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Skyline Trail picture in Mount Rainier National Park
Feng Wei Photography / Getty Images

Details

  • Hiking, Recreation Type
  • Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.5
Overall
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Scorecard

  • Value
    5.0
  • Facilities
    2.0
  • Atmosphere
    5.0

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

The start of the 5 ½-mile Skyline Trail sits near the entrance to the Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise and is marked by stone steps inscribed with a quote by John Muir that reads: "… the most luxuriant and the most extravagantly beautiful of all the alpine gardens I ever beheld in all my mountain-top wanderings." If you head clockwise, the trail climbs 2 miles to Panorama Point, which rewards hikers with breathtaking views.

After this stop, the park service advises hikers use the High Skyline Trail to avoid a dangerous icy slope that never melts, which connects back to the Skyline above the junction with Golden Gate trail (an alternative for a shorter hike). Views along the way include displays of subalpine wildflowers, Mount Rainier and the Nisqually Glacier, and, on a clear day, peaks as far south as Oregon's Mount Hood.

According to visitors, the hike is well worth the three to five hours it takes to make the round-trip journey, calling the views "spectacular." Reviewers do warn the trail can get crowded at times with other hikers and it is not for those who aren't in good health. Many hikers advise getting an early start to avoid crowds.

Access to the Skyline Trail is included in your park admission. Of note, hikers will find a convenient toilet located at Panorama Point. For more information, including current trail conditions visit the NPS website.

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Paradise picture in Mount Rainier National Park
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#1 Paradise Paradise, which is located at an elevation of 5,400 feet, is a great place to start your park visit and where you'll find the Paradise Jackson Visitor Center ... Read more » jurgita.photography / Getty Images

#2 Sunrise From its elevation at 6,400 feet, Sunrise offers breathtaking, 360-degree views of the surrounding valleys. From this perch, travelers will have views of Mount Rainier and other volcanoes in ... Read more » Mark C Stevens / Getty Images

#3 Grove of the Patriarchs Trail This 1-mile loop trail, which is located west of the Stevens Canyon Entrance on the Ohanapecosh River, takes you to an island where 1,000-year-old Douglas fir and western red ... Read more » MWP / Getty Images

#4 Silver Falls Trail This 3-mile round-trip trail, which begins from the Ohanapecosh Campground, takes visitors to gorgeous Silver Falls and is relatively flat and easy to hike, making it popular with families. The ... Read more » Bruce Heinemann / Getty Images

Feng Wei Photography / Getty Images

#6 Longmire When the park was established in 1899, James Longmire's homestead and mineral springs resort became the park's headquarters. Longmire settled in the area in the mid-1800s, discovered the ... Read more » Jasperdo / Flickr

Paradise picture in Mount Rainier National Park
Sunrise picture in Mount Rainier National Park
Grove of the Patriarchs picture in Mount Rainier National Park
Silver Falls Trail picture in Mount Rainier National Park
Skyline Trail picture in Mount Rainier National Park
Longmire picture in Mount Rainier National Park
Paradise picture in Mount Rainier National Park
Sunrise picture in Mount Rainier National Park
Grove of the Patriarchs picture in Mount Rainier National Park
Silver Falls Trail picture in Mount Rainier National Park
Skyline Trail picture in Mount Rainier National Park
Longmire picture in Mount Rainier National Park

Hiking is a popular activity in the Paradise area of the park. jurgita.photography / Getty Images

From Sunrise, hikers can enjoy great views of Mount Rainier and Emmons Glacier. Mark C Stevens / Getty Images

Centuries-old Douglas fir and western red cedar trees tower overhead in the Grove of the Patriarchs. MWP / Getty Images

Three different hikes of varying lengths lead to the stunning Silver Falls and Ohanapecosh River. Bruce Heinemann / Getty Images

To catch the park's wild flowers in peak bloom along the Skyline Trail, plan your visit for late July. Feng Wei Photography / Getty Images

The Longmire area of the park, which is now a designated national historic district, hosts the building used as the original park headquarters. Jasperdo / Flickr

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