RAMPART RIDGE LOOP
HIKE DESCRIPTION: Longmire is a good place to launch a hike at Mount Rainier National Park. Take a short, flat family stroll on the Trail of the Shadows. Get a serious workout and killer view on Eagle Peak. Head out for a week or more on the Wonderland Trail.
Or make the 4.5-mile loop up and along Rampart Ridge and get a taste of several of these trails. The Rampart Ridge Loop starts with a short walk on the Trail of the Shadows then heads upward, climbing 1,300 feet with a series of switchbacks.
On the ridge, there are opportunities for views including a bird’s-eye view of Longmire.
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Continue to follow the ridge to an intersection with the Wonderland Trail. Turn right and the Wonderland will take you on an approximately 2-mile trip back to Longmire. Turn left and it will take you back to Longmire, but the trip is about 90 miles farther.
Rampart Ridge has been free of snow most of the spring, according to park rangers.
DIRECTIONS: From state Route 7 in Elbe, continue east on state Route 706 to Mount Rainier National Park. After entering the park, continue to Longmire. Park here and find the trailhead for the Trail of the Shadows across the road. Take the Trail of the Shadows clockwise to signs that point the way uphill to Rampart Ridge.
DIFFICULTY RATING: 3 (1 is easiest, 5 is most difficult).
MILES ROUND TRIP: 4.5.
ELEVATION: 1,300 feet.
BEST TIME OF THE YEAR: June-October.
MAP: Green Trails 269 (Mount Rainier West).
PASS: Mount Rainier seven-day ($20) or annual pass ($40), or federal lands annual pass.
ALSO: The Trail of the Shadows, coupled with some time exploring Longmire, is a good way to get a glimpse of the park’s history. Bikes are allowed on the roads, but not the trails inside the park. Dogs and other pets are not allowed on the trails inside Mount Rainier National Park. Traditional geocaches are not allowed in the park, but an EarthCache is on the Trail of the Shadows. Logging an EarthCache requires answering questions about the location. For more information, visit earthcache.org or geocaching.com.
INFO: nps.gov/mora, 360-569-2211.
Craig Hill, email@example.com