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Tahoma Creek Suspension Bridge - Emerald Ridge Loop

Mount Rainier Area

Location

Mount Rainier Area -- SW - Longmire/Paradise
View map below

Length

14.2 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 3100 ft.
Highest Point: 5600 ft.

Rating

3.12 out of 5

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WTA worked here: 2015
 

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

National Park Pass
 
 

Ever wanted to hike the Wonderland Trail, but have time for only a sneak peek? Here’s how to enjoy a sampling of the Wonderland’s spectacular scenery—in a single day!

Begin by hiking or biking 1.8 miles up the Westside Road to the unmarked Tahoma Creek Trail. Lock up your bike if you brought it, as it is permitted only on the road. A sign indicates that this trail is not maintained due to numerous washouts in recent years; however, it is still navigable thanks to markers and cairns leading the way. Hike up the trail for 2.1 miles, pass a small waterfall and join the Wonderland Trail.

Head north on the Wonderland on a gentle, forested ascent. The trail turns from dust to pebbles, and the scenery moves from forest to volcanic and subalpine terrain. As you approach Emerald Ridge you’ll discover the reason for its name—the wildflowers and grasses make this high alpine meadow a vision in green and offer visitors a wonderful packs-off opportunity to sit and take it all in. Aster, harebell and western anemone thrive in the volcanic earth, while the odd view of The Mountain from this angle makes it seem decrepit, fragile and ancient.

The descent from Emerald Ridge is arguably the loosest rock footing on the whole trail, so go slow and use caution. In the next 1.5 miles the volcanic rock gives way to more forested canopy. Turn west on the South Puyallup Trail, watching for some interesting andesite columns, named the Colonnades. Continue descending through shrubs and thimbleberry, choreographed to the rumbling song of the South Puyallup River. At the next junction divert onto the Round Pass Trail and climb through woods for 0.6 mile to reach the Westside Road and the top of Round Pass.

Spot a stone memorial dedicated to a group of Marines whose plane went down on South Tahoma Glacier. Turn south on the road for the 2-mile descent to the Tahoma Creek Trail, grab your bike or walk back to your vehicle, and celebrate a wonderful day!

WTA Pro Tip: Get intimate views of The Mountain, including Pyramid Peak, Glacier Island and the Sunset Amphitheater.

 

Tahoma Creek Suspension Bridge - Emerald Ridge Loop

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 46.8380, -121.8970 Open map in new window

Trailhead

Mount Rainier Area -- SW - Longmire/Paradise

Mount Rainier National Park

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Getting There

From Nisqually entrance, drive east on the Nisqually Longmire Road for 1 mile. Turn left onto the West Side Road, the first road to the left after the entrance, briefly paved. Follow the gravel road for 3.2 miles to the end and park.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

National Park Pass
 

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Tahoma Creek Suspension Bridge - Emerald Ridge Loop

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