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Mount Beljica

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Too many people think you have to be in the national park to enjoy Mount Rainier. This quaint trail dispels that myth quite effectively. It ambles easily through forest and meadow, passing pretty woodland lakes and climbing to the high vantage point once utilized by professional fire watchers. Now, lest you ask, the unusual name is truly unique: the name is attributed to two families who climbed to the summit in 1897. The proud fathers of the Mesler and LaWall families pulled the first initial of each of their combined children and created the name: Burgon, Elizabeth, Lucy, Jessie, Isabel, Clara, and Alex. As the trail lies outside the national park, it is dog friendly.


The trail runs steeply up away from the trailhead, slicing upward on rough tread for about 100 yards, before moderating onto a boot-beaten trail along a high ridge. The path drops you at the shores of scenic Lake Christine in 1 mile. Pause here to enjoy the forest-lined lake and the views beyond. With luck, you might see bald eagles or ospreys fishing in this pool.

The trail curves around the west shore of the lake and then heads north to a trail junction. Go left here to scramble about 0.5 mile up a rough trail to the summit of Beljica (5478 feet). This old lookout site offers incredible views of Mount Rainier and the many peaks of the Longmire region.
Driving Directions:

From Tacoma, drive east on State Route 7 to Elbe, then veer left onto SR 706 to Ashford. Continue 3.8 miles east of Ashford and turn left (north) onto Forest Road 59 (Copper Creek Road). Continue 3.4 miles up this road to a junction. Stay left, and in another 1.5 miles, turn right onto FR 5920. Continue 2.4 miles on this spur road to the Lake Christine trailhead (4400 feet).

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Recent Trip Reports

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There are 27 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Mount Beljica — Apr 02, 2014 — lha_luke
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail | Road to trailhead inaccessible
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The road to the trail head is pretty awful and bumpy, some areas were trashed with beer cans, shotgu...
The road to the trail head is pretty awful and bumpy, some areas were trashed with beer cans, shotgun shells, and in one area some obscene graffiti sprayed on rocks. About half way to the trail there was snow too deep to drive through.

We hiked about 3 miles in the snow to the trail head. Only got about a few hundred yards past the trail head before it was too deep. Some nice views but just not doable without snowshoes. Not the greatest experience.

Definitely best enjoyed in the summer, or spring if you have snowshoes. Once you get past the road to the trail head I'm sure it will be a nice hike!
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Mount Beljica — Nov 24, 2013 — watermelon84
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail
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Bottom line: The road up was snowy and wet at about 4000'. Definitely recommend a high clearance veh...
Bottom line: The road up was snowy and wet at about 4000'. Definitely recommend a high clearance vehicle with 4WD. The trail was snowy and steep. Snow was pretty deep about Lake Christine. Up to my knee a few times. Waterproof boots are a must. I used trekking poles. Recommend Gaiters, which I did not have and the top of my socks got wet form the snow. It wasn't cold enough for my dog (a Vizsla) to wear a jacket, but he wore RuffWear Booties to protect his paws from the snow and ice. Lake Christine was frozen over, and there were some tracks across it (but I went around it). Tough climbing thru the snow, but the view at the top was amazing. 360 degree panoramic view. Slippery in spots on the way back down. And I saw no sign of the trail heading N to Beljica Meadows.

Expanded: Though it wasn't overly cold, it was a beautiful clear day. There was snow on the road up, about 2/3's of the way up to the TH. I had my truck in 4WD, but no chains or snow tires. The snow was packed from the tire trails of vehicles before me (over the past week I imagine). No vehicles at the TH when I started. Trail climbed steeply to Lake Christine. The lake was frozen over, but my dog and I went around on the main trail. The last thing I want is a wet dog or person. Air temp was probably in the low 40's. The trail was pretty well packed down below Lake Christine, but above it, the snow was a foot or more at times. Thanks to whoever cut a trail through the snow in the days before we went, or it would have been even tougher goings for us.

If there were no tracks, I imagine it would have been very difficult to navigate beyond the creek bed above Lake Christine. In fact, I looked for the trail junction to Beljica Meadows and beyond on the way up and back down from the top and found no sign of it. I'd warn after fresh snow, make sure you know where you are going if you're the first out there.

The snow was thick in most places above Christine and both my legs and trekking poles were often 6-12" into the snow. My dog also had a hell of a time when he strayed form the trail to romp in the woods.

If you've never been to the top of Blejica, on the way up the cone, you get a magnificent view of the surrounding Cascades including Mount Adams, then you get a few feet higher and you can see the Puget Sound and the Olympics on a clear day. And if that's not enough, you turn around and Rainier is so close you could almost touch it. The "peak" rises about 30-40' about the treeline, so it's a 360 degree panoramic view. If you have a dog or children, be aware of the steep drop off to the N (your right as you climb up). It was slippery from snow, so I kept my dog on a tight leash.

It was sunny an comparatively warm at the top, so we spent 1/2 an hour there before backtracking back down. Ran into a pair of hikers on there way up and another hiker and her dog after that. Whoever crossed Lake Christine on the ice... your footprints tempted me on the way back, but I couldn't find the confidence. I don't know much about frozen lakes, so I'll stick to the treeline.

As usual, down was faster than up, and with the sun setting as early as it does, I was happy not see anyone else heading up at that hour.

We didn't see any wildlife. And the trail, aside from the snow, was clear (no blowdows). And no water on the trail (just the frozen stuff). No bugs (obviously) and I would say that you can find liquid water at Lake Christine and there's plenty on the trail if you can melt the snow.

All in all, for a short hike (a little over 3 miles round trip) it felt like double that with the snow and incline. But well worth it on a clear day.
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Mount Beljica — Nov 11, 2013 — Andyishandy
Day hike
Issues: Water on trail | Snow on trail
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Great 4 mile hike. The trail was clear until right before Lake Christine where snow started to cover...
Great 4 mile hike. The trail was clear until right before Lake Christine where snow started to cover the trail. The description says to go West around the lake but I didn't see a trail heading that way, and ended up following the trail around the East side. Snow got deeper after the lake, just above mid-shin, and the trail headed north to the junction. The trail to the left wasn't very well defined and completely covered in snow. I started using a topo map and compass after the junction to make sure I was heading the right direction. I was very thankful I had trekking poles the last half mile because it was pretty steep and some slippery rocks. All-in-all it was an awesome hike and an amazing clear view at the top.
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Mount Beljica — Oct 11, 2013 — mcooksley
Day hike
Features: Fall foliage
Issues: Mud/Rockslide | Mudholes | Water on trail | Snow on trail
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Calm day/in between storms. Trail was dry until Lk. Christine, then shallow snow for the remainder ...
Calm day/in between storms. Trail was dry until Lk. Christine, then shallow snow for the remainder of the climb to the summit of Beljica (which was dry). Fair amount of water on the trail in the flatter sections. No wildlife observed,views were limited due to light overcast. Very peaceful day in the forest. Less than 2 hours total hiking time from trailhead to top and back. Encountered 2 other parties.
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Mount Beljica — Sep 19, 2013 — Outnback
Day hike
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Stunning views from the top of a short two mile hike (four miles out and back). I compare the vist...
Stunning views from the top of a short two mile hike (four miles out and back). I compare the vistas to those found at High Rock. The mountain is close enough to "touch". Looking south, Mt.Adams, Mt St. Helens, and even Mt. Hood were clearly visible. Bring binoculars and you will spot Globbler's Knob and "Was that High Rock?". On the day we went we could see west to the Olympic Mountains.
   Cool September nights have eliminated the biting bugs. No wild flowers, but a few huckleberries to sample along the way.
   Six miles of rough but manageable forest road get you to the trailhead. With care, my Camry did just fine.
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Mount Beljica.JPG
Mt. Adams through the trees, descending from Mt. Beljica. Photo by CRH.
Location
Mt. Rainier -- SE - Longmire / Paradise
Cowlitz Valley Ranger District
Statistics
Roundtrip 4.0 miles
Elevation Gain 1100 ft
Highest Point 5478 ft
Features
Lakes
Wildflowers/Meadows
Mountain views
Wildlife
User info
Dogs allowed on leash
Guidebooks & Maps
Day Hiking: Mt. Rainier National Park Trails (Nelson & Bauer - Mountaineers Books)
Green Trails Mount Rainier West
No. 269

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Note: the description and driving directions for this Mountaineers Books entry are copyrighted and can't be changed.

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