Hiking Mount Rainier National Park, 2nd: A Guide to the Park's Greatest Hiking Adventures Paperback – Oct 1 2005
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From the Back Cover
Hiking Mount Rainier National Park features sixty-one of the finest trails in Washington - from short day hikes to backcountry treks. With this comprehensive guide, veteran hikers Heidi Schneider and Mary Skjelset provide all the information you need to get the most out of hiking this natural wonderland.
Look inside to find:
" Hikes suited to every ability
" Detailed trail descriptions
" GPS-compatible trail maps and route profiles
" Mile-by-mile directional cues
" Difficulty ratings, trail contacts, fees/permits, and best hiking seasons
" Invaluable planning information, including local lodging recommendations
About the Author
Mary Skjelset , also from Montana, appreciates the wild side of life. After graduating college and working with an environmental organization in the Czech Republic, she settled in Oregon and now attends law school at Lewis and Clark college.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The book covers pretty much every official trail in the park, from quarter-mile long interpretive loops to the 90 mile round-the-mountain Wonderland Trail. The book is organized geographically, and includes a table of lists which show trails organized by features (such as easy trails that go to waterfalls, etc.).
Surprisingly it does not contain an alphabetical index, which makes it hard to look up trails or places if you only know their names and not their locations. (For instance, the cover shows a wonderful view of Myrtle Falls, but I was unable to find out from the book how to actually get there! I had to be able to recognize that the view of the mountain was from the Paradise area, and then the falls were shown on one of the Paradise area trail maps.)
It has been some time since I last read the first edition of this guide, but I remember it being quite personal, with descriptions of what the authors saw when they were actually there. There is nothing like that in this edition -- there is no sense that authors actually travelled to Mount Rainier. The writing style seems very professional but unfortunately also very dry.
I spend most of my time in Mount Rainier going off the trails and up to the many peaks that are in the park -- and this book is useless for that purpose. It doesn't even tell you about such easy unofficial trails as Knapsack Pass or Third Burroughs Mountain. To get information like that I recommend Beckey's Guide, Smoot's Climbing Washington's Mountains, and Goldman's 75 Scrambles. (Or my own Seattle Scrambles website.)
But it is an excellent resource for what it does cover: official, maintained hiking trails in Mount Rainier National Park. Each trail is described with a qualitative overview, a detailed description of the hike, a list of points of interest, a map, and a table of vital statistics like the estimated hours it will take to hike the trail and the official source of information on current trail conditions.
(The maps show some topographical detail and some trail detail, but they are not really replacements for serious topo maps. They do show UTM coordinates, but they don't say which datum they are using. The maps probably do suffice for summertime, good weather use -- when you are unlikely to lose the trail as long as you stay on it.)
The book also has some chapters in the back covering things like "leave no trace" ethics, dealing with cougars and bears, how to hike in springtime snow, and subjects like that. Nothing in any great detail, but it could be useful information.
For the person who wants to explore the official hiking trails of Mount Rainier, from the popular to the obscure, this is the book I would recommend.
For hiking the Wonderland Trail though be sure to read Discovering the Wonders of the Wonderland Trail: Encircling Mount Rainier It covers the big trail in full depth.
Otherwise the guide is perfect for planning a trip to what I consider the prettiest park in the country ;-)
Only disclaimer: Due to the horrid weather/flooding at Rainier the past couple years be sure to call or visit the park's website for up-to-date road and trail info before you head out. Areas such as Carbon River that were once a mecca for day visitors are now a long walk in due to destroyed roads. As well, the front country campgrounds at Ipsuit Creek and Sunshine Point no longer exist for cars due to said flooding.
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