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Mount Rainier National Park: A Hiking Guide to the Skyline Loop Trail

Updated: Jun 1


The Skyline Loop is one of the most popular hiking trails at Mount Rainier National Park and for good reason—on this trail, you’ll find wildlife, glacial peaks, subalpine meadows, and panoramic mountain views. If you only have time to hike one trail at this park, don’t miss this one! This guide will detail what you need to know to plan your visit.


Quick Facts About the Skyline Loop Trail

Distance: 5.7-mile loop

Time: 3 to 4 hours

Difficulty: Moderate

Best time to visit: June to September

Fees: Check here for up-to-date fees


Update: As of February 2024, a reservation is required to enter the park on specific dates. Click here for more details.


Hiking the Skyline Loop Trail

The Skyline Loop can be completed counterclockwise or clockwise—I recommend the latter as it offers unobstructed views of Mount Rainier for a majority of your ascent. The trail begins at these stone-carved steps near the visitor center:



The first section of the trail is a steep uphill climb before it eventually flattens out with views of Mount Rainier.




The remainder of the trail before reaching Panorama Point is a gradual incline. We saw several marmots and other adorable critters along the trail.





On a clear day at Panorama Point, you'll be able to see Mount St. Helens, Mount Adams and Mount Hood.



On the hike down from Panorama Point, you'll pass through subalpine meadows backdropped with a dramatic, jagged mountain range.







At the end of the trail is Myrtle Falls—a postcard waterfall cascading into a rocky gorge, with snow-capped Mount Rainier in the background.



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