If there is a trail between earth and heaven, this is it.
Those words, written by noted conservationist, avid hiker and guidebook author Harvey Manning, pretty much tell you all you need to know about this trail.
But I’ll add a few details.
This is a moderately strenuous loop hike that takes you face-to-face with Mt. Rainier’s two largest glaciers—Winthrop and Emmons. (Emmons is the largest glacier in the U.S. outside Alaska.) Starting at an elevation of 6,385 feet (1946 meters), this trail climbs approximately 1,000 ft. (305 m) to 7,400 ft. (2256 m), so you’ll want to be in good physical condition and wear sturdy hiking shoes or boots. (I can provide hiking poles.)
Hike length can be tailored to your liking, but is a minimum of 6 miles and a maximum of 9 miles. On a summer weekday, you may find we have the mountain and the glaciers to ourselves, except for the marmots, pikas, and, perhaps, mountain goats. Midway through the hike we’ll enjoy a gourmet lunch at the climax viewpoint.
Snacks, drinks, and gourmet lunch are included. At your option, on the return to Seattle, we’ll stop for a post-hike meal or refreshments at one of the mountain roadside taverns or a snack bar.
This adventure is available from July 15 to October 1.
Hiker Level: 1 2 3 4
Round-trip travel time: 4.5 hours
Hiking Time: 4 hours
Total time: 9 hours (10 hours with optional post-hike refreshment stop)
Best departure time: 7 a.m.
Best season: July 15—September 15
(Prices exclude Washington state sales tax)