Spring Hikes

spring's arrival

By the time spring rolls around we are glad to see the snow melt. Though the snowy high country is sublime our hearts begin to yearn for that first long trill of a Varied Thrush, the pink flash of a salmonberry blossom, the blinding white blossoms of trilliums and at higher elevations, flowery constellations of yellow glacier lilies and white avalanche lilies.

Spring is bi-polar. Summer one minute, winter the next. Trails may be snow-free but are often muddy. Wear boots and gaiters and dress accordingly. Get an up-to-date weather forecast, check with the park before you go to make sure the trail you want to explore is open.

Be prepared for the unexpected any time of the year and enjoy our bountiful park.


Eastside Trail – Lower

One of the longest trails within Mount Rainier National Park, the Eastside Trail is also one of the park’s quieter trails. Spanning the park’s eastern reaches from Chinook Pass to the Ohanapecosh Campground, the Eastside Trail traverses alpine meadows, primeval forest and a valley that thunders from catapulting creeks and crashing cascades.

Boundary Trail – Carbon River

Area: Carbon River Hike Type: Rainforest Pass: Natl. Park Pass Distance: 2.6 mi RT Duration: 2-3 hrs Difficulty Level: Moderate Elevation Start: 1,768 Elevation End: 3,084 Elevation Gain...

Melmont Ghost Town

Area: Wilkeson / Carbonado Hike Type: Dog-friendly Pass: No Pass Req Distance: 3.84 mi RT Duration: 2-3 hrs Difficulty Level: Easy Elevation Start: 1,063 Elevation End: 1,367 Elevation G...

Rainforest Nature Loop Trail

Area: Carbon River Hike Type: Family-friendly Pass: Natl. Park Pass Distance: 0.3 mi Loop Duration: 0.5-1 hr Difficulty Level: Easy Elevation Start: 1,768 Elevation End: 1,768 Elevation ...

Laughingwater Creek Trail

Area: Cayuse Pass Hike Type: Woodland Pass: None  Distance: 12 mi RT  Duration: 6-7 hrs Difficulty Level: Strenuous Elevation Start: 2,000 Elevation End: 4,825 Elevation Gain: 2,825 S...

Greenwater Lakes

Area: Chinook Lake Hike Type: Family-friendly Pass: Northwest Forest Pass Distance: 4 mi RT Duration: 2 hrs Difficulty Level: Easy Elevation Start: 2,600 Elevation End: 2,800 Elevation G...

Palisades Trail (Hwy 410)

When it still feels like winter, the Palisades often feels like spring. Look for delicate Calypso orchids; enjoy the scent of vanilla leaf, and view the groundcover — a thick carpet of salal,

Packwood Lake

Area: Packwood / Randle Hike Type: Family-friendly Pass: Northwest Forest Pass Distance: 9 mi RT Duration: 4 hrs Difficulty Level: Easy Elevation Start: 2,750 Elevation End: 3,150 Elevat...

Rampart Ridge Trail

Hike along an old lava flow high above the Nisqually River Valley. While the way is mostly forested, there are a couple of decent views along the trail including a pretty awe-inspiring one of the mountain rising above the Kautz Creek valley.

Trail of the Shadows

Area: Longmire Hike Type: Family-friendly Pass: Natl. Park Pass Distance: 0.75 mi Duration: 0.5 hr Difficulty Level: Easy Elevation Start: 2,700 Elevation End: 2,700 Elevation Gain: 0 ...