Mount Rainier National Park: Skyscraper Mountain

Snow-fed cascades, vibrant wildflower meadows, and dizzying Cascade vistas highlight this 7.9-mile out-and-back in Mount Rainier National Park.
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Snow-fed cascades, vibrant wildflower meadows, and dizzying Cascade vistas highlight this 7.9-mile out-and-back in Mount Rainier National Park.

Long before the Sears Tower and the Empire State Building dominated skylines, the 7,078-foot Skyscraper Mountain towered over the creeks and valleys of Mount Rainier National Park. Climb to the top of this popular peak for mesmerizing views of Mount Rainier and countless Cascade peaks.
The route climbs away from the Sunrise parking area to the eye-opening Sourdough ridgeline, revealing vistas of the lush White River Valley below. Head west on the Sourdough Trail and weave through wildflower-dotted meadows toward Frozen Lake. At the five-way intersection, pick up the Wonderland Trail and trek through more meadows that precede the steep climb to Skyscraper Pass. At the top of the pass, enjoy dazzling vistas of Moraine Peak and Mystic Lake to the west. Then, tackle the final ascent toward the summit: a quarter-mile scramble through a loose scree field.
Crest Skyscraper's rounded summit near mile 4, then savor the spectacular, unobstructed views of the Cascades; Mount Rainier looms to the southwest, and the table-top-flat Grand Park rises to the northeast. When you've had your fill, follow the same route back to the trailhead.
-Mapped by Alan Bauer, Alan Bauer Photography

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 12.7

Waypoints

SSM001

Location: 46.9143994, -121.6424054

From the Sunrise parking area, head northwest on the paved path between the restrooms and Sunrise Lodge.

SSM002

Location: 46.9184979, -121.64672

After completing a fairly steep, 400-foot ascent from the parking area through lush meadows, reach the Sourdough Ridge Trail junction and head right. During summer, look for an abundance of wildflowers (lupines, paintbrush, asters, tiger lillies) and fellow hikers on this well-trafficked trail.

SSM003

Location: 46.9191218, -121.6535535

At the Y-junction, bear left to bypass a trail leading to into the expansive Huckleberry Creek Valley. From your ridgeline vantage point, gaze south into the White River Valley and the grassy fields of Yakima Park, while looking west for revealing vistas of the regal Mount Rainier. Continuing to the west, trees give way to meadows and rock gardens.

SSM004

Location: 46.917553, -121.6686348

Just past Frozen Lake, hit a massive 5-way intersection and take the Wonderland Trail to the west. Continuing on through pleasant wildflower and heather meadows, keep your eyes open for marmots, white mountain goats, and even black bears.

SSM005

Location: 46.9171097, -121.6802682

Bear left at the Y-junction to bypass the Berkley Park Trail. From here, the Wonderland Trail begins sweeping around the southwest reaches of the Berkley Park basin, crossing snow-fed cascades and traversing wildflower-dotted meadows along the way.

SSM006

Location: 46.9163274, -121.6919088

Head north and begin the ascent to Skyscraper Pass.

SSM007

Location: 46.9227309, -121.6975739

Skyscraper Pass: An ideal lunch spot with mesmerizing panoramas of Moraine Peak and Mystic Lake to the west; Skyscraper Mountain looms to the north. Follow the boot path heading through a scree field to begin a precipitous, twisting climb to its summit.

SSM008

Location: 46.9271922, -121.6981067

Grab 360-degree panoramas from Skyscraper's summit: Grand Park to the northeast, Mount Fremont and Berkley Park to the east, Mount Rainier to the southwest, and Vernal Park and Sluiskin Peak to the west. Retrace your route to return to the trailhead.

Views from Skyscraper Mountain

Location: 46.9271871, -121.6978955