Explore SW Rainier Trails - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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Did this with two kids ages 4 & 8, they loved it. Definitely stop at bench lake first. Lots of bear tracks/scat so be aware.

A good hike for work/reward balance since it’s so short and the views are stunning on a clear day. Climbing the switchbacks is comprable to doing 100 flights on the stairmaster, so it challenged me, but would probably be fine for many who are very fit/have hiking poles/take frequent breaks. It is all uphill with only one or two little stretches that are neutral. From the saddle, you can see Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood, and if you keep going up to the peak on the left side after the saddle, you can see Mt. St Helen’s on the far right of the horizon. A beautiful hike with good weather as of 10/17, I started off with layers but shed them as I ascended.

amazing views and the falls are awesome!!!

It’s amazing! No snow today but absolutely worth it. On a clear day you can see Mount Helen and Baker

great hike!!! loved it.
get there early there is very limited parking at the trail head.

Such a great little trail. I definitely recommend veering off and visiting bench lake. We were able to see a perfect reflection of Mount Rainier in the lake. We also saw 2 black bears and a lot of moose tracks around snow lake. Would definitely recommend.

This was a beautiful hike but definitely difficult. If you’re not a frequent exerciser in great shape, I’d say try something else. The incline was pretty intense with not a lot of flat area breaks. Not sure I’d say the view at the top was worth it but it was nice to look at.

One of my favorite hikes! Amazing reward for little work. Views all the way up are incredible and if you are lucky enough to have a really clear day, you can see Mount Adams and Mount Hood from the top! The trail is pretty rocky so good shoes are recommended, but the incline is not bad at all. No snow on the trail as of 10/14 but it was definitely cold so be prepared.

nice view all the way to the peak. Luckily see a black bear at the 15 minutes walk.

So so gorgeous ! But if you hate incline almost 97% of the way than this will not be your best friend lol but it’s so worth it and peaceful at the top! Beautiful sunny day!

One of the best! Start getting into the snow near the top of comet falls, before Van Trump trail.

hiking
1 month ago

To quote someone we met at the top of the trail, “This is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.”

Sunny day; autumn colors; brilliant blue sky; could not have been better. Clear views of Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier (of course) and Mt. Hood from Plummer Peak. So much nicer hiking here rather than the rat race at Paradise.

Hiked this trail to Bench Lake At the end of September. Absolutely stunning!! We had a beautiful day so the fall colors just popped. There are some decent climbs along the way but the trail is well maintained with built in steps. Our four year old loved it as it was interesting and challenging enough to keep him moving but not so over the top that he gave up. Highly recommend taking the spur trail down to the shore of bench lake-it is a bit of a “scramble” but again, the four year old did it and I had a baby in a frame carrier and made it just fine. About half way down the spur trail it forks-the trail to the right is a bit easier but both do end up on the shore.

love love loved this hike. I am active and prepared... those that are sight seeing this hike is harder. I did do this one with my 12 yr old son. views all the way along the trail. a lot uphill. well maintained trail though. fall colors spurt out through the entire hike! so much to see! overall, loved this hike more than any of the 7 mini and I have done this year!

Great hike overall but more difficult than I was lead to believe from various reviews on here. Previous reviews say the first mile is steep, but I say the entire 2.5 miles is steep and can be more difficult at certain points. Good news is that there are plenty of places to pull off to the side to catch your breath and take a break. The view of Christine Falls is 100% worth the trek. If you hike further up you can get a nice cool mist from the falls to help you cool off and is quite refreshing. Parking is scarce so get there early or drive a few feet from the main parking lot to find an overflow lot to park at.

hiking
1 month ago

Started at 7:40 am. Clear skies. Temp 48. Distance: 12.1 mi
Final destination was Gobblers Knob via Lake George. Overall a very nice hike. Granted the uneventful 3.5 mile jaunt on the forestry road from the parking to the actual trail head has little to be desired. But once at the T/H, the hike is simple (0.9 mi w/ ~400 ft gain). The lake was very pretty. There is a full campsite with restrooms. After a few photos, I continued to Gobblers knob.

The hike from Lake George to the lookout was 1.6 mi (marked signage). The trail starts off nice and wide, but some points it became narrow with some slight overgrowth around the "fields" areas just before the "dirty brown pond". Don't panic, keep trekking it will shortly open up wide and clear again. As the real incline begins (note in 1.6 miles w/ gain of ~1200 ft. and 9 or so switchbacks) its like any other good trail. Not rooty or rocky....just right. Mt Rainier comes into view as you go higher.
At the top, full 360 as you walk around the lookout (in very good condition I might add). I saw a mountain goat pop up about 75 ft away on a rock ledge to say hello...I was the first up there today so he must have been lonely. lol. Stayed about 20 min and back down. Check out my pics here. Enjoy!

walking
1 month ago

Great little path! We got to the park late in the afternoon and wanted to do something easy/quick, yet get some cool sights of Mount Rainier. This was a super easy, paved path that had such vivid flowers/trees changing colors for fall, and awesome views of the mountain towards the middle.

Beautiful fall colors and lots of opportunities for pictures. There are a lot of stair-like steps from 12-24+ inches both up and both directions. We were glad we brought our hiking poles. No bugs and light traffic in a Friday.

Hiked this trail September 20th, 2018. Easy trail with great Washington Scenery. I got there very early about 6:30-7am and there was a lot of fog. Ran into lots of doe and had to step off the paved trail to allow 2 bucks to walk by me. If you are there early watch out for the mule deer because they blend right in. I turned a corner and there was a buck about 4 feet from me right on the side of the trail. The fogginess prevented me from getting any good views at the overlooks so try to go for a clear day. I was passing through so I thought I would stop and hike for a few hours

My experience was 5 stars, with cool weather in the low 60s, no clouds blocking Mt Rainier and total seclusion for the last 4+ Miles (we didn’t see or hear a single person). With worse weather or larger crowds, it would probably be a 4. The switchbacks through heavy forest cover are repetitive and take over an hour, but the payoff view of Mount Rainier is absolutely worth it. Skip the first viewpoint. Moderate difficulty is about right. No sketchy areas, just a long climb.

This was a Great Hike, especially because the weather was good! Must hike all the way for the best rewards! Lots of elevation gain, but with spectacular views at every level. Even got views of Mount Saint Helens.

Nice walk with info signs.

We hiked this on 9/12 and I absolutely loved this one. Didn’t see anyone else on our hike so was nice to be alone. Just got partial views of the top of Rainier with the overcast weather. Some blue skies came through but never revealed the entire mountain so I could only imagine how much more amazing this could have been. We did get some views though and as we stopped at the visitors center afterward they said they hadn’t had any view of the mountain all day. I agree with previous reviews hiking poles definitely helped as there is quite a bit of elevation and lots of rocks on your path.

Teaser views of the summit along the way, as well as various smaller waterfalls, before reaching Comet Falls. Continue past the falls to Mildred Point for a great view of Rainier, glaciers/glacial streams, and the upper valleys. Well worth the visit! Best visited in late summer/early fall when the snow has melted in the upper valleys.

This is one really tall waterfall. Using a trekking pole was helpful on the way down to keep my 50-year-old knees from getting sore. If you are short on time or stamina, the view from the bridge ABOVE Christine Falls is very worthwhile and about 10 minutes from the trail head.

When you can’t see the mountain, this hike is a nice alternative. Beautiful falls, and a moderate - easy hike. There are a lot of switchbacks and very poor signage so it can be very tiring if you don’t know where you’re going, and continue past the falls to the meadows area. Saw lots of kids on the trail, so it is very family friendly

hiking
2 months ago

Too long on the road before hitting the trail

Great pay off once at Comet falls with teaser falls along the way. Probably best in spring with more water and wild flowers. Not too strenuous. Really enjoyed it.

The waterfall at the end made it well worth it!

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