Outdoor writer, photographer, adventurer, and Chimani Brand Ambassador Caroline Meleedy recently set out on the Pinnacle Peak Trail in Mount Rainier National Park, and she took us along for the hike. Check out her blog and video below!
Pinnacle Peak, located near the ever-popular Reflection Lakes, is one of the most used trails in the lower Paradise area- and for good reason. This 2.5 mile round trip trail gains 1,050 feet of elevation in just 1.25 miles. The trail begins across the road from Reflection Lakes. Park here and make your way to the trailhead.
The trail meanders through the forest of Douglas Firs and Western Red Cedars for a while, before spitting you out into some exposed sections with killer views of Mount Rainier behind you.
As you continue, the trail gets steeper and dusty. It switchbacks a bit through a steep rock slope and up onto the Pinnacle Peak Saddle, where the maintained trail ends. As you make your last push onto the saddle, Mount Adams dominates the skyline. Mount Hood is also visible. Turn around and Mount Rainier is right in your face.
If you are experienced in off-trail hiking and somewhat sketchy rock scrambling, you can scramble further up Pinnacle Peak, which is the second-highest peak in the Tatoosh Range, or you can make your way up Plummer.
This trail is very popular, especially on nice summer weekends, due to its short length and proximity to Paradise. It is recommended to get an early start, not only to have the trail to yourself but also to avoid long lines at the Nisqually and Steven’s Canyon Entrances.
– Caroline Meleedy