Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier's Skyline Trail has breathtaking views

September 22, 2010, 9:03 am

Time to add another hike to your "must do" list.

Much as the Mist Trail is the signature tourist hike at Yosemite, no summertime visit to Washington's Mount Rainier is complete without a stroll on the Skyline Trail.

The 5-1/2-mile loop is short but steep (1,700 feet of elevation gain), beginning and ending at the Paradise area of Mount Rainier National Park. Don't expect much solitude - Paradise is the most visited part of the park - but crowds don't detract from the mind-blowing panoramic views and wildflower displays.

Mount Rainier is known for its glaciers. The peak's flanks, however, are covered with meadows and snow-fed streams. John Muir, who visited in 1888, called it, "the most luxuriant and the most extravagantly beautiful of all the alpine gardens I ever beheld in all my mountain-top wanderings."