A Wow Hike on the Flanks of Mt. Rainier

Of all the hikes I’ve done on Mt. Rainier – and there have been many I’m a local after all – this was the best – the Golden Gate and Skyline Trails on the flanks of the mountain!

It was a perfect day for a hike. We started at the Paradise Visitor Center at an elevation of 5,400 feet, then took the trail to Myrtle Falls.

From there we hiked the Golden Gate Trail through gorgeous alpine country with Mt. Rainier’s rocky face exposed more than ever before, after July’s record-breaking heat and snowmelt!

Gallery of Wildflowers

John Muir said of Paradise, ” the most luxuriant and the most extravagantly beautiful of all the alpine gardens I ever beheld in all my mountain top wanderings.” Yes, indeed!

I’d heard that wildflower season was impacted by the brutal summer weather, so we likely missed the peak bloom. Still, I have no complaints!

Upward we Go!

As always my trusty companion led the way and I began to sing, ‘We’re on the upward trail! We’re on the upward trail! Singing, singing, everybody singing, as we go!” Unfortunately he didn’t know the song so in fact everybody didn’t sing. I’ll teach it to him later. πŸ™‚

Past the 6,400 elevation mark we were in the land of polished rock, reminding me of the Canadian Rockies.

Here we saw our first – but definitely not our last – marmot.


As fabulous as it was the best was yet to come as we headed down to a riverbed where wildflowers grew colorful and abundant in and around the water.

When we came up out of the valley we heard the whistling of marmots and one happy fellow came out to greet us.

Gallery of Marmots

Afterwards we stopped by a waterfall to rest our weary legs and eat the rest of our snack

then into the woods where we passed another marmot.

Soon we were back at Myrtle Falls where the mountain remained shrouded in clouds.

After a few hours on the trail, 4.5 miles RT, an elevation gain over 1,000 ft., with sore feet and wobbly legs we were perfectly happy and ready to do it again next year!

Hope you enjoyed the hike! πŸ™‚

~ Susanne

28 Comments on “A Wow Hike on the Flanks of Mt. Rainier

  1. What a lovely hike! I don’t when or why I’ve heard of Mount Rainier but the name makes me think of immense beauty so I must have seen photos somewhere. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Beautiful photos! Wow! I loved the wildflowers; several of the photos look like they should be enlarged and framed. 🌺

  3. I’d kind of forgotten about marmots, but they’re a fun part of hiking in that area, that’s for sure. Beautiful photos. It’s been many years since I was in that area so this is a nice reminder of days past.

    • Thanks so much. I hadn’t seen that many marmots on a single hike before. I really enjoyed the one that greeted me on the trail.

  4. A wonderful hike indeed. Despite the elevation, I would happily try that hike to see the scenery, and those cute marmots too! (I also don’t know that song. πŸ™‚ )
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Thanks Pete. You’d have no trouble at all with this hike with all the walking you do. And you could always learn the song before you go! The marmots will be there to greet you when you do! 😊😊

  5. That was a wonderful hike – thank you so much for taking us along! I loved the views of the mountain, the wildflowers along the riverbed and the marmots of course πŸ™‚ We did the walk to Myrtle Falls on our visit, but no further as we’d already done a longer walk that morning and my knees can only take so much. But if we ever go back this will be my main effort for sure!!

    • It really was special.. My legs were still sore two days later but it was worth it! πŸ˜€ I don’t know how I missed this hike all these years, maybe I was saving the best for last! Myrtle Falls is beautiful but the crowds thin out considerably after that. Next year we’ll try to go at peak bloom a week or two earlier.

  6. This part of the park looks fantastic! When we visited it was still under several feet of snow.

    • It was really amazing! We’d never done the hike before for the same reason.. we often visit when there’s still lots of snow on the ground. There’s only a short window to see the wildflowers and the high country.

      • Peak wildflower bloom is weather dependent but tends to run from mid July through mid August. We were past peak but still saw incredible displays of wildflowers. The parking was almost full at Paradise but once we headed up the trail the crowds thinned out considerably. There were only a handful of hikers the higher up we went.

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