Hiking Mount Rainier National Park
by Heidi Schneider & Mary Skjelset (Falcon Guides)
© Heidi Schneider & Mary Skjelset/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
From the White River campground parking lot, walk west past the campgrounds to where the paved road loops back. The trail head is here unless you are coming down from Sunrise. I have not tried that way. I basically wanted a fast day hike and carried mostly water, food and the Ten Essentials. This is an easy trail with very gradual elevation gain where you'll encounter scores of mountaineers with heavy packs heading up to the top of Rainier. This area once hosted an 1880s ming site with a hotel, aerial tram and electric generating station. After the first mile you'll get good views of the Emmons Glacier,the largest in the lower 48 states. About 3.5 miles up you reach the campground area and you'll pass through into a large meadow that will have great flower blooms in July. This is a great place to picnic and then head down to the very cold glaciel melt running in a rocky bed. Hiking time to this point is 1 -2 hours depending upon the usual factors: health/fitness/pack weight. If you venture past the meadow stay on the main trail and keep an eye out for marmots and mountain goats. Do not "play" on the glacier without the necessary equipment or experience. Leave that to the mountaineers.
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