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(Last Updated On: January 9, 2023)

Staying at the High Hut cabin at Mount Rainier was an experience I will never forget. And what a treat to snowshoe up a trail and be rewarded with 360 degree views of Mount Rainier, Mount St Helens and Mt Adams. This trail is challenging, but very doable with enough time and proper gear. I’m going to break down everything you need to know to reserve and plan to stay at High Hut in Washington State managed by Tahoma Trails Association.

Epic snowshoe to High Hut with 360 views of Mount Rainier. Reserve through Mount Tahoma Trails Association. Everything you need to know here!

Land Acknowledgement: Cayuse, Umatilla, Walla Walla, and Nisqually Land. Find what Native Land you are visiting by using the app Native Land! Secondly, I encourage you to read the history and culture of the Indigenous people who’s land you are visiting! And also consider visiting nearby cultural centers and seeking out other ways to financially support Indigenous People.

Photos in collaboration with Johnathon DeSoto, Logan Reavis, and Ambrlynn.

Where is High Hut?

High Hut is located just outside of Ashford, Washington near Mount Rainier National Park. It is not within the park limits, so you do not need a National Park Pass to enter.

Distance from Seattle: 2 hours

Distance from Portland: 2.5 hours

Getting There:

I used google maps and typed in High Hut and it took me straight to the High Hut trailhead, but you can also navigate there using the coordinates in AllTrails.

Coordinates to Trailhead: 46.706000, -121.993040

The road does become a dirt road with some potholes about 6 miles before the trailhead. There are TWO parking lots. In the winter the upper parking lot is closed and gated, which is a bummer, because the lower parking lot adds over a mile and 800 ft elevation gain.

Important Things to Note:

At 0.4 miles the trail (road) splits. You’ll see a sign that indicates which way to go, and there will be an arrow for high hut groomed trail to the left. This is the one you want unless you have backcountry and avalanche training.

High Hut at Mount Rainier Snowshoe Trail
photo by Ambrlynn edit by me

High Hut Snowshoe Trail

Check out our YouTube Video from the adventure!


  • 8 miles round trip
  • 2,375 feet elevation gain
  • Rated hard
  • Located in Tahoma State Forest
  • Pets Allowed on trail BUT not in High Hut Cabin

How hard is the Hike?

Rated hard on AllTrails and Washington Trails Association (WTA), but I would personally rate it moderate. This of course would depend on the weather and whether the trail has been recently groomed, because fresh snow would make this trail a lot harder! It took us about 3 hours to get up there and that included some long breaks for food and putting on our snowshoes.

Time of Year for Snowshoeing

I went in mid-December and made it most of the way with just Micro-spikes. The last 1.5 miles, the snow got a lot deeper and not as packed down. We started post-holing (where your leg essentially falls through the deep snow) and decided to put on our snowshoes.

I also want to note, that some people bring sleds and sled down in about 30 minutes! We were wishing we did this. Also, it Is a popular ski trail, so if you’re snowshoeing, stay to the sides to not ruin the ski track!

Snowshoeing typically runs November-April depending on snowfall for that year, but High Hut can be booked for any time of year!

Hike to High Hut at Mount Rainier
Photo in collaboration with Logan Reavis

Is the Trail Hard to Navigate?

The trail is very easy to navigate. I had the maps downloaded on AllTrails, but really did not need them. The trail seemed like it was freshly groomed for us and it was not raining or snowing for us. I always recommend having navigation with you on ANY trip. That said, there is a lot of signage on this trail pointing you in the right direction.

The trails are managed and groomed by Mount Tahoma Trails Association, and this primarily runs off of volunteer services.

Tip: if you don’t get a reservation at the hut, you can still day hike here! But it is a hard and long trek for one day!

Getting Reservations to High Hut Mt Rainier

I found High Hut during some pandemic free time and trip lusting. However, when I stumbled across it during this time, it was shut down for the duration of the pandemic. But, somehow the thought to look into it again came back to me and I managed to snag highly coveted reservations to a night at this backcountry mountain cabin.

Book Here:

Step 1: go to Skimtta.org

Step 2: Under the reservations tab, click High Hut.

Lastly: Find dates on the calendar in green that are available, and click the days you want and proceed with the booking process.

As of December 2022, High Hut is booked out through April 2023. My understanding is that availability for November 2023 and on does not get released until after the Fall Reservation Gala at the Seattle REI where the people that attend get first dibs in a lottery system. Then, the remaining availability is released on the website a few days later. It does not list a particular date, but I personally got a reservation confirmed on November 16th.

If you have availability during the week days, you’re way more likely to get reservations as well!

I received a code to open a lock box, but the place was unlocked for the rest of the season when we arrived.

High Hut Snowshoe Trail at Mount Rainier
photo by Logan Reavis edited by me.

High Hut Cabin at Mount Rainier

High hut is one of 4 cabins at Mount Rainier accessible through Mount Tahoma Trails Association. The others are Copper Creek, The Yurt, and Snowbowl! I recommend looking into those as well!

High Hut sits at 4,760 feet elevation with 360 degree views of Mount Tahoma (Mount Rainier), Mount Adams, and Mt St Helens.

The Accommodations:

  • 8 People are allowed to stay at High Hut.

I was surprised how many things are already provided at the cabin which makes for a lot lighter packs on the way up!

Here are the things provided:

  • Cookware
  • Dishes
  • Utensils
  • Soap/cleaning supplies
  • Toilet Paper
  • Sleeping mats
  • Solar Lighting
  • Propane Heat
  • Lots of games/puzzles

Here are things you should pack:

  • Sleeping Bag
  • Clothing
  • Food

If you are looking for backpacking gear recommendations check out my blog post HERE. And if you are looking for winter hiking safety and gear recommendations, check out THIS blog post.

Inside of High Hut Cabin

Water at High Hut Backcountry Cabin

In the winter months (typically November-April), snow is melted in large buckets on the propane heating stove, and then 3 gallons at a time are poured through a sand filtration system. When we arrived, this process had already been completed, so there was a lot of filtered water ready to drink. The system is designed so that each reservation carries out their part in maintaining this system. So, for us, that meant making sure the large pots were full of melted snow. And all of this is posted with detailed instructions in the hut.

What is the Bathroom Situation?!

I have stayed in fire lookouts in Washington that required you to poop in blue bags, and I was NOT thrilled about it. But, the good news for high hut is that there is a VERY clean outhouse up there with toilet paper provided. It is not attached to the main cabin, but it is right behind it.

and the Bathroom is right behind the Main Cabin of High Hut

Leave No Trace and Safety

As I mentioned before, these cabins at Mount Rainier are managed by volunteers. Yes, there is a trash can, but you need to carry out all your trash when you leave! Just like you would backpacking, and this includes any food scraps. Because, don’t be that person that makes it the next persons problem.

I brought ziploc bags to store food on the way up, and then used them to divide the trash between the 4 of us before leaving.

Cell service is minimal and very in and out. I encourage you to come prepared with the 10 essentials!

Avalanche Safety: I was told that this trail is not prone to avalanches on the groomed route. And that being said, you should still exercise caution and check the risk.

I used this website to keep track of the risk in the area: https://nwac.us/

Parking Passes Needed for High Hut

I purchased a Sno-park Parking Permit for $25 HERE, and this is needed for November 1st- April 30th. All other dates/seasons require a Washington State Discover Pass.

And, be sure to check HERE for updated weather conditions and road conditions. I also recommend checking out out recent trip reports on AllTrails and WTA before going!

Basecamp – Preparing for the Trip

Little Elk Cabin Rainier

We stayed at Little Elk Cabin in Packwood, Washington. Because from here it was about 1.5 hours to the trailhead. It was so nice to have a hot tub, nearby brewery and a comfortable place to get ready for our 8 mile hike.


Mount Tahoma Trails Association has an incredible trail system and was such a treat for me to experience! I would absolutely go back to High Hut, but I also want to check out the other 3 Cabins at Mount Rainier. If you scrolled straight to this paragraph I will give you a quick rundown:

  • 8 miles round trip, 2,375 ft elevation
  • Reservations are required and typically book out November-April in early November!
  • 360 degree views of Washington volcanoes
  • This hike is rated hard!

I also am very interested in checking out High Hut during the Summer months with the wildflowers. I mean how ridiculously gorgeous would that be to witness!?

Other Winter Adventures to Check Out:

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Epic snowshoe to High Hut at Mount Rainier. Reserve through Mount Tahoma Trails Association. Everything you need to know here!

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