Kathy and I intended to hike the Rampart Ridge Loop during our first visit three years ago, but didn’t due to heavy rain on the last day of our trip. Given that the hike offers great views of Mt. Rainier, and the fact that it was already snow free, it was near the top of our list of hikes for our mid-June visit this year.
The loop hike begins across the street from the National Park Inn at Longmire. Once on the other side of the road you’ll gain access to the Trail of the Shadows, a short loop trail that visits an old homestead cabin. Even though the arrow points to the right, you’ll want to turn left to proceed directly towards the Rampart Ridge Trail. You’ll reach the Rampart Ridge Trail junction in less than two-tenths of a mile.
Just past the junction we passed the 25-foot stump of a large dead tree that had several saplings growing out of the top. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen anything like this before:
At just under 2 miles hikers will reach a side trail that leads to an overlook of the Nisqually River Valley. Look for a sign that reads “Viewpoint 200 feet”.
At roughly 4.9 miles you’ll cross over to the south side of the main park road, and shortly thereafter, will return to the parking area at Longmire.
Trail: Rampart Ridge Loop
RT Distance: 5.0 Miles
Elevation Gain: 1340 feet
Max Elevation: 4050 feet
TH Location: Longmire
Map: Mt. Rainier National Park Trails Illustrated Map
Day Hike! Mount Rainier uncovers the best trails for the day tripper, whether you’re a newbie hiker or a veteran with hundreds of miles on your boots. Northwest outdoors expert and Seattle Times's Trail Mix columnist Ron Judd reviews more than 50 of the best day hike trails in Mt. Rainier National Park, from Paradise and Sunrise to the lower foothills. The book describes classic routes - from easy to moderate to extreme - giving hikers the choices they want.