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Rampart Ridge Loop

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This is the perfect early-season hiking adventure. The loop route keeps you exploring new trail from start to finish, and there's a lot to explore here. The trail climbs through lush old forests, skirts along the view-rich rims of high cliffs, and weaves through a rich wetland environment along the river-side meadows.

Start your hike on the Trail of the Shadows Nature Trail on the north side of the road. From the start of the nature trail loop, go left for about 250 yards to cross the spring-fed creek, then turn left onto the Rampart Ridge Trail. This trail climbs gently for the first 0.5 mile, then steepens as it weaves through a series of switchbacks. The trail stays under dense forest canopy for the first 2 miles before reaching a small viewpoint at 3700 feet. From here you can look west across the valley to the cone-shaped Tumtum Peak.

Moving on another 0.25 mile leads to grander views as the trail skirts along the rim of the Ramparts' tall cliff band. Look down to Longmire and its historic buildings and broad meadows, with Eagle Peak beyond. For the next 0.75 mile, the trail runs along the ridge crest, descending gradually to a junction with the Wonderland Trail. About halfway down that section, about 2.6 miles from the start, turn off the trail onto a short spur on the left to find a good view of Mount Rainier.

At the junction with the Wonderland, turn right and descend 1000 feet in 1.5 miles to return to Longmire.
Driving Directions:

From Tacoma, drive east on State Route 7 to Elbe, then veer left onto SR 706 to enter the park at the Nisqually Entrance near Ashford. Continue east to Longmire. Park in the large lot behind the hotel and find the trailhead at the northeast end of the building complex, next to the road on the south side.

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Recent Trip Reports

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There are 32 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Rampart Ridge Loop — Jan 04, 2014 — Janice Van Cleve
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail
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This is a very easy hike doable almost year round. It is about 4.7 miles and gains about 1000 ft in...
This is a very easy hike doable almost year round. It is about 4.7 miles and gains about 1000 ft in the first 1.8 miles up to the ridgeline. It is a popular trail so where snow has accumulated it is compacted and icy so we wore trax almost the entire way. There is snow the whole loop but it only gets to about 3 inches deep up along the ridge.

Best route is clockwise to get the gain over with quickly. The trail is broad and relatively smooth. After achieving the high point the trail drops a bit to a wide open view of Mt. Rainier and the whole Kautz valley. It was stunning on a bright blue day like today.

The road to Longmire is icy and slick and the rangers are requiring 4 wheel drive or chains to get to Paradise.
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Rampart Ridge Loop — Dec 16, 2013 — Nutmeg
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail
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This trail is in great condition and still easily accessible without snowshoes or traction. I did we...
This trail is in great condition and still easily accessible without snowshoes or traction. I did wear my trekkers (traction) from shortly after the viewpoint until about 1/3 of the way down the Wonderland on the other side, but that was more for speed and convenience than necessity. Pics are at http://www.flickr.com/[…]/ (along with some of Nisqually Vista and Longmire).

Rampart Ridge loop trail surprised me with how little snow is on it. I hiked it clockwise (starting across from Longmire Inn from Trail of the Shadows), which is best for views. There was no snow until the elevation of the viewpoint itself. There is one icy spot before that – no trouble if you’re careful. I planned to head back down from the viewpoint, but it took me only 45 minutes to get there, then sunny skies and easy trail twisted my arm to complete the loop. After the viewpoint spur, continue on until the trail jogs to the left and traverses the ridge with a stupendous view of Tahoma and the valley. I returned to peaceful woods, dripping today in the warm sunshine with melting snow. The trail shortly (less than a mile) hits a junction with the Wonderland Trail – head down toward Longmire. The loop is around 5 miles (according to the Park’s signs) and 1,300’ gain.
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Rampart Ridge Loop — Nov 23, 2013 — Pam and Paul Kaperick
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns | Snow on trail
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There was snow from the start, but the trail was very easy to follow. It was clear so the views were...
There was snow from the start, but the trail was very easy to follow. It was clear so the views were fantastic. This is an easy loop for every level with only 1500 feet of elevation gain in just over 5 miles total. It is huge bang for the buck for views on a clear day.
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Rampart Ridge Loop, Pyramid Creek Camp — Oct 20, 2013 — Meredith
Day hike
Features: Fall foliage
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A perfect day: blue skies, no snow, no mud, no bugs, etc. We started out on the Wonderland Trail an...
A perfect day: blue skies, no snow, no mud, no bugs, etc. We started out on the Wonderland Trail and because the day was so beautiful, we chose to continue along toward Pyramid Creek Camp. We had lunch near the river before returning and finishing the loop at the Trail of the Shadows. LOTS of interesting mushrooms near the trail. Very few other hikers. Fall foliage is at (or maybe just slightly past) its peak along Highway 7 into the park. The drive was gorgeous.
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Rampart Ridge Loop — Jul 27, 2013 — Kward107
Day hike
Issues: Bugs
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Really nice trail. About half way through you get a magnificent view of Mt. Rainier and some of her ...
Really nice trail. About half way through you get a magnificent view of Mt. Rainier and some of her surrounding peaks, and a nice side trail leading to a small but beautiful waterfall. Took me and a friend about 2 and a half hours to complete the whole trail. My friend and I started up at the trail head past the museum and inn. That first half was a steep but nice climb up the mountain. There were lots of mosquitos on this side which was the only problem we ran into on our hike.
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Rampart Loop.JPG
View from trail. Photo by Alpine Art.
Location
Mt. Rainier -- SE - Longmire / Paradise
Longmire Wilderness Information Center
Statistics
Roundtrip 4.5 miles
Elevation Gain 1300 ft
Highest Point 4080 ft
Features
Rivers
Old growth
Wildflowers/Meadows
Mountain views
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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