Mount Rainier, Part 2: Paradise

They don’t call this region of the park Paradise without cause.  Mount Rainier National Park, WA

They don’t call this region of the park Paradise without cause. Mount Rainier National Park, WA

My second day at the park started off as a bright and relatively cloudless day so I headed off to the Skyline Trail, which takes you up Mount Rainier through the meadows and across snow fields – almost as far as you can hike without actually mountain climbing. I know I’m overusing the word ‘beautiful’ in this blog but really, every single second of this hike was absolutely stunning. And gorgeous. And just beautiful. This trail is unequivocally my favorite of my trip thus far. I know I can’t do it justice, so I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

View of the Mount Rainier from near the trailhead, Skyline Loop Trail, Mount Rainier National Park, WA

View of Mount Rainier from near the trailhead, Skyline Loop Trail, Mount Rainier National Park, WA

Meadows along the Skyline Loop Trail, looking backwards to the Cascade Range, Mount Rainier National Park, WA

Meadows along the Skyline Loop Trail, looking backwards to the Cascade Range, Mount Rainier National Park, WA

Looking out over the clouds on the climb up the mountain, Skyline Loop Trail, Mount Rainier National Park, WA

Looking out over the clouds on the climb up the mountain, Skyline Loop Trail, Mount Rainier National Park, WA

A marmot next to the trail, Skyline Loop Trail, Mount Rainier National Park, WA

A marmot next to the trail, Skyline Loop Trail, Mount Rainier National Park, WA

The mountain looms on the ascent, Skyline Loop Trail, Mount Rainier National Park, WA

The mountain looms on the ascent, Skyline Loop Trail, Mount Rainier National Park, WA

Passing glaciers on the ascent of Skyline Loop Trail with meadows in the foreground, Mount Rainier National Park, WA

Passing glaciers on the ascent of Skyline Loop Trail with meadows in the foreground, Mount Rainier National Park, WA

The trail crosses another snow field, Skyline Loop Trail, Mount Rainier National Park, WA

The trail crosses another snow field, Skyline Loop Trail, Mount Rainier National Park, WA

View of Cascade Mountain Range cloaked by clouds from Panorama Point, Skyline Loop Trail, Mount Rainier National Park, WA

View of Cascade Mountain Range cloaked by clouds from Panorama Point, Skyline Loop Trail, Mount Rainier National Park, WA

View of the mountain from the highest point I travelled.  You can see a mountain climbing expedition taking the spur up to the ice. Mount Rainier National Park, WA

View of the mountain from the highest point I travelled. You can see a mountain climbing expedition taking the spur up to the ice. Mount Rainier National Park, WA

Rocks deposited in a meadow on descent, Skyline Loop Trail, Mount Rainier National Park, WA

Rocks deposited in a meadow on descent, Skyline Loop Trail, Mount Rainier National Park, WA

Descending the mountain through the meadows, almost at cloud level, Skyline Loop Trail, Mount Rainier National Park, WA

Descending the mountain through the meadows, almost at cloud level, Skyline Loop Trail, Mount Rainier National Park, WA

Crossing glacial outwash a mile from the trailhead, Skyline Loop Trail, Mount Rainier National Park, WA

Crossing glacial outwash a mile from the trailhead, Skyline Loop Trail, Mount Rainier National Park, WA