Comet Falls-Van Trump Trail

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Distance2.4mi
Elevation Gain1,771ft
Trailhead Elevation3,782ft
Top5,304ft
Elevation Min/Max3782/5304ft
Elevation Start/End3782/3782ft

Comet Falls-Van Trump Trail

Comet Falls-Van Trump Trail is a hiking trail in Pierce County, Washington. It is within Mount Rainier National Park. It is 2.4 miles long and begins at 3,782 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 4.9 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,771 feet. This trail connects with the following: Wonderland Trail.

Comet Falls-Van Trump Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"This hike takes you by Comet Falls and up to Van Trump Park, a series of beautiful flower-filled meadows with great views of the Tatoosh Range, Mount Adams, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Rainier. Van Trump Park also offers you ample viewing of Kautz and Van Trump Glaciers.

The trail takes you through beautiful forest to several waterfalls, including Comet Falls, one of the tallest falls in the park. From the flower-filled meadows of Van Trump Park, you can view both the Tatoosh Range and Mount Rainier on a clear day."

"Follow this 4.8-mile out-and-back day hike along a scenic stream-filled gorge to a series of spectacular waterfalls, including the 300-foot-high Comet Falls.

Beyond the falls you’ll find timberline gardens of flowers and meadows on the south slopes of Mount Rainier, where you can wander for views and more views, or just sit and stare up at the icy summit flanks above you."

Comet Falls-Van Trump Trail Reviews

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7/1/2010
Spectacular. The ascent is well worth the view. You can actually walk right up to where the water hits the bottom, that is if you want a very cold shower. Don't even think of getting a picture unless you have a waterproof camera. If you are planning on doing this hike you need to get there early, there are only about 10-12 parking spaces. You cannot park on the side of the road because there isn't one. This trail is rated easy on the trail review. However, if you are not a regular hiker or used to physical activity, this will not be easy. It is all uphill with several steep ascents. Take is slow and you will be rewarded at the end. Read more at Trails.com: Carter Falls | Longmire Washington Hikes | Trails.com http://www.trails.com/tcatalog_trail.aspx?trailId=HGW219-004#ixzz2YqRsv8v8
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8/29/2009
This is a popular trail but if you go early (before 8) you will have the trail mostly to yourself on the way up. Also keep in mind that it is uphill all the way to Van Trump Park so it could be strenuous depending on your physical condition. The trail ascends up a river canyon with the bottom third featuring pretty views of the river cutting thru bedrock creating a series of bowls, water slides and mini falls. I was fortunate to see a Dipper hunting in this fast moving water. You lose sight of the river during the middle section as the trail takes you along the ridge above the canyon thru forest and across a couple of patches of talus. It is not as nice as other parts of the trail but you will probably see Pica in the talus and some other flora/fauna of note. As you near Comet falls the river returns to bedrock as do your pituresque views of rock bowls, water slides and falls. About 300 feet before the first view of Comet falls you will cross a feeder river/stream on a sturdy foot bridge (assuming it hasn't been washed way). There is a rather large multi-level fall here and many folks are duped into thinking it is Comet falls. Continuing on there are several nice view points for Comet falls and if you are interested in getting wet it is an easy scramble to the base of the falls. The hike beyond the falls ascends thru forest and ultimately to the top of the canyon into Van Trump park where the you get to see yet another great view of Mt Ranier, hang out with wildflowers and tromp around on unmaintained trails.
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8/23/2008
The hike was amazing - the misquitos were hungry. The trail is well traveled. The wildflowers were in bloom. A bit of snow was left lingering in Van Trump Park which was fun to find in August. Mt. Goats hung out on the ridge at a distance. Poles are recommended for the bit of trail leading into the valley.
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7/29/2006
The only drawback is the immense popularity of this trail, I went early in the morning but there was dozens of people going up as I went down.
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7/12/2006
We were planning on hiking this trail on July 4th, when we arrived at the trailhead, a sign announced that the bridge is out 1.5 miles from the trailhead. I'm not sure if you still get views of the fall or not. We decided to hike another trail in the park, however the parking area at comet falls was still packed with peaple that still wanted to hike. Hopefully someone will write a report if the bridge is repaired.
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6/18/2006
Hiked most of the way up, but had to turn around before reaching our final destination, Comet Falls, due to time constraints. The portion of the trail we saw was well maintained, and though it was all up hill, it wasn't too strenuous. My 5 year old daughter went w/us (sans pack)and didn't have a problem. We met hikers on their way down where we had stopped before turning back who said that a bridge was out up ahead but we never made it there to see for ourselves. This trail/falls was apparently where a female hiker was found the next day having fallen to her death the previous day or two. So there are some dangerous spots to look out over the creek and falls.
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7/14/2005
My 12 year old daughter and I found this hike to be just right.The trail was challanging, but not so much so as to be discouraging.It was very hot the day we went,and the trail was crowded but it did't take anything away from the beauty and the peace we found there.The grinding altitude gain of the switchbacks comes with the soundtrack of heavy falling water just out of sight.Once the switchbacks were overcome, the way opened up as we scrambled over a rocky scree,greens and flowers crowding the sides.Just beyond is the first big waterwall.The bridge to cross the fast-moving water was simple but a bit scary:a narrow log,flattened on the top, with a "rail" on one side comprised of loose wire strung between three poles spaced way too far apart for my comfort.Just over that rise was the BIG falls.The walls of spray coming at us when we got close felt so good after the hot climb!Kodak moment!One more mile and some incredible views of distant mt.'s, St. Helens, Adams, etc and we hit the top. Flower fields, quiet, a side of Rainier I don't see from way below in the city.What a ride!
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8/6/2004
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5/14/2003
What a great hike! I was on limited time and could not get up to Paradise due to icy roads. Comet Falls looked interesting and it turned out to be a great choice. From the look of the lower stream areas it could be great in the hot summer if the water is flowing. There were a number of naturally shaped bowls in the rock that would be fun to splash around in. When hiking up the trail I had to watch out for the trees unloading large clumps of snow on my head as the branches bowed under the snow's weight. The trail is pretty family-friendly and the falls are a great sight, especially with snow and ice to frame its flow. It really does have the look of a long wispy comet's tail. There are a number of great places to sit and eat lunch and be serenaded by the sound of tumbling water. If you have the time you can continue the om trail's path uphill, possibly all the way to Paradise.
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Trail Information

Mount Rainier National Park
Nearby City
Mount Rainier National Park
Parks
Moderate
Skill Level
Views, Wildflowers, Waterfalls
Features
Longmire Wilderness Information Center: (360) 569-6650
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Nov 2018