will post your contributions in a web page, accessed by a link below.  With your permission, we will use the best pictures to complete this "Go North" section.   Thank you!

4 Year Old Skier
December 23, 2007 by Judy Scavone
Our New Snowcat!
2008 Pictures by Bob Brown


A Beautiful Day
November 28, 2006 by Gene Glasanow
On the Trail
December 17, 2006 by Bob Brown
Puyallup Ridge Trail
November 15, 2006 by Ed Book
Kris and Friends
January 15, 2007 by Kris Symer

Don't miss the winter fun!    Come visit us soon!