These posts will cover all the areas I'm visiting in the confines of Mt. Rainier National Park in celebration of 35 years exploring here, including new places with a smattering of old.
This is sort of an "isolated" hike in that it is on the east side of the park off Highway 123, far from the crowds at Sunrise or even the Stevens Canyon entrance. My early start found me alone on the trail to the lookout with nearly an hour up top before anyone else appeared, then Tracy and Mary appeared and were excellent company. The 4.5 mile trail ascends with a steady grade for 3,400 feet before topping out at the lookout at 5,834'. Although I wasn't rewarded with wide open views, the summit of Rainier made an appearance amidst sun breaks and fantastic cloud formations. I quite enjoyed my lonely trek up in the fog, which kept the temperature perfect for this uphill grind. Ghostly trees appeared along with dewy flowers and bushes, and the Shriner summit enjoyed partial sun breaks. I may have to make a return trip in the fall in clear weather; despite occluded views, one can tell the vistas are nothing short of astounding from this vantage point. I also found the very consistent grade to be easy on the body in both directions. Hard to believe I have never set foot on this trail before; my plan to hike all the trails I have somehow omitted over the past 35 years will no doubt continue to be extremely rewarding!