Trip Report    

Day Hike - Rampart Ridge Loop

A beautiful day, the calm before the storm!

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • No snow or ice on the road between the Nisqually entrance and Longmire. Our route included Rampart Ridge, Trail of the Shadows, and part of the Wonderland Trail, and they are all in excellent condition. No snow, but we spotted some needle ice and frost heaves here and there in the trails. Just a bit of ice for a few yards at the Rainier view point, no spikes needed.

A beautiful and interesting day on these seldom-traveled-by-Mountaineers trails! Just a handful of cars at Longmire when we arrived around 9 a.m. Skies were cloudy, but no precip all day and no wind so it didn't feel terribly cold. We began counter-clockwise on the Trail of the Shadows with its mossy green carpet and big old trees. The old homestead cabin door was open and looked inviting, so we took a peek in and wondered which wild occupants might be enjoying a nice shelter from storms.


We then connected with the Rampart Ridge trail clockwise and continued on the Wonderland Trail to just across the road from Cougar Campground. This was probably the final snowless day in that area of MRNP this year! Lots of mushrooms were still out, and we enjoyed views of many surrounding "little" peaks while guessing their names.


The highlight of our adventure was along the Trail of the Shadows. There are fascinating bubbling colorful geothermal pools that are small, but much like you'd see in Yellowstone Nat'l Park. We touched the water in one and it was not cold, but probably body temperature. We also caught a slight whiff of sulfur in one spot - a reminder that we were indeed in volcanoland!

A very enjoyable hike all the way to near Cougar Campground with a good look at the Nisqually River, and we saw only a handful of other hikers the whole day.