Get stunning views of Mt. Rainier in this short but very steep hike carved up a mountain, that, if hit at the right time, explodes with wildflowers. At the top a newly repaired fire lookout welcomes you with panoramic views of the surrounding peaks.

After a rough drive to the trailhead you’ll have little time to catch your breath as the trail laces up the mountain side, but with Rainier to distract you, it won’t be long until you’re at the top with a view that is more than enough reward for your efforts.

Pay very close attention to the driving directions - the forest road is rough, narrow, and splits in many places that could lead you astray. While manageable for most all vehicles, the road will be bumpy (not pot holes so much as washboards). 

As you pass Greenwater, keep your eye out for an unmarked road on your left that will appear after two miles. This is Forest Road 70 and it is nicely paved. All further directions are from this point.

At 8 miles, turn left onto a road signed 7030 and an arrow. At 11.9 miles, come to a T and turn left, staying on unsigned 7030. At 12.4 miles go straight, not right and uphill. At 13.1 miles turn right to stay on 7030. At 14.4 miles keep your eye out for the small parking area and trailhead on the left. Do not keep following this road, it becomes dangerously narrow and rocky as it plummets quickly downward.

Also, watch out for wildlife, as we ran across four large elk and a black bear on these roads alone, never mind the trail.

Once arriving at the trailhead walk along the gently climbing road until the trees open up to a sweeping view of Mt. Rainier. Don’t get too excited, while the path opens up in front of you, look to your right where a sign reminds you that your journey is a much more laborious one. Head to the right where the trail starts upward in very tight switchbacks with some loose rock and dirt underfoot. If here during July, or whenever the wildflowers feel like awakening, you’ll be delighted to see lupine and Indian paint-brush as well as other flowers blanketing the mountain side. You will have an unobstructed view of Mt. Rainier for this entire section.

After approximately 1.3 miles, the trail straightens out and takes you through a lightly wooded area as you crest the butte. Soon, you will pop out on the other side, and be greeted by the sight of the fire lookout just ahead on its rocky perch. Behind you Mt. Rainier rests. Sign the log in the fire lookout, enjoy the views, reapply the bug spray, and head down when you are ready. 

Pack List

  • 10 essentials
  • Daypack
  • Camera
  • Food and Water
  • Sunscreen and bug spray 
  • Trekking Poles
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RT Distance 3.4 Miles
Elevation Gain 1100 Feet
Activities Chillin, Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Forest
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

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

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