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Hiking Trails in Mt. Rainier National Park

Hiking Areas: Longmire | Paradise | Other


LONGMIRE AREA DAY HIKES

TrailDescription of HikeTrailhead LocationDistanceEstimated Round Trip Hiking Time
Trail of the Shadows Human and natural history come together in the forest and meadows of Longmire. You'll see an early homestead cabin and discover the plants and animals that call this area their home. Across the road from the National Park Inn at Longmire 0.7 miles, loop trail 30 minutes
Twin Firs Loop Trail This short trail passes through old growth forest. 2 miles west of Longmire 0.4 miles, loop trail 20 minutes
Rampart Ridge Trail This steep loop trail passes through forests and offers ridge top vistas. Follow the Trail of the Shadows, located across the road from the National Park Inn at Longmire, to the trail junction. 4.6 miles, loop trail 2.5 hours

PARADISE AREA DAY HIKES

TrailDescription of HikeTrailhead LocationDistanceEstimated Round Trip Hiking Time
Nisqually Vista Trail Walk amidst the clouds and see how weather shapes the landscape, plants, and animals of these high-country meadows. Enjoy excellent views of Mount Rainier and the Nisqually Glacier. West of the Jackson Visitor Center 1.2 miles, loop trail 45 minutes
Bench & Snow Lakes Trail Enjoy two lakes along this one trail. In summer, this area is an excellent place to see bear grass and meadow flowers. The trail is a succession of gradual ups and downs crossing low ridges, reaching Bench Lake after ¾ mile, then continuing another ½ mile to Snow Lake. Stevens Canyon Road, 1.5 miles east of Reflection Lakes 2.5 miles 2 hours

Eagle Peak Trail

Trail Description
Distance, round-trip: 7.2 miles
Elevation gain: 2955 feet
Hiking time, round-trip: 5 hours
Wilderness camps: None

This peak was originally known as Sim-layshe, a Native American word for eagle. When the Longmire family settled nearby, George Longmire anglicized the name to Eagle Peak. For the first two miles the trail ascends steeply through dense forest to a small stream, then continues another mile to a meadow. Beyond the meadow the trail is much steeper and rocky as it climbs the final .5 mile to the 5700 ft. saddle where the trail ends.

Along the TrailMost of the trail lies in virgin forest where hikers can enjoy the beauty of tall timber and look for wildlife among the tree branches and forest understory. Lush subalpine flower fields surround the last .5 mile of the trail. Panoramic views await the hearty hiker who reaches Eagle Peak Saddle!
Trailhead LocationFrom the Longmire plaza drive past the building with the flagpole, through the employee housing area and across a suspension bridge. Continue .1 mile and park in front of the Community Building. Walk a short distance back up the road toward the bridge. The trailhead is on the right about 50 ft. before reaching the bridge. As an alternative, park near the Longmire Museum or National Park Inn and walk to the trailhead. It is located 50 ft. beyond the bridge on the left.
BackpackingThere is no designated camp along this trail nor atop the Tatoosh Range; however, crosscountry camping opportunities exist for backpackers who are skilled in route finding and minimum impact techniques and wish to camp in a rugged location. Permits are required for camping. Permits and current trail conditions are available park-wide from Wilderness Information Centers, Ranger Stations, and Visitor Centers. Fires are prohibited. No pets on trails. Treat water before drinking.
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Narada Falls Trail

Trail Description
Distance, round-trip: 9 miles
Elevation gain: 1700 feet
Hiking time, round-trip: 5 hours
Wilderness camps: Paradise River

From Longmire the trail climbs gradually 1.6 miles as it parallels the road to Cougar Rock Campground. Here it veers away from the road and crosses the Nisqually River, continuing its steady but gentle ascent two miles along the west side of the Paradise River. Then, just one mile below Narada Falls, the trail crosses the Paradise River and becomes much steeper as it nears the falls.

Family Suggestion: For a shorter hike start from Cougar Rock Campground. Or start your hike from the campground but only go as far as Carter Falls. A favorite with families, this section of the Wonderland Trail is 2.2 miles round-trip.

Literally translated, the name "Narada" means "uncontaminated."

Along the TrailHikers enjoy the coolness of virgin forest and the sound of cascading water all along this route. After crossing the Nisqually River, the trail follows an abandoned road to the site of a generating station which once provided electricity for Longmire. Above this site the wooden pipeline once used to divert river water through the powerhouse can still be seen. On sunny days watch for rainbows in the sprays of Carter, Madcap and Narada Falls.
Trailhead LocationFrom Longmire: Across the road from the Museum.From Cougar Rock Campground: Across the road from the campground, two miles east of Longmire on the road toward Paradise.
BackpackingThe Paradise River Camp is located 3.5 miles from Longmire. It is also accessible via the Narada Falls trailhead. From the falls, it is a one mile downhill hike. The camp is situated in the forest on the east side of the Paradise River. Permits are required for camping. Permits and current trail conditions are available at park-wide from Wilderness Information Centers, Ranger Stations, and Visitor Centers. Treat water before drinking. Fires are prohibited. No pets on trails.
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Comet Falls and Van Trump Park Trails

Trail Description
 Comet FallsTrump Park
Distance, round-trip:3.8 miles 5.8 miles
Elevation gain: 900 feet2000 feet
Hiking time, round-trip: 3 hours5 hours
Wilderness camps:NoneNone

One of the highest waterfalls in the park, Comet Falls was named because it resembles the tail of a comet. Or so some thought! Van Trump Park honors P. B. Ban Trump, who, with Hazard Stevens, was one of the first people to stand on the summit of Mount Rainier.

For two miles the trail climbs steadily up hill until it reaches the base of Comet Falls. From there it switchbacks .6 mile uphill to the junction with the Rampart Ridge Trail. Van Trump Park is to the right, where the trail winds through the meadows until it dead ends in .5 mile.

Along the Trail320 ft. Comet Falls is a popular destination for many hikers. For those folks who continue, Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens stand out to the distant south while the Kautz and Van Trump Glaciers dominate views of Mount Rainier to the north. Look for marmots and pikas on rocky open slopes and goats to the east, west and north of Van Trump Park.
Trailhead LocationThe Comet Falls trailhead is located four miles east of Longmire on the road toward Paradise. Parking space is limited and often full. There is no more parking nearby, so have an alternate hike in mind.
BackpackingThere is no designated camp along this trail nor anywhere nearby; however, crosscounty camping opportunities exist for skilled minimum impact backpackers who seek a primitive experience. Permits are required for camping. Permits and current trail conditions are available park-wide from Wilderness Information Centers, Ranger Stations, and Visitor Centers. Fires are prohibited. No pets on trails. Treat water before drinking.
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Snow and Bench Lakes Trail

Trail Description
Distance, round-trip: 2.5 miles
Elevation gain: 700 feet
Hiking time, round-trip: 2 hours
Wilderness camps: Snow Lake

Bench Lake is so named because the flat area around the lake is called "The Bench." Snow Lake may have been named because the cirque in which it lies is filled by icy meltwater from the snowfields of the Tatoosh Range or because snow often rings the lake until late summer.

The trail is a succession of gradual ups and downs as it crosses a series of low ridges. The path first reaches Bench Lake after .75 of a mile, then continues another .5 mile to Snow Lake. Most years these lakes do not melt out until late July and the trail can be muddy until then.

Along the TrailIn mid-summer, this area explodes with a variety of wildflowers and an abundance of beargrass. In the fall, mountain ash and huckleberries color the scene. Quite visible is a silver forest of trees which remain from a past fire. Expect good views of Mount Rainier. There is always a chance of seeing black bears as well!
Trailhead LocationThe trailhead is located one and a half miles east of the Reflection Lakes parking area on the south side of the road.
BackpackingThe Snow Lake Camp is often late in melting out and may be snow-covered until July. Crosscountry camping opportunities exist near Bench Lake and in the Tatoosh Range for backpackers who are knowledgeable of minimum impact techniques and seek a rugged camping experience. Permits and current trail conditions are available park-wide from Wilderness Information Centers, Ranger Stations, and Visitor Centers. Fires are prohibited. No pets on trails. Treat water before drinking.
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Rampart Ridge Trail

Trail Description
Distance, round-trip: 4.6 miles
Elevation gain: 1420 feet
Hiking time, round-trip: 2.5 hours
Wilderness camps: None

Also known as "The Ramparts," this ridge is the remnant of an ancient lava flow which originated at the summit of Mount Rainier.

The loop can be hiked in either direction, but going clockwise keeps Mount Rainier in front more of the time and is thus recommended. The hike begins steeply as the trail leads through dense forest to the top of the ridge. Once on the ridgetop it is 1.3 miles of relatively level hiking before starting the descent along the Wonderland Trail back to Longmire.

Along the TrailListen for the tapping of the woodpeckers or the booming of the grouse. Keep an eye out for deer and other wildlife. Notice the various mosses and lichen clinging to the trees. Opportunities abound for enjoying the forest community. On a clear day, hikers are also rewarded with excellent views of Mount Rainier and the Nisqually River Valley from two viewpoints atop the ridge.
Trailhead LocationTo connect with the trailhead to Rampart Ridge, begin at the west end of the Trail of the Shadows Nature Trail located across the road from the National Park Inn.
BackpackingThere is no designated camp along this trail nor atop Rampart Ridge. Crosscountry camping opportunities exist for skilled minimum impact backpackers who wish a primitive camping experience. Permits are required for camping. Permits and current trail conditions are available at park-wide from Wilderness Information Centers, Ranger Stations, and Visitor Centers. Treat water before drinking. Fires are prohibited. No pets on trails.
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Skyline Trail

Trail Description
Distance, round-trip: 5 miles
Elevation gain: 1400 feet
Hiking time, round-trip: 4 hours
Wilderness camps: None

Check current trail conditions before starting this hike! Early season hiking on this trail may be hazardous. Rest on benches or rocks. Please do not sit or walk on delicate subalpine plants!

Hiking the loop clockwise, the trail climbs 2 miles until reaching Panorama Point, where a toilet is provided for hikers. Past Panorama Point the trail begins its one mile descent to the junction with the Golden Gate Trail. Another .75 mile, and the Skyline Trail reaches the Stevens-Van Trump Memorial and its junction with the Paradise Glacier Trail. From here it descends into the Paradise Valley, then climbs slightly to Myrtle Falls and finally back to Paradise.

For a shorter version of this loop, take the Golden Gate Trail back to Paradise.

Along the TrailThe trail offers stunning displays of subalpine wildflowers, a close-up look at Mount Rainier and the Nisqually Glacier, and, on a clear day, views of peaks as far south as Oregon's Mount Hood.
Trailhead LocationThe trailhead is located to the left of the Ranger Station in the large parking lot at Paradise.
BackpackingSeveral sections of the park are designated as open to day use only. These areas have been closed to overnight camping due to previous resource damage caused by concentrations of people in areas too fragile to sustain such use. Paradise is a day use only area. Please hike only on the constructed trails and help minimize impact on this delicate environment. Current trail conditions are available at park-wide from Wilderness Information Centers, Ranger Stations, and Visitor Centers. Treat water before drinking. Fires are prohibited. No pets on trails.
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Pinnacle Peak Trail

Trail Description
Distance, round-trip: 2.5 miles
Elevation gain: 1050 feet
Hiking time, round-trip: 2 hours
Wilderness camps: None

Pinnacle Peak is situated in the middle of the Tatoosh Range at an elevation of 6562 feet, the second highest peak in the range.

The trail begins with a gradual ascent but soon becomes, and remains, a steep climb to the 5920 foot saddle where the trail ends. Hiking boots are recommended since this trail has either a snow or loose rock surface all summer. From the saddle to the top of Pinnacle Peak is a precipitous scramble on loose, unstable rock. Hikers wishing to get to the top should use extreme caution and have proper equipment.

Along the TrailOn a clear day the spectacular view from the saddle makes this hike well worth the effort! To the north is a dramatic close up view of Mount Rainier and Paradise. To the south, one sees Mount Adams and Mount St. Helens in the foreground and Oregon's Mount Hood on the horizon. This is an excellent trail on which to see pikas and marmots.
Trailhead LocationDrive east either from Longmire or Paradise on the Stevens Canyon Road to the parking area at Reflection Lakes. The trailhead is on the south side of the road.
BackpackingThere is no designated camp along this trail nor atop the Tatoosh Range. Cross country camping opportunities exist for skilled minimum impact backpackers who wish a primitive experience. Permits are required for camping. Permits and current trail conditions are available at park-wide from Wilderness Information Centers, Ranger Stations, and Visitor Centers. Treat water before drinking. Fires are prohibited. No pets on trails.
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