Hike the Skyline Loop in Mt. Rainier NP

5.5 miles 1700 ft gain  - Loop Trail

Added by Jared Blitz

The draw is pretty self-explanatory the moment you get there. Nisqually Glacier towering above, wildflowers in full bloom surrounding you, tremendous viewpoints, cool air. There isn't a much better place to be during the summer.

The trailhead to Skyline Trail is located at the north side of the upper parking lot near the Visitor Center and Paradise Inn. You'll see that it breaks off into many other small trails if you want, as well. However, this 5.5 mile hike alongside Nisqually Glacier is classified by the rangers at Mt. Rainier as strenuous. I would say for the first 1/2 mile or so that rings true. It almost feels like a vertical climb at times, but the trail is asphalt for this part so footing isn't an issue. Once you're past this point the trail becomes a lot more tolerable if you're in decent shape.

Your goal should be to get to Panorama Point at 6800ft. From here you get to see anything and everything in the park as well as a good look at the trail loop (also a pit toilet up here). Even a mediocre sunset makes you feel like you don't want to be anywhere else in the world if you're there for wildflower season. I'm not a botanist, so I can only tell you there were a variety of plants and flowers in yellow, green, pink, blue, purple, red, white, beige...it's a spectacular sight. You certainly won't have to look too hard for whistling marmots either. They're everywhere!

Read More

Tags

Camping
Photography
Hiking
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Groups
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Explorer

🥇Top Contributor

2 months ago

Beautiful but crowded

An absolutely stunning hike with sweeping views of Mount Rainier and the Cascade Range to the south, including the dramatic Tatoosh Wilderness Peaks. We hiked this on August 15 (Saturday) and the wildflowers were in full bloom. We arrived to the trailhead at 6:45am and the parking lot was almost full. There were TONS of people on the trail up to Panorama Point but after that we had some more solitude. There were still some sections of trail still covered in snow, but we were able to handle them without poles. Highly recommend this hike, but get there early to beat the crowds!

🥇Top Contributor

4 months ago

That elevation gain tho...

That elevation gain takes you by SURPRISE! Bring your poles, I’m glad my dad and I did. The view is worth it!!

Stay Nearby

Loop C

Cougar Rock Campground

Overview Cougar Rock Campground, on the southwest side of Mt. Rainier National Park, is convenient to the Paradise area. Paradise is the most popular destination in the park, with a lodge and visit...

Loop C

Cougar Rock Group Campground

Overview Cougar Rock Group Campground, on the southwest side of Mt. Rainier National Park, is conveniently located to the Paradise area. Paradise is the most popular destination in the park, with a...

Ashford, Washington

Mt. Rainier Guest Services

This 146 room Lodge and Inn offer a number of full-service restaurants and store. 

From $109/night

Packwood, Washington

Ohanapecosh Campground

Overview Ohanapecosh Campground, on the southeast side of Mount Rainier National Park, is surrounded by old growth forest and crossed by an exceptionally beautiful snow-fed river. Close to Ohanapec...

Nearby Adventures

  • Snowshoe the Skyline Trail

    Nicely situated a couple hours south of Seattle and north of Portland, Mt. Rainier is easily accessible. Before leaving make sure to pack a set of snow chains, for the park requires chains for most vehicles throughout the winter. Head towards the ...

    5.5 miles 1450 ft gain

  • Hike to Panorama Point

    This 5.4 mile loop hike begins at the Paradise Visitors Center in Mount Rainier National Park. You just follow the skyline trail that begins from the steps with the John Muir quote on them. The hike goes up 1700 feet to its highest point at 7100 f...

    5.4 miles 1700 ft gain

  • Snowshoe to Panorama Point Mount Rainier National Park

    Arrive at Longmire in Mount Rainier National park about 9a.m. They open the gate during the late season at this time so you will want to get ahead of the crowd, especially if it is a beautiful day! This time of year it is required to carry chains,...

    3.2 miles 1700 ft gain

  • Summit Mount Rainier via the Muir Route

    Starting at 5,400ft at Paradise Inn parking lot, the hike begins. Stops and breaks vary on the physical condition that you are in, but at around 2.2 miles you reach Muir snowfield. Depending on the weather (if you aren't wearing your climbing boot...

    16 miles 9010 ft gain