Lake City, WA
Pathfinder | 140 pts
Juniper Ridge #261 - The South Cascades
Took off with a group of 7 hikers to Juniper Peak.
We got a late start and got to the trailhead south of Tongue Mt. at about 2:30 pm. It was hot and sunny.
The trail climbs steadily, but not too steeply. As you approach the ridgeline, the wildflowers are plentiful and the vista opens up to display the Mt. Rainier in all its glory. As we hiked along the ridgeline, the wildflowers became even more abundant and Mt. Adams came into view.
Once we rounded Juniper Peak, Mt. St. Helens with a thin stream of steam rising came into view.
we scrambled the remaining distance to the summit and took in the BREATHTAKING 360 degree view of the South Cascades, including Rainier, Adams, St. Helens, and a narrow snow-capped peak to the south.
There was not a trace of cloud in the sky!
The hike down was pleasant and we drove to the nearest stream to cool off. There was no natural water along the entire hike.
The downside of this trail is that it is open to motorbikes. As a result, the trail is rutted, sometimes deeply, presenting some hazards for the ankles. During the entire hike, only one group of 2 motorbikes passed us. We scurried off the trail and they quickly passed. The rut is annoying, the noise and fumes and a nuisance and really detract from this incredible trail, but I'm glad I decided to grit my teeth and hike this trail.
The views along the way were amazing and the view from the summit was breathtaking.
At the register at the trailhead I complained about the motorbikes, but even with them, I highly recommend this trail.