Meet 9AM 512 Park & Ride for Carpool to Paradise at Mt. Rainier, then picnic at Paradise afterwards. Additionally those who do not want to do the 6 mile hike can form the "base camp party support group" who will be tasked with hanging out and playing games staking out good picnic spot where the hikers can join in to at conclusion of the hike. This is weather dependent hike, if it is overcast to misty rain we go for it, but if moderate to heavy rain will cancel it. This hike trailhead is at Paradise Parking lot.
Description of hike:
Skyline Loop Trail
Roundtrip: 6.0 mi.
Elev. gain: 1400 ft
High point: 6800 ft
Features: Rivers, Waterfalls, Wildflowers/Meadows, Mountain views
This route loops around the broad Edith Creek basin, leading through alpine flower fields, past thundering waterfalls, and over high, craggy peaks. In this one loop, you'll experience the best the Paradise region has to offer in terms of scenic beauty, rugged hiking, and varied terrain and ecosystems. You'll also find a memorial marking an important event in park history!
Head northeast from the lodge, entering the lower reaches of Edith Creek basin on the Skyline Trail. At 0.6 mile, the trail crosses directly above the crashing cascade of Myrtle Falls. The best views are from the trail bridge, looking directly down the falls.
Continuing past the falls, the trail splits almost immediately. Stay right; the left-hand trail heads steeply northeast toward Golden Gate, but you'll get there on a different route. Hike east on the trail that traverses out of the Edith Creek basin and loops around the headwall of the adjacent Paradise Valley.
On the east side of the basin, reach another trail junction at 1.5 miles. Stay left; the right-hand trail heads south down to the Paradise Valley Road in the Paradise valley. Start the steep climb up the side of Mazama Ridge. You attain the ridge crest in 0.5 mile, where the trail forks once more. Again, stay left to continue moving north. At this junction at 2 miles, the trail passes the Stevens-Van Trump Historical Monument above Sluiskin Falls. The memorial is a stone and concrete bench placed to honor the first two climbers to ascend Mount Rainier. The placement of the memorial, above Sluiskin Falls, is said to be at the spot where Chief Sluiskin waited for the climbers to return from their summit bid.
From this point, the trail angles northwest, climbing gradually to Golden Gate at 2.5 miles, where a trail leads left back to Myrtle Falls; stay straight ahead. Then climb more steeply, staying left at trail junctions, to Panorama Point (6800 feet) at 3.5 miles. From Panorama Point, descend past Glacier Vista, staying right at trail junctions above Alta Vista, then taking the east-bound trail below Alta Vista to return to the trailhead parking lot at 6 miles.
From Tacoma, drive east on State Route 7 to Elbe, then veer left onto SR 706 to enter the park at the Nisqually Entrance near Ashford. Continue east along the Nisqually Road to the Paradise Lodge parking area. Park in the large parking lot and find the trail near Paradise Lodge.
*This event is cross-posted with the Active Connections Meet-up Group*