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!
- Day Pack
- Hiking boots
- Shorts, light jacket, and light pants - it went from 80 degrees at the Visitor Center to just above 50 at Panorama Point even though it was late July when I visited.
- Head covering
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
Camping, Hiking, Photography
Are we missing something?Suggest an edit
ReviewsLeave a Review
Have you done this adventure? Have something to add? You could be the first to leave a review!
More Adventures Nearby
Backpack to Waptus Lake
Washington / Salmon La Sac Trailhead
Starting at the Salmon La Sac trailhead north of Cle Elum, the Waptus River Trail meanders ten miles through the spectacular Alpine Lakes Wilderness to reach the scenic shores of Waptus Lake.
Stargazing at Artist Point
Washington / Artist Point
A couple things must coincide for you to have a great time watching the milky way at Artist Point.