Day Hiking: Mount Rainier National Park
by Dan A. Nelson & Alan L. Bauer (The Mountaineers Books)
© Dan A. Nelson & Alan L. Bauer/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.
As a beginner, I hiked Rampart Ridge from the Trail of Shadows junction and I found it a nice challenge. There was a great deal of Vine Maple (Acer circinatum) growing all over the slope on the way up. I was surprised to find the best view from this trail to be about .5 miles passed the official viewpoint. There was still packed ice and snow along the ridge which presented some challenges but it was a good workout for me.
Hiked with my wife last weekend and had a wonderful time. It's a nice workout, but nothing over the top. The view from the the ridge was breathtaking.
We hit the trail by 7:30 am. It was a agressive steady climb toward the ridge. The altimeter indicated 2460 feet at the trail head. The ridge comes in at about 3780 feet. The trail was clear and in excellent condition. However, once we headed down the north and easterly exposures of the ridge we encountered about 3-4 feet of snow on the trail. It was deepest at the gaps in the tree cover. The going was still easy and we made good time. While at the top we were able to take in some great vistas and made the trip a great one. Once intersected the Wonderland we made a more agressive descent. We worked our way over the snow to about 3460 feet and the snow just disappeared. It was a moderate level of difficulty and a great way to begin the hiking season. Enjoy!!
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