great choice for views of RainierThis was an ideal summer 'diversion', for a father & son, from a huge family reunion near Yakima. Son was a month away from twelfth birthday and had more hiking/climbing experience than most twenty-somethings. Day's skies shifted from overcast to sunny, and long sleeves and w'breaker were needed during early hours.
Ascent was steady and strenuous with pleasant paths through forest and past falls of snow melt-off. I recall it took us just under 3.5 hours to reach summit, where the wind was at times swift and chilly. The views of Rainier are wonderful, and despite the usual summer haze, even St. Helens and Adams were distinct. Plenty of wildlife seen: chipmunk, deer, elk and goat... and we both detected near the treeline what we thought was the scent of bear. Droppings nearby seemed to support that.
This was a perfect confidence-builder for a growing, pre-teen young man and a great get-away for this in-law from the family reunion! While visiting Washington, we had very little time for serious hiking, so this was just the right choice of trail for our special nature day. I recommend it for anyone else seeking a challenging day-hike with spectacular views.