7 mile roundtrip hike with moderate elevation gain. Perfect views of Mt. Rainier. Hidden meadows. Wildflowers throughout the park. 0.25mi detour to Spray Falls. Less crowded than main entrances to Rainier.

The trailhead to Spray Park begins at the Mowich Lake Campground (4,929 ft). You'll begin descending quickly for the first 0.1 miles until you reach the Wonderland Trail junction. Head left and make your way up a steady climb for the next 1.7 miles. The first stop you'll come across is Eagle Cliff - a fenced viewpoint high above Spray Creek with your first view of Rainier. Soon after you'll pass Eagle's Roost Camp (4,885 feet), which is an awesome place to spend the night.

At this point, there's a short 0.25 mile detour to Spray Falls. You have to take it. It's definitely worth the extra time and effort to see this massive waterfall cascading down the rocks.

Once you've finished your detour hike, it's time for some switchbacks and quick elevation gain. Fight through the pain because as soon as you clear the forest, you'll enter into the start of the beautiful meadows (~6,400 feet). From here on out, anywhere would be a good place to stop and rest. Flowers are blooming all over, Rainier is towering off in the distance, and snowmelt makes its way through the fields. It feels like this is where all fairytales are based off of.

Pack List

  • 25L Day pack
  • Trail shoes or boots
  • Water + Snacks
  • Camera
  • Trekking poles
  • Bug spray
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Activities Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Summer, Autumn
Features
Forest
Scenic
Wildflowers

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

about 1 year ago

Switchbacks Will Get Ya, But Power Through To The Meadows!

Turned into one of my favorite Hikes. Went in early July when there was still a little chill. It was medium trafficked probably because of its out-of-the-way trailhead location. The hike to Spray Falls was pretty easy, and the waterfall itself was stunning. I encourage you to continue upwards to the alpine meadows. There are endless switchbacks on your future but once you breakthrough, the wild flowers and melting show and random streams will be oh-so worth in. Lunch in a spring marsh then continue higher! Lakes, streams, snow and spring will greet you! It was ah-ma-zing. Saw some mountain goats in the distance too, so +++ for that. On the way back we ran across a black bear. Or rather, a black bear ran in front of us, and thankfully, continues to barrel up the mountain. Slightly terrifying so take bear warnings seriously. They're out there for sure.

Worth the drive

I was hesitant to drive out to this area of the park because of all the precautions I read about the road, but I'm so glad I did! Yes, the road has some rough sections, but if you take it slow it's totally manageable. Head out early as there is limited parking and you will be ticketed if you don't follow the parking signs. And definitely take the short detour to Spray Falls, but use caution near the slippery rocks.

Favorite Hike in Rainier NP

This whole area of the park is super underrated and doesn't receive as many visitors because it's more difficult to access.


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