From the small parking area, hike northeast into Glacier View Wilderness, aptly named for its west-side views of the hanging glaciers on Mount Rainier. In 100 yards, turn right onto Puyallup Trail (Trail 248) for a cruisy stretch south. Less than half a mile later, turn left and hike along the edge of Beljica Meadows, a narrow field covered with bog orchids, asters, and lupines; look south for views of Mount Beljica. Near end of the meadow, the trail skirts a shallow, 2-acre pond (likely seasonal).
One mile into the hike, turn left on Trail 248 and head north toward a steep, ankle-twister descent into Goat Lake basin (huckleberries in summer); campsites rim the long shoreline of Goat Lake. At mile 2.7, continue southeast into Mount Rainier National Park and prepare for a steep uphill ahead. After 3.3 miles, the route turns left for the final, 450-foot climb to Gobblers Knob. Relish the exquisite views of Mount Rainier from this crowd-free summit, then retrace your steps to the car.
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