Date Index Person/Place Index Person/Date Index Place/Person Index Place/Date Index Time Index Home

John Guilford's Hikes

Panorama Point - Skyline Trail, Paradise, Mt. Rainier N.P. on 1995-07-25

Date: 1995-07-25

Location: Panorama Point - Skyline Trail, Paradise, Mt. Rainier N.P.

People: (including myself): Pam

			My Alt.	Real Alt.
Start:		4:55 	5420 	5400
Alta Vista:	5:10 	5760
Panorama Point:	6:15 	6740 	6800
Leave:		6:25 
Glacier Vista:	7:00 	6380 	6300
Down:		7:45 	5480
The Skyline Trail system leads through meadows above Paradise.  Due to meadow damage (see comments on Dege Peak hike) the park restricts hikers to the established trails. 

The day was partly sunny, but Mt. Rainier had low clouds around it so that there wasn't really any view of the mountain.  We did get intermittent views of the Nisqually Glacier during the hike, but the upper part was always covered by clouds. 

Originally we had planned to hike on the east side of the meadows (Paradise Glacier Trail), but we found that all those trails were closed off.  We tried to find a ranger to find out the story, but never did.  Instead, we ended up taking the Skyline trail up to Paradise Point.  I thought that maybe we could continue the loop of the Skyline trail to get access to the east part of the meadow, but the trail was closed beyond Panorama Point. 

This is the trail used to get to Camp Muir and we saw numerous climbers/guides coming down the trail (from their early morning summitting, I imagine) as we went up. 

The lower parts of the trail are paved and are at times quite steep.  I shudder to think about carrying a heavy pack up certain sections of the trail, but I m sure it is fine if you go slowly (if you couldn't hack that part of the trail, you certainly wouldn't be able to make it to the summit!).  We took the side trail towards Alta Vista, choosing, however, to bypass the Alta Vista summit and instead rejoined the Skyline trail. 

Shortly above here we saw our first of many marmots.  The upper meadows were full of the fuzzy rodents, though none of them were as playfull as the ones we'd seen in the Olympic National Park (to Pam's disappointment).  To me, these marmots looked like typical marmots, sitting on rocks or foraging for food.  Perhaps with the shorter season, these marmots were too busy getting food to be terribly playful. 

Above Alta Vista the trail ceases being paved, but is instead bordered by rocks, with larger rocks forming pseudo-stairs in places. 

At times we could see trails off to the east or things that looked like partial trails.  We later discovered that some of these (which appeared to be almost paved) were restoration work (on older trails?).  The process was that they'd lay down dirt, if needed, then place seeds (of the native plants), a layer of mulch formed from thin slivers of Alder, with a photo-degradable netting over the top to hold it in place.  From a distance this appeared as a light brown or tan surfaced path. 

Near Glacier Vista (which we didn't stop at going up, but did stop at coming down) we started getting patches of snow.  At the top end of the meadows is a promontory and I figured that Panorama Point must be on the top of that.  I was close - it was a bit above there.  The trail approaches the promontory on the left and became solid snow.  The trail was easy to follow as it was well used, though I wished I had my ice axe just for balance and to help me get my footing.  The trail climbs the promontory and then the cut off for Camp Muir passes on the left.  A short hike later one arrives at Panorama Point (which has a chemical toilet installed nearby).  Near there there is an old stone shelter (now minus its roof) which seems to be used as a place to store the chemicals for the toilet. 

One gets good views down to the visitor center, down the Nisqually river valley and to points SW to SE.  We did get views of Mt. Adams (which was obscurred by clouds on the way up, but broke out on our way down), but we never did get to see Mt. St. Helens.  It was cloudy and hazy down that way and although I saw something that I thought might be its crater, it was very indistinct and Pam didn't agree.  I didn't care enough to pull out a compass and verify it. 

By the hike back down, it was getting a bit cool with the day progressing, the lack of sun, and the wind coming off the snow.  On the way down we saw numerous marmots as well as a couple deer, but the deer didn't let us get close at all. 

Date Index Person/Place Index Person/Date Index Place/Person Index Place/Date Index Time Index Home
Please send comments or corrections to
Last updated on: Mon Jun 8 16:50:16 PDT 2015