Spray Park - Mt. Rainier {day hike}

RSVPs open on July 3rd.

Spray Park is one of my favorite places in Mt. Rainier National Park. Most of the hike is in the cool, shady forest. There are a few short side trails along the way: one takes you to a great viewpoint of Mt. Rainier and the other to Spray Falls. The payoff is when you get to Spray Park. You have been surrounded by trees the entire way. You walk across a small log bridge, suddenly the trees come to an end, and bang! There are wildflowers everywhere! As a bonus, Mt. Rainier looms in the background. Wow!

From WTA:
In many ways, you never recover from your first walk into Spray Park. The trail isn't difficult to follow. It's just difficult to forget. The 3.5-mile walk leads to seemingly endless open meadows of heather and alpine blossoms that tease the nose, ease the mind, and tickle the imagination. The place is a virtual lily factory. The so-called park itself--actually a vast corridor of open meadows interspersed among rocky moraines, lingering snow patches, whistling marmots, and sun-basking hikers--is a wonder to behold in the summer, truly qualifying as one of Rainier's most magnificent day-hike destinations. Even though the Mowich entrance to Rainier is a lesser-used, backdoor way into the park, this trail also can be (understandably) quite crowded. But Spray Park is a broad enough area, rife with so many hidden pockets of meadow between rock formations, that it's still possible to grab some solitude among the blossoms.

From Mowich Lake, the trail drops quickly (less than 0.1 mile) to a junction with the Wonderland Trail and then climbs gradually for the next 1.7 miles through sun-filled forests. At this point, you'll find a broad side trail on the right leading a short 0.25 mile down to Spray Falls, a worthwhile side trip (seriously, do not skip this side trip).

After your 0.5-mile excursion to the falls, continue climbing as the trail turns steeply upward through a series of switchbacks. At about 2.5 miles from the trailhead, you'll climb out of the switchbacks and move across Grant Creek. The forest opens onto increasingly broad clearings and meadows, providing views of Hessong Rock (6385 feet) to the north and the hulk of Mount Rainier to the southeast. The trail continues to climb, more gradually now, through broad fields of flowers. Stop anywhere along here--there are endless options for picnic spots with grand views. To find the best views, though, push on to the spine of the rocky ridge separating Spray Park from Seattle Park to the east. Here, at around 3.5 miles out, you'll find a cool rock garden at 6400 feet.

Details:
Mileage (round trip): 7.5
Elevation Gain: 1,600 ft
Maximum Elevation: 6,400 ft
Difficulty: Moderate (3/5)
Pass: Mt. Rainier Park entrance fee - $15 per car. Note that you have to pay by cash or check. You put the payment into an envelope, and place it into a payment slot. There is no way to use plastic. Obviously, an annual Mt. Rainier pass will work.
Trailhead coordinates: [masked], [masked]
Links: http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/spray-park

Chuck's cell:[masked] Chuck's car: Black Chevy Volt

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. 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.

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  • Kathe

    Thank You Chuck for organizing ....A Friendly, welcoming group.... great time w/all ** A BIG hug , pat on the back to Paul for leading our small group above & beyound > upward to the an area called **The GAP ** and pointing out / explaining all the landmarks etc...

    1 · August 3, 2014

    • Paul

      Thanks Kathe, it was fun!

      2 · August 3, 2014

  • dale

    Chuck it was a pleasure hiking with you and the rest. I like your relaxed responsible common sense way of leading a hike.

    2 · August 3, 2014

  • Christine

    Wonderful hike!! Beautiful wildflowers! Great group of people! Amazing views!!

    1 · August 3, 2014

  • David V

    Great hike thank you Chuck

    1 · August 3, 2014

  • Paul

    Thanks everyone for a great hike and beautiful day in the high country. Thanks Chuck for organizing!

    2 · August 3, 2014

  • Paul

    This was my 1st meet-up hike and a very fun experience with nice and friendly fellow hikers.

    2 · August 3, 2014

  • marsha

    Lena, should I pick U up at 7 on Crosby and Apt. drive in. ?

    August 1, 2014

    • Lena

      Sounds awesome!

      August 1, 2014

    • marsha

      see you in 30!

      August 2, 2014

  • Andy

    Sorry, I am up to get ready but feel a bit under the weather. Do not like to cancel this late but I think I have to back out. You all have good time. See you in another hike.

    August 2, 2014

  • marsha

    I have Anita, Lena and Beth in my car. Could take one more? Any takers..

    August 1, 2014

    • dale

      I tried to contact you because I wanted a ride. Now I will just go to P&R at South Hill to try to catch ride there with someone.

      August 2, 2014

  • O. John Z.

    Anybody driving down from Seattle?

    August 1, 2014

  • Don D.

    I need a ride :) I have a car and can meet where ever. My car is pretty darn old lol

    August 1, 2014

    • Chuck M.

      Just come to the Puyallup P&R. We can set up a carpool from there.

      August 1, 2014

  • Paul

    I can drive if needed and take 3 comfortably, 4 okay. I have a park pass.

    July 27, 2014

    • Paul

      If any folks are coming from Seattle area and can get to the Greenlake/65th St. P&R, I would be glad to drive/carpool from there.

      July 27, 2014

    • O. John Z.

      Hi Paul I'm in Seattle. Can I ride with you? I'll contribute to gas off course. Let me know :). I'll send us an email too.

      August 1, 2014

  • Bethany

    Is there anyone coming from Olympia, that I can carpool with?

    July 30, 2014

    • marsha

      HI, saw ur ? this morning, but called into work, so late reply. If you want to meet us at P&R Martin way (See Above)

      August 1, 2014

    • marsha

      OK great, text from Anita, you will join us. See U bright and early!

      August 1, 2014

  • marsha

    Sorry 4 the late entry. ( got called into work just as I was going to post this) Anita and I will be meeting at the Martin Way park and ride, near Regal Martin theater at 0715. She is riding with me and I can take 3 more in my SUV. If ur from Oly as mentioned can take three more :)

    August 1, 2014

    • Anita

      Lena wants to ride with us too

      1 · August 1, 2014

    • Anita

      And Bethany

      1 · August 1, 2014

  • Cindy S

    Is anybody leaving from Tacoma (North End)? I don't have a car and thus no way to get to the meeting point without a ride.

    August 1, 2014

    • dale

      Wish I had known this sooner I may have gone further to get there. Hope you can make it to the P&R.

      August 1, 2014

  • Paul

    Looking forwArd to a great hike tomorrow. Will see you all at the P&R

    August 1, 2014

  • Gayle M

    Was up last weekend and the paintbrush was just starting to show...the avalanche lilies were fading at the lower meadow area, but when I went to the upper meadows they were still strong. The purple and pink flowering bushes were just starting to bloom. I hope that they are more prominent for your hike as those meadows and views are breathtaking. I got some great shots, but wish I had more flowers !!!

    August 1, 2014

  • Angie Y.

    Spent last weekend backpacking at Rainier and camped at Summerland - the flowers were just starting to pop so this should be gorgeous! Look for bears- we saw two in the same day, with one at our camp. The marmots are small dog sized and busy!

    2 · July 31, 2014

  • Paul

    I just got off the waitlist and can drive if needed, my car holds four.

    July 31, 2014

  • Patti

    I just cancelled. Shoot!! And I was so looking forward to it. Take lots of photos, please, so those who can't go can enjoy the beautiful scenery!!

    July 29, 2014

  • Monica

    So sorry I'm gonna have to miss this hike. Duty calls and I am not able to get off work. Enjoy everyone!

    July 24, 2014

  • Paul

    From a WTA trip report from yesterday (7/21): -"Wildflowers in Spray just starting to pop. Give it a couple weeks for the full show." That should work out perfectly for us with the timing of this hike!

    3 · July 22, 2014

  • Patti W.

    Where's that list of essentials needed?
    I have hiking shoes, need to get hiking poles,
    and .... other stuff, perhaps. :-)?

    July 12, 2014

  • Lisa H.

    Chuck, I can't make it this weekend after all so I updated my RSVP. The 2 attendees will be Rachel and Maryjane.

    July 10, 2014

  • Chuck M.

    I changed the date from 8/16 to 8/2 due to selfish reasons. I am hiking the Enchantments on 8/5, and I substituted the (relatively) easier Spray Park hike so that my legs would be ready for the Enchantments hike.

    April 20, 2014

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Allison

Meetup has allowed me to meet people I wouldn't have met naturally - they're totally different than me.

Allison, started Women's Adventure Travel

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