Let’s hike the Wonderland Trail to Emerald Ridge. We’ll go up the unmaintained Tahoma Creek trail and connect with the Wonderland Trail at the 150 foot high Tahoma Creek Suspension Bridge. We’ll then follow the Wonderland Trail to the top of the ridge and down the other side. At South Puyallup River camp, we’ll leave the Wonderland Trail and continue down to the Westside Road, then follow the road back to our starting point to complete the loop. Afterwards, we may stop somewhere for ice cream or dinner. I will need at least 3 people willing to drive.
• Caution: Tahoma Creek has change course since last year and is now flowing where the creek bed portion of the trail once was. This means fording the creek, so bring Teva sandals or equivalent footwear to ford the creek.• Excerpt from “Backpacking Washington,” by Craig Romano
Hike around and along an emerald wedge lodged beneath the massive Tahoma Glacier and set between two deep canyons of glacier-fed, cloudy, milky, and turbulent creeks. Flowers sway above the moraine and dislodging ice, while herds of mountain goats graze on succulent tubers on precarious ledges. This short loop encompasses a diverse array of forest, mountain, and meadow and takes you to two of the least hiked trails in Mount Rainier National Park.
• Trailhead ETA: 7:45 am. • Round Trip: 13.6 miles.
• Starting Elevation: 2,900 feet. • Ascent Elevation: 3,150 feet.
• High Point: 5,600 feet. • Difficulty: Moderate/difficult.
• Pace: Slow/moderate. • Hiking Time: 9 hours.
• Special Features: Close-up glacier viewing, mountain goats, columnar basalt, and a cool suspension bridge.
• Maps: Green Trails Mount Rainier Wonderland Trail, No. 269S.
• GPS: N[masked], W121 53.108.
What to Bring: Day pack with the 10 Essentials, appropriate hiking attire (no blue jeans, cotton clothing, or sneakers), plenty of water, lunch/energy snacks, sturdy/comfortable shoes + a bag for wet/soiled pairs, trekking poles, sun preventatives, bug repellent, and your camera! Dress according to the forecast (layers!).
Contact: Longmire Wilderness Information Center, (360) 569-6650.
Permits/Regulations: $15 per vehicle for a 7-day entrance permit or $30 per vehicle for an annual pass. Group size limited to twelve. Fires prohibited. Dogs prohibited.
Getting there: From Tacoma, follow State Route 7 south for 40 miles to Elbe. Continue east on SR 706, past Ashford, reaching Mount Rainier National Park in 6 miles. At 1 mile past the entrance station, turn left on Westside Road and reach the trailhead (elev. 2,900 ft) in 3.3 miles.
Useful Links: 7-Day Weather Forecast
• Hiking Guide Description and Trip Reports
Robert's Cell: (253) 677-6992.
Disclaimer: Trailside is not a professional guide service. Our leaders function, as facilitators only, to enhance your outdoor experience. Reports of trail and weather conditions are based on best available information, are subject to change, and are no guarantee of fitness for any particular purpose or appropriate for a certain fitness level. You may join us on this hike at your own risk. Keep in mind that hiking involves risks and weather changes quickly in the mountains. You are responsible for your own safety and the more prepared you are, the better the chance you will remain safe. Signing up for any Trailside organized event indicates that you have read, understand, and agree to the terms of this disclaimer and hold harmless all Trailside Organizers and Leaders in the event of injury or loss.