Hike the Skyline Loop in Mt. Rainier NP



5.5 miles

Elevation Gain

1700 ft

Route Type


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!

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Known for

Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Picnic Area



Leave a Review

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!

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!!

414 total saves


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We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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