This trail has it all, from beautiful forests, beautiful waterfalls, good climbing and fun descents to technical sections with views of Mount Rainier from cliffs that will inspire you.
Begin a steep climb right from the Highway 410. 0.4 miles in, hikers arrive at a junction with the White River Trail #1199. Keep left, following the Palisades Trail #1198 up a set of switchbacks that parallel the steep canyon along Dalles Creek through forest.
Listen for Lower Dalles Falls, one mile from the trailhead. Take a side trail to the right for a closer look. This is a snow-driven creek, and in the mid summer it is just a trickle. Late spring and early summer are the best time to visit.
Push past the falls, up the wooden staircase and continue to switchback uphill. Cross two creeks on wooden bridges at 1.2 and 1.4 miles from the trailhead, respectively, until the trail becomes a gentle climb. At 1.7 mils, reach the first viewpoint along the trail. With good weather you will see Sun Top Mountain and Skookum Falls (another snow-driven waterfall) across the White River Valley.
Continue on, hiking through old-growth forest and climbing 1.3 miles to the next viewpoint--North Snoquera Point. From here, the views are impressive: Mount Rainier and Sun Top Mountain rise above the valley.
Moving on, follow the trail through a section of young forest and drop down, crossing Snoquera Creek on two wooden bridges. You will reach the third view point--South Snoquera Point--about 4.5 miles from the trailhead. Mount Rainier is in front, Sun Top Mountain on the right and Ranger Creek Airport on the left below.
The next section of ventures through a recent timber harvest area beginning about five and a half miles in. Another viewpoint of the valley below is just past this, about 5.7 miles in. 6.6 miles from the trailhead arrive at a junction with Ranger Creek Trail 1197. Here you can access Little Ranger Peak and the Ranger Creek Shelter beyond.
However, to complete this loop, turn right and begin a long downhill descent, now on the Ranger Creek Trail. As you come down, approach (via switchback) and then parallel Ranger Creek, dropping 2500 feet in 4.8 miles. The last leg of your loop is a knee-saving traverse. At the junction with Trail 1199, turn right and hike about 3.3 miles along the valley bottom. Arrive at a junction. This is for the Snoquera Falls Trail--a 2.4 mile trail that parallels the one you're currently hiking on. Continue along for another mile and pass through an intersection with the Snoquera Falls trail (which runs east/west) and continue a further 0.8 miles to your last junction, where you turn left and make the short descent back to your car.
WTA Pro Tip: If your knees can take it, add in a side trip to Snoquera Falls at the end of this loop. It offers an excellent close-up view of a waterfall and adds on 2.4 miles, making a nearly 16 mile loop more than 18, and offering the full spectrum of what this part of Washington has to offer.
- 15.9 miles, roundtrip
- Elevation Gain
- 2,680 feet
- Highest Point
- 5,300 feet
Map & Directions
Co-ordinates: 47.0580, -121.5731 Open in Google Maps