Trail of the Shadows is in summer a short loop hike, a great leg stretcher after the long drive to Mount Rainier National Park. In winter it takes on a new look, snowy everywhere but where the hot springs bubble up from the ground.
The trail starts across the street from Longmire, having come in from the Nisqually entrance of the park. Park where you can find a spot, enjoy the warm bathrooms if needed and start walking.
The historical gas pumps with the lodge behind.
Kirk checking out the snow.
The way is usually well defined, unless a recent snowfall has occurred.
The old parts of the hot springs pull you in at a few side spots.
The staining pops in the snow.
There area couple spots in the park with active hot springs that bubble up. All have returned to how they looked before they were exploited for tourism. It’s a reminder of how active Tahoma is.
The trail winds around the vast meadow on the edge of the forest, going back and forth out of the trees.
The Longmire cabin.
Snow alien in the creek next to the cabin.
The green in the snow.
Looking across the meadow about half way.
In the summer there is an observation area at about 3/4 the way around. It takes one out over an active bubbling area.
The water bubbles up, and steam rises. Trees don’t fare well in this area.
The trail goes into the forest and finishes skirting the woods as it comes back to the start, crossing a clear creek that babbles. Follow back to complete the trail.