Follow tumbling, churning, Van Trump Creek upstream past spectacular Bloucher Falls and Comet Falls, to a stunning view of the barren Kautz Creek valley from Mildred Point.
From the trailhead, cross a stout bridge over Van Trump Creek. Look downstream to catch a glimpse of the roadway below Christine Falls. The falls (not visible from above) were named for the daughter of Philemon Beecher Van Trump. Who? P.B. Van Trump and his partner Hazard Stevens, are credited with the first ascent of Mount Rainier in August 1870. See the note below for more information about this historic climb of Washington's highest peak.
Follow Van Trump Creek upstream as it roars through a narrow gorge with numerous cascades and small waterfalls. At 1.6 miles, round a corner to see a striking three-tiered waterfall: Bloucher Falls. Cross the footlog, then go left below the bank to rejoin the trail, which soon after provides the first clear view of Comet Falls. At 1.9 miles from the trailhead and 4875 feet, a side path to the left approaches the 392 foot falls.
To continue, go right and begin ascending steeply. Gain 650 feet in 0.6 mile to arrive at a junction, often buried under several feet of snow into July. Go right and climb to a green meadow which provides glimpses of Mount Rainier - a teaser for what’s ahead.
To reach Mildred Point, hang a left at the junction and drop 200 feet to a log crossing of Van Trump Creek. Here, turn left after you admire Upper Comet Falls upstream, and gaze over the top of Comet Falls on your way to another junction, half a mile from the previous one. Take a right to go to Mildred Point; the final half mile leads you along a trail that gets narrow, steep, rutted, and overgrown, but passes gorgeous wildflowers.
3.5 miles from the trailhead is Mildred Point, a bluff at 5900 feet overlooking the vast and rocky Kautz Creek valley, with unobstructed views of Mount Rainier. Enjoy the surreal volcanic rock formations, the steepness of the terrain, and the contrast between the gray rocks here and the green of Van Trump Park to the east.
Note: Stevens and Van Trump probably did not stand on the true summit of Mount Rainier, but they are credited with the first ascent, two months ahead of geologists Samuel Emmons and Allen Wilson. That is why the names Van Trump and Stevens are attached to numerous features in Mount Rainier National Park.
A Yakima Indian named Sluiskin guided Stevens and Van Trump up the Muir snowfield to 9200 feet, but refused to go higher. Other native guides had similarly stopped short of the summit, largely because of Sluiskin’s grandfather, who decades earlier had climbed the highest of any native on Takhoma (Mount Rainier). He had not summited, and strongly advised against it, reporting that Takhoma was inhabited by an evil spirit who dwelt in a fiery lake on its summit.
(Source: “The Stevens and Van Trump Ascent of Mount Rainier, August 1870”, Northwest Discovery - The Journal of Northwest History and Natural History, Northwest Press.)
Van Trump Park was not along the First Ascent route. A monument to the climbers along their actual route can be found by hiking the Skyline Trail from Paradise to Sluiskin Falls, which they named for their guide.
- 7.0 miles, roundtrip
- Elevation Gain
- 3135 feet
- Highest Point
- 5900 feet
Hiking Mildred Point
Map & Directions
Co-ordinates: 46.7517, -121.8124 Open in Google Maps