HIKE OF THE MONTH: Sourdough Ridge at Mount Rainier
Enjoy sweet Rainier views from this easy ridge hike
Stand and take in the scenic wonders that fully surround you on Sourdough Ridge and gaze upon Washington’s greatest mountain.
Named for the sour tasting bread favored by miners who once prospected this long and lofty ridge within the shadows of Washington’s grandest mountain; Sourdough’s views are among the sweetest in the park. Follow a trail along the crest of a 7,000-foot plus ridge darting around craggy knolls while savoring sweeping views of Mount Rainier and hundreds of other peaks far and near.
While this can be accessed from the park’s Sunrise area; start from Sunrise Point instead. This option will allow you to hike quiet sections of the trail, and to do the entire 4-mile trail facing the magnificent mountain. When you can force your eyes away from Washington’s iconic peak, scan the horizons to other prominent peaks, including both Mount Adams and Baker.
From the 6,100-foot trailhead, head west and steadily climb taking time to admire sparkling Sunrise Lake below and the glistening glacier fields of Mount Rainier. At 1.2 miles be sure to take the short side trip to 7,006-foot Dege Peak from where you can survey the entire ridge with its numerous pyramidal peaks.
Marvel at thermal riding raptors, sniff fragrant blossoms, and delight in watching scurrying ground squirrels. Continue along the ridge rounding Antler Peak, and perhaps spot several sets of antlers of the resident deer that frequent the high meadows. At 2.45 miles a Trail diverges left to Sunrise. Stay right and continue across open terrain ignoring another Trail to Sunrise and one to Huckleberry Creek. At 4.0 miles the trail ends at a busy junction near appropriately named Frozen Lake. Do an about face and enjoy the trail and the views all over again — this time with the mountain to your back allowing you to notice some of the less prominent but frequently beautiful surrounding peaks and ridges.
Try out this hike
Location: Mount Rainier National Park
Land Agency: National Park Service
Roundtrip: 8.0 miles
Elevation gain: 1700 feet
Contact: Mount Rainier National Park
Notes: Park entrance fee; dogs prohibited
Directions: From Enumclaw follow state Route 410 east for 37.5 miles turning onto the Sunrise Road. Continue for 12.7 miles to trail head at Sunrise Point.
About the author
Craig Romano (www.CraigRomano.com) is an award-winning guidebook author. He has authored more than 20 books on Northwest hiking destinations. Check out his “100 Classic Hikes Washington” (Mountaineers Books) for detailed information on many other hikes in Mount Rainier National Park.
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