dogs on leash
A great trail full of gorgeous views. It's pretty easy and only takes about 1 1/2 hours to get around, and there is a nice stopping place at about the halfway point for a break. Easy enough for the kids to tag along but just enough of a climb and distance to feel as though you're getting some exercise in.
Trail was in good condition, I wish I was. Weather was perfect, no wind, light clouds, temps mild. Trail can branch off in places but if you stay on the well traveled path you will not stray. There are nice views from this trail but I reached the ridge near midday and the noon sun tends to wash out the colors. I was hoping for some good fall colors but there was little. Most of the flowers were gone and there was a decaying stench on the lower portion of the trail. Crowds were low but present. There were a lot of dogs and even one puppy. Trail starts out fairly level almost to Sheep Lake then starts to climb to Sourdough Gap on a mild slope. All in all, an easy trail. To see Rainier and Crystal Lake, you have to hike to the next ridge which is a short distance and a little beyond. I was anticipating the lake at the first ridge. Once you get to the second ridge, Mount Rainier will be to the extreme left obscured by the trees. Continue along the trail into the park and you will be rewarded with beautiful views of Crystal Lake and Mount Rainier.
If you want to take out of town visitors on an easy but drop dead gorgeous hike, this is the one!
August is probably the best time of year, as the wildflowers are amazing. But any time is great if the you have halfway clear weather and mountain is 'out'.
Did this hike recently with friends on Labor Day, and had only a peek-a-boo view of Rainier, and the wildflowers were just about done... But as always this was a fun day.
If you go, a clockwise route is best for views... Have fun!
This trail is not easy. The incline is very intense. I would call this hike moderate. I'm not a very avid hiker... yet... but it seemed difficult for more than just me. It is, however, definitely worth it. The view at the top and around the corner was absolutely stunning.