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South Puyallup Trail

Mount Rainier Area > SW - Longmire/Paradise
46.8065, -121.8909 Map & Directions
Length
3.4 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
700 feet
Highest Point
4200 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Easy/Moderate

Known as the South Puyallup Trail, this access point to the Wonderland Trail is a connector 1.7 miles long that wends its way through a mature forest with trees ranging between 100 to 1000 years old. The variety of ecosystems make this hike an alluring one: visitors start in the lower elevations, surrounded by western redcedar, Douglas fir, yew and western hemlock. But as you climb, you'll see Pacific silver fir, western white pine, noble fir, and the rare Alaska yellow cedar. Continue reading

  • Mountain views
  • Established campsites
  • Ridges/passes
  • Old growth
  • Good for kids
  • Dogs not allowed
  • Rivers
Rating
4.00 out of 5

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Hiking South Puyallup Trail

Known as the South Puyallup Trail, this access point to the Wonderland Trail is a connector 1.7 miles long that wends its way through a mature forest with trees ranging between 100 to 1000 years old. The variety of ecosystems make this hike an alluring one: visitors start in the lower elevations, surrounded by western redcedar, Douglas fir, yew and western hemlock. But as you climb, you'll see Pacific silver fir, western white pine, noble fir, and the rare Alaska yellow cedar.

Your route ascends alongside the South Puyallup River, where in 2006 it overran its banks and spilled into lower sections of the forest. It took until 2019 to get a reroute in place, when crews moved the trail up the hill and out of flooding danger. 

Crews installed puncheons, turnpikes, check steps, and bridges to keep the trail sustainable, and they add some variety to the trail underfoot as you wander through the forest. Where the trail gets close to the South Puyallup River head out to the rocky stream bed for lunch, watch the torrential glacier stream cascading down the mountain side, or gaze up at the largest peak in the Cascades. 

WTA worked here in 2021, 2019 and 2018!

Hike Description Written by
Multiple authors contributed to this report, WTA Community

South Puyallup Trail

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 46.8065, -121.8909 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

See weather forecast

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

From the Nisqually entrance of Mount Rainier National Park (off Highway 706), drive east on Nisqually-Longmire Road for one mile. The turnoff for the Westside Road is on your left. There is no designated parking area, so be sure to park in such a way that traffic can flow uninterrupted along the road. The official South Puyallup trailhead can be reached after about 3.5 miles of hiking along the decommissioned section of the Westside Road,

More Hike Details

Trailhead

Mount Rainier Area > SW - Longmire/Paradise

Mount Rainier National Park

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hike! Mount Rainier

4th Edition Paperback by Ron C. Judd

Best Easy Day Hikes Mount Rainier National Park (Best Easy Day Hikes Series) by Heidi Radlinski

Mary Skjelset

Mount Rainier National Park. 217. National Geographic. 2018

Buy the Green Trails Mt Rainier West No. 269 map

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South Puyallup Trail

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