INFO For information on permits, current trail and camp conditions, and wilderness guidelines, go to nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/wilderness-camping-and-hiking.htm.
PERMIT A wilderness permit is required for all overnight camping in the backcountry. Reservations requests accepted by fax or mail, starting on March 15th of each year ($20/reservation). Download form at nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/wilderness-reservation-information.htm.
CONTACT Mt. Rainier National Park, (360) 569-2211; nps.gov/mora
-Mapped by Alan Bauer, Alan Bauer Photography
- Distance: 10.0
Location: 46.778727, -121.783533
Pick up the trail on the north side of the parking area. Prepare for a steep, tk mile climb.
Location: 46.781174, -121.780057
Trail levels out near the bridge over Van Trump Creek, just above where it tumbles over Christine Falls below you. (The rock formations here are spectacular.) Continue into forest and along the creek to the north, passing lush wildflowers of trilliums, violets, and marsh marigolds.
Location: 46.79173, -121.781409
Look for pika as you pass by some huge rock formations and talus fields. The vine maples turn vibrant shades in autumn.
Location: 46.793199, -121.778877
Cross a rock slot (and the main channel of Van Trump Creek) on a footlog. Note: The log crossing may be washed out if you come too early in the spring. The creek that feeds Comet Falls flows into Van Trump Creek from the north.
Location: 46.795227, -121.779006
Stop for impressive views of Comet Falls tumbling hundreds of feet from the high plateau of Van Trump Park above you. After soaking it in, continue on the trail to the southeast that climbs steeply above the falls. The maples and ash growing on the open slopes between the alpine fir are mesmerizing in fall.
Location: 46.797866, -121.77722
Turn left at the junction onto Van Trump Park Trail to crest Mildred Point. Right takes you up into Van Trump Park, another worthy destination. Hike through avalanche lilies, glacier lilies, and beargrass. Enjoy the brief stretch of level trail.
Location: 46.795028, -121.784129
Turn right and leave Van Trump Park Trail. Start the climb up to the picturesque parkland meadows below Mildred Point (come in fall to see crimson huckleberry meadows).
Location: 46.800693, -121.783167
Crest 5,935-foot Mildred Point, surrounded by avalanche lilies in summer and fall color in autumn. Look smack down at the massive Kautz Creek drainage. Kautz Glacier and Mount Rainier can be seen to the northeast and you may see mountain goats on the cliffs and grassy slopes across Kautz Creek. Return via the same route.
Location: 46.795241, -121.778769
Mt. Rainier rises behind Van Trump Park
Location: 46.795917, -121.783276
Fall color in the meadows below Mildred Point
Location: 46.798297, -121.784348