Earlier this month, my friend and I visited Mount Rainier National Park and hiked the Skyline Loop Trail. Despite there being over 260 trails at the park, we're glad we chose this one — the trail was jaw-droppingly beautiful. Along the trail you’ll find abundant wildlife, pine forests, glacial peaks, alpine meadows, and panoramic mountain views. If you only have time to hike one trail at the park, don’t miss this one!
Distance: 6.2 miles
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Best time to visit: July until October
Fees: Check here for up-to-date fees
Hiking the Skyline Loop Trail
The Skyline Loop Trail can be done counterclockwise or clockwise — I recommend the latter as you’ll have views of Mount Rainier almost the entire way up. I recommend getting to the parking lot no later than 9 a.m. as spots fill up quickly. The trail begins at these stone-carved steps near the visitor center:
The initial part of the trail requires a steep uphill climb before it eventually flattens out with clear views of Mount Rainier.
Most of the trail before reaching Panorama Point requires moderate incline. We saw several marmots and other critters along the trail.
At Panorama Point, we were able to see Mount St. Helens, Mount Adams and even Mount Hood.
The hike down from Panorama Point was just as stunning as we passed through subalpine meadows, pine forests, and running creeks.
At the end of the trail, you’ll be rewarded with Myrtle Falls — a picturesque waterfall with Mount Rainier as the backdrop.