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Rampart Ridge Loop

Mount Rainier Area

Location

Mount Rainier Area -- SW - Longmire/Paradise
View map below

Length

4.5 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 1300 ft.
Highest Point: 4080 ft.

Rating

3.05 out of 5

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

National Park Pass
 
 

This short loop out of Longmire makes for a great, quick way to get some elevation gain, some forest views, and a fantastic vista of Mount Rainier, all in less than five miles!

Begin across the road from the Longmire building complex, which includes restrooms, a museum, a hotel, and myriad other interesting historical tidbits about the park. Follow signs to arrive at the Trail of the Shadows, a short, informative loop trail that begins your trek.

After a short amble through enormous trees and swampy areas full of skunk cabbage and horsetails, you’ll arrive at a junction where the Trail of the Shadows rolls out in front of you, and the Rampart Ridge trail begins switchbacking upwards to your left.

Take the left trail, and begin the steady, somewhat steep climb up. The trail is well-made, but the moderately steep grade may slow you down a bit. That’s OK – take the time to look all around you at the forest as the trail brings your eye level from the base, to higher and higher on the trunks of the trees. There are several interesting spots to stop for photos, including a fascinating wooden arch; a tree that seems to be growing back into the ground.

Continue climbing, then come to a junction just shy of the high point of your hike. A 200-foot, signed spur trail to your right takes you to an overlook of the Longmire building complex. Just 1.2 miles ago, you were way down there!

Head back to the main trail and continue uphill just a bit more, to where the trail crests the ridge and heads over to the other side. You’re greeted here by an in-your-face view of Mount Rainier, with the Kautz and other glaciers straight ahead. Enjoy this viewpoint – it’s the best one you’ll have of Rainier on this hike, before continuing to traverse the ridge, this time on a gentle downhill grade.

The trail meets up with the Wonderland Trail 1.2 miles from the view of Rainier. Turn right and head downhill on steeper terrain than the ridgeline traverse. In 1.9 miles, you’ll be at Longmire again. Be sure to check out the rest of the Trail of the Shadows to cool off and learn a little about the plants growing in the national park.

 

Rampart Ridge Loop

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 46.7497, -121.8106 Open map in new window

Trailhead

Mount Rainier Area -- SW - Longmire/Paradise

Rampart Ridge (#), Wonderland Trail (#)

Mount Rainier National Park

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: Mount Rainier 2nd Edition (Asars - Mountaineers Books)

Day Hiking: Mt. Rainier National Park Trails (Nelson & Bauer - Mountaineers Books)

Buy the Green Trails Mount Rainier Wonderland No. 269SX map

Buy the Green Trails Mount Rainier Wonderland No. 269S map

Buy the Green Trails Mt Rainier West No. 269 map

Getting There

From I-5, take exit 143 for S 320th St toward Federal Way. Stay in the left 2 lanes to turn left onto S 320th and proceed for 0.8 miles. Turn right onto Military Road S and drive for 4.4 miles, then turn left onto WA-161 S and proceed for 3.9 miles.

Get into the two left-hand lanes, and turn left onto WA-167 N toward WA 410, then take the exit for 512 W toward 161 S. Proceed on 512 W for 2.5 miles, then exit for South Hill. Follow the signs for 161S/Eatonville/Mount Rainier.

Stay on 161 S for 22.6 miles, then turn left onto Center St. E, into Eatonville. Continue onto Alder Cutoff Road E for 6.5 miles, then at a 'T' intersection, turn left onto WA-7 S. Drive through the tiny town of Elbe and continue along Hwy 706, which becomes the Paradise Road when you enter the park. Longmire is about 25 miles from the 'T' intersection before Elbe.

Park in the large parking area at Longmire, and head back across the paved highway to find the Trail of the Shadows and your trailhead.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

National Park Pass
 

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Rampart Ridge Loop

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