I have lived in the state of Washington for 28 years and last weekend was my first visit to Mount Rainier! I can’t believe it took me so long to experience the magnificence of the mountain.
My husband chose this hike, and I really had no idea what I was in for. We drove up to Mowich Lake to the trail head. After we scrambled up as much cash in our car as we could to cover the entry fee, we started along the trail around 10:00 AM. (Hint: Don’t forget to bring cash when you visit.)
The trail starts on the Wonderland Trail in the woods. It is an up and down hill climb at first. Then after about a mile and half you start to climb. While on the trail, you can take another trail to view the Spray Falls (worth it).
After about 2.5 miles, the trail opens up to a gorgeous series of meadows. Keep walking because the views get better and better. There are wildflowers everywhere, and Rainier is stunning.
We sat on a couple of rocks and ate lunch, while doing our best to fan off the mosquitos. (Hint: bring bug spray…although I’m told there are buggier trails then this one!) We continued up the trail and found a viewpoint to look at Cataract Valley. We then turned around to hike back down. At that point (around 1:00ish), the trail was pretty crowded.
As I said earlier, I really didn’t know what to expect when I started this hike. Isn’t this the most amazing region in the world? I came home and read the description on the Washington Trail Association website, and I thought it matched the experience perfectly:
“In many ways, you recover from your first walk into Spray Park. The trail isn’t difficult to follow. It’s just difficult to forget.”