Best Easy Day Hikes Mount Rainier National Park  by Heidi Radlinski and Mary Skjelset

Best Easy Day Hikes: Mount Rainier National Park Guide Book

by Heidi Radlinski and Mary Skjelset (Falcon Guides)
Best Easy Day Hikes Mount Rainier National Park  by Heidi Radlinski and Mary Skjelset
Best Easy Day Hikes Mount Rainier National Park includes shorter, less- strenuous hikes that we recommend for nice, casual day hikes in Mount Rainier National Park. The thirty hikes in this book are located in all four quadrants of Mount Rainier National Park. All hikes in this guide are on easy- to- follow trails with no off- trail sections. It is also relatively easy to get to the trailhead of all hikes in this book; you can reach them with any two- wheel- drive vehicle. A trail map and detailed driving instructions help you reach the trailhead and orient yourself once there.

© 2018 Heidi Radlinski and Mary Skjelset/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Best Easy Day Hikes: Mount Rainier National Park" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 30.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 30.

This short hike travels steeply through beautiful meadows overlooking the Paradise area. This hike is excellent for children. It is short and scenic and gives you a little taste of Mount Rainier National Park. If you take this hike in July or August, an abundance of wildflowers will line the trails. Please preserve the fragile meadows where the flowers grow by staying on the trail. Expect to see a lot of people on this popular trail.
Packwood, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.6
This very short loop crosses a bridge over a deep, narrow gorge carved by the erosive action of a silt-laden river. This hike is great for those interested in glaciers and glacial rivers. The Box Canyon Trail showcases the powerful polishing force of a glacier and the effects of long-term erosion by its silt-filled water. The paved trail takes you past wildflowers and the thundering canyon itself. For the first half of this hike, the paved trail is wide, smooth, and wheelchair accessible. The entire hike is paved, but the second stretch is considerably rougher and would prove tumultuous travel for a wheelchair.
Ashford, WA - Hiking,Walking - Trail Length: 0.3
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A very short and flat loop through temperate rain forest with educational signs posted throughout, this informative nature walk is perfect for families with small children and adults looking for a peaceful stroll just outside the park. This nature walk did not make it into previous additions of this book because we simply thought it too easy to be considered a “hike.” Two factors make this trail worthy of inclusion as a best easy day hike. First, other trails in the area that once were attainable for many day hikers have become out of reach due to the permanent closure of the Carbon River Road. Second, unlike many hikes on Mount Rainier, this educational nature walk is perfect for children and people of different abilities.
Wilkeson, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 0.3
An early opener, this portion of the Wonderland Trail crosses the expansive Nisqually River basin and skirts the Paradise River on its mild ascent to a treed-in vista of Carter Falls. Situated between the Longmire Historic District and the Paradise area and originating near a popular campground, the Carter Falls Trail sees many visitors. Throngs of tourists meander along the rocks in the Nisqually River basin waiting for that ephemeral glimpse of Mount Rainier. The Carter Falls Trail is particularly popular in early summer, when the snow in Paradise has not yet melted and trail choices are limited. Admittedly, Carter Falls is an unlikely destination for many hikers, as its jetting waters are hardly visible through the trees, but the hike has many other qualities to offer: a massive glacier river basin, an unobstructed view of Mount Rainier on a clear day, a relatively easy grade, and early accessibility.
Longmire, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.5
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This hike leads to Comet Falls, one of the tallest falls in the park, named for the water’s likeness to a comet’s tail as it plunges 320 feet into the creek below. The trail takes you through beautiful forest to several waterfalls, including Comet Falls, one of the tallest falls in the park. From the Van Trump Park Trail parking lot, hike north on the Van Trump Park Trail. The hike starts off with a bang, as you reach a bridge crossing Christine Falls in less than 0.3 mile. The bridge provides a birds-eye view of the oft-photographed falls that roar and churn around granite walls until making their final tumble near the Longmire-Paradise Road.
Comet Falls, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.8
This short spur trail connects with the Skyline Trail and has great views of the Tatoosh Range, Mount Rainier, and the Nisqually Glacier. If you want to hike the Skyline Trail but would prefer a shorter, more gradual ascent, consider the Dead Horse Creek Trail as an alternative. In August, wildflowers, including lupine and Lewis monkeyflower, line your path. Please preserve these flowers by staying on designated trails.
Packwood, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.2
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A short climb to the top of Dege Peak affords views of Mount Rainier, the North Cascades, Mount Adams, Mount Baker, and Sunrise Lake. Although this hike is only 2.8 miles long, you climb uphill for the entire 1.4-mile trip to Dege Peak. Make sure to bring plenty of water, and pace yourself throughout the climb. From the top of Dege Peak, jaw-dropping scenery surrounds you in every direction.
Mount Rainier National Park, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.8
A short hike up to the Emmons Moraine provides an excellent view of the Emmons Glacier, the largest glacier in the contiguous United States. This short, gradual uphill hike is great for older children and adults looking for a close-up view of the largest glacier in the contiguous forty-eight states. Hike along the Emmons Moraine for an unobstructed view of the Emmons Glacier and its basin, an expansive section of the earth carved out by the glacier in years past.
Mount Rainier, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.8
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A short descent over rocky alpine terrain travels through subalpine meadows to a quaint mountain lake. If you want to escape the crowd at Sunrise and experience a variety of different ecosystems, this is the hike for you. From the tundra on the north side of Sourdough Ridge to the deciduous forest that surrounds Forest Lake, you will have a taste of everything. While you are walking along this trail, you can see the Cascades to the north, and Mount Rainier looks magnificent from here.
Mount Rainier, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.0
This short interpretive hike crosses the Ohanapecosh River by way of suspension bridge and takes you to a magnificent old-growth forest with thousand-year-old trees. The trail is very well maintained but often muddy, due to its low elevation and proximity to the Ohanapecosh River. Wear your hiking boots, and remember to step through the mud instead of around it to avoid widening the trails. Interpretive signs line the trail, helping you discern differences between the western hemlock, Douglas-fir, and western red cedar. This is a great trail to take if you are interested in learning more about the life cycles and species of old-growth forests.
Packwood, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.1
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This short loop around Reflection Lakes offers a great view of the Tatoosh Range to the south, and when the weather is right, a prime spot to photograph Mount Rainier mirrored in the still lake waters. This is an easy day hike that explores the area around Reflection Lakes, possibly the most photographed spot on Mount Rainier. On a clear day you can see the entire mountain mirrored in the still waters of these aptly- named lakes. The High Lakes Trail leaves the lakeside and follows Mazama Ridge, gaining just enough elevation to afford a view of the Tatoosh Range.
Packwood, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.7
This hike makes a short ascent to a fire lookout on Mount Fremont that towers over the north side of the park. The lookout affords great views of Mount Rainier, Skyscraper Mountain, Grand Park, and Sourdough Ridge. Walk up the paved path to the right (east) of the restrooms until you see a dirt trail on your right (north). Get on that trail and travel north until you come to a fork in the Sourdough Ridge Nature Trail. Turn left (northwest) and walk 0.2 mile to the Sourdough Ridge Trail. Turn left (west) onto the Sourdough Ridge Trail. While you are walking along this trail, you can see the North Cascades to your right. Mount Rainier also looms magnificent from Sourdough Ridge.
Mount Rainier, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.4
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A popular loop in summer, Naches Peak Trail offers small mountain lakes, subalpine forest, good views of Mount Rainier, and a worthwhile side trip to Dewey Lake. The Naches Peak Trail straddles the national park boundary, which means two things: first, you do not have to pay an entrance fee to hike this trail; second, pets are allowed on the portion of the trail outside the park boundary. These facts, coupled with a nice picnic area and stellar views, make Naches Peak a popular summer hike.
Chinook Pass, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.0
This completely downhill hike (with a vehicle shuttle) passes three waterfalls and runs through the scenic Paradise and Nisqually River Valleys. This hike passes three waterfalls and travels all downhill. You begin at the astonishing Narada Falls and then hike by two other waterfalls, Madcap and Carter Falls, before descending to the Longmire Historic District. Besides the two-car shuttle or park shuttle options mentioned above, you can do the hike out and back or even leave a bike as your second vehicle and have one person ride back to pick up the car.
Ashford, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.5
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This short hike travels through beautiful forests and meadows overlooking the Nisqually Glacier. This is a great hike for kids and adults alike. The trail takes you through beautiful forested areas and wonderful subalpine meadows to an overlook of the Nisqually Glacier. The Nisqually Vista Trail is a self-guiding trail, but the National Park Service offers a guided tour of this hike in summer and leads snowshoe walks throughout winter. Inquire at the Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center for more information. It is downhill all the way to the lookout and then uphill back to the parking lot, but both gradients are gradual.
Packwood, WA - Hiking,Snowshoeing - Trail Length: 1.2
A casual walk along the permanently closed Carbon River Road leads to an extremely steep, but short ascent to the entrance to a decommissioned mine. The trail weaves around majestic trees, some fallen and some standing tall. You will see mossy logs and big ferns lining both sides of the trail. The closure of the Carbon River Road has significantly reduced the amount of traffic in the Carbon River Area. Trails like Chenuis Falls and Green Lake, which once provided day hikers with easy treks in the woods and lovely destinations, have become unworkable for many hikers with the added miles to reach what once was a drive-to trailhead.
Wilkeson, WA - Hiking,Walking - Trail Length: 3.0
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This route begins on the paved Skyline Trail turns onto an unmaintained trail and ends in a snowfield at the foot of a small glacier, which has retreated drastically from the days its terminus nearly reached the trail and visitors explored its ice caves. The ice caves that once drew many to this trail have melted with the general increase in global temperature. This means a less sensational hike, but it also means fewer passersby and the same spectacular views as before.
Packwood, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 6.2
This short, rocky climb up to the saddle between Pinnacle and Plummer Peaks offers great views of the south flank of Mount Rainier to the north and Mount Adams and Mount St. Helens to the south. Simply head south from the trailhead, directly across from the busy Reflection Lakes parking lot, and hike all the way to the saddle. The first half of the trail runs through forest, blooming with lilies and lupine in the early season and abounding with delicious huckleberries in late summer. Gentiana clusters along the trail on occasion and monkeyflower grows near the occasional stream.
Packwood, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.6
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One of the few hikes that is clear of snow in June, this short but steep trek up to Rampart Ridge affords you splendid views of Eagle Peak, Mount Rainier, and the Nisqually River Valley. This hike is great for people who like to climb hills, enjoy great scenery, and need a hike that is snow-free in June. In less than 2 miles, the trail takes you up 1,200 feet and allows you to peer into the valley you just ventured from, as well as the valley on the other side of Rampart Ridge. The ridge itself, also known as the “Ramparts,” is a remnant of ancient lava flow from Mount Rainier. The switchbacks are steep but definitely bearable. Remember to bring plenty of water, because the only water sources arise toward the end of the hike.
Longmire, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.1
This beautiful, wooded day hike takes you to spectacular Silver Falls. Silver Falls opens early in the year due to its low elevation, and visitors can enjoy the falls as early as May. The trail wanders through a beautiful forest. Traffic can be very heavy on this trail, since the trailhead is located at Ohanapecosh Campground.
Packwood, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.7
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