HIKE DESCRIPTION: When you reach the top of Skyscraper Mountain in Mount Rainier National Park, brace yourself before you turn around so the view doesn’t knock you over.
During the short but steep final push, an already-stunning view is getting even better behind you. Once you reach the top, you’ll look down on Berkeley and Grand parks. A view, in itself, worthy of the trip.
But turn around and Mount Rainier hogs the horizon, seemingly close enough to touch.
To reach this scenic place, depart from Sunrise and follow the trails along Sourdough Ridge to Frozen Lake. Then, link to the Wonderland Trail and continue west to the ridge below the peak. View wildflowers along the way and take time to look at the rocky slopes around you to catch a glimpse of a mountain goat.
From the ridge, the summit is just a short scramble away.
DIRECTIONS: Follow state Route 410 to Mount Rainier National Park’s White River entrance and follow Sunrise Road to its end at Sunrise.
DIFFICULTY RATING: 4 (5 is most difficult, 1 is easiest).
MILES ROUND TRIP: 8.5.
ELEVATION GAIN: 1,100 feet.
BEST TIME OF THE YEAR: July-October.
MAP: Green Trails 270: Mount Rainier East.
PASS: A $20 per vehicle pass is required to enter Mount Rainier National Park. An annual park pass is $40.
ALSO: The Wonderland Trail turns 100 years old this summer and backcountry reservations are scarce, so day trips such as Skyscraper Mountain are good ways to enjoy the trail without a permit. There are several opportunities for extending the hike, including Berkeley Park and trails around Sunrise. Dogs are not permitted on national park trails. Restrooms and food service are available at Sunrise. While some hikers leave their packs at the base of Skyscraper so they don’t have to carry them to the top, park officials say it’s unwise to leave packs unattended.