Mount Rainier 2015: Rampart Ridge Trail


One thing that isn’t in short supply at Mount Rainier National Park is beautiful hikes!  And we were able to experience a fantastic day of hiking!

Our Sunday at Mount Rainier National Park was spent on a couple of hikes – one short and easy, and one long and hard. We first hiked the Trail of the Shadows, a short, flat hike right across the street from the National Park Inn. We saw old growth forest, the mineral springs that James Longmire spent his time marketing to tourists, and a few of the 100 year old structures built around the springs, now in ruins.

The Mineral Springs don't look like much now, but they are still bubbling!

The Mineral Springs don’t look like much now, but they are still bubbling!

The springs at some points just bubble from the ground – it is fascinating to see! We also saw Elcaine Longmire’s (James Longmire’s son) cabin near the springs, built in 1888. It was neat to see how small and dark it was – I can’t imagine living in such a small, dark place all winter long!

This is the 1888 cabin of Elcaine Longmire, one of James Longmire's sons

This is the 1888 cabin of Elcaine Longmire, one of James Longmire’s sons

Then we began the Rampart Ridge Trail. It begins with several switchbacks that take you up high onto a ridge – the elevation gain is about 1300’. The hiking on the switchbacks is still pretty steep at times; I definitely had to stop and rest several times on the way up. While hiking this section, which was about 1.6 miles, we were treated to beautiful and peaceful old growth forest. Once we got to the top, we were greeted with a neat bird’s eye view of the Longmire Historic District and the National Park Inn!

The switchbacks up the mountain on the Rampart Ridge hike

The switchbacks up the mountain on the Rampart Ridge hike

 

Looking down (on super-zoom) at the National Park Inn from Rampart Ridge

Looking down (on super-zoom) at the National Park Inn from Rampart Ridge

The hike then led us for a while along the top of the ridge. We got a fantastic view of the mountain at one point, and then began heading back down to the valley floor. We didn’t see any bears (maybe that’s a good thing, but it would have been awesome to see one at a safe distance!), but we did see deer. And we heard the alarm call of a marmot, but sadly didn’t see him. The entire hike is 4.6, 4.9, or 5.0 miles, depending on which combination of signs and park materials you believe – I’m going with 5.0!  We figure with adding the Trail of the Shadow spur we were probably close to 6 miles.

Me with Mount Rainier on Rampart Ridge

Me with Mount Rainier on Rampart Ridge

 

A small waterfall on the Rampart Ridge hike

A small waterfall on the Rampart Ridge hike

Once we got back to the National Park Inn, we were more than ready for a late lunch. We both had grass fed burgers with pretzel buns on the front porch of the Inn; and we split a soda and a beer. The beef just melted in our mouths, and the buns were to die for!

 

My delicious grass fed burger at the National Park Inn, after our Rampart Ridge hike

My delicious grass fed burger at the National Park Inn, after our Rampart Ridge hike

We relaxed in the chairs on the front porch, enjoying the fantastic view of this amazing mountain before resigning ourselves to the long, drive home. We loved our weekend trip, and have warm memories of our first visit to Mount Rainier!

Have you hiked Trail of the Shadows or Rampart Ridge at Mount Rainier?  What was your favorite part?

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2 thoughts on “Mount Rainier 2015: Rampart Ridge Trail

  1. Pingback: Ciao 2015! | Wine and History Visited

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