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!
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! Scroll through to enlarge the pictures.
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. 🙂
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.
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! 🙂