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Pinnacle Saddle

Mount Rainier Area

Location

Mount Rainier Area -- SE - Cayuse Pass/Stevens Canyon
View map below

Length

2.5 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 1000 ft.
Highest Point: 5920 ft.

Rating

4.40 out of 5

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

National Park Pass
 
 

Imagine that you are looking through a telephoto lens at one of those iconic images of Mount Rainier taken from the south. Now zoom out to a wider view of the entire mountain, the thick forests below timberline, the enormous brown gash of the Nisqually River Valley, and beside it the verdant parkland that became known as Paradise. This is the view from the Pinnacle Saddle trail.

Start out from the signed trailhead across the road from the largest Reflection Lake. The trail climbs moderately through sparse forest, affording a partial view of Mount Rainier at half a mile. At 0.6 mile, a seasonal stream may provide water. Then at 0.7 mile, the trail breaks out into the open for good.

Continue upward, now on rocky trail the rest of the way. It’s slightly steeper but always wide enough when clear of snow. Pass beneath some impressive cliffs at 0.9 mile to a short switchback at 1 mile. On a clear day, this is the best view along the entire trail. You can see the network of paths throughout Paradise, and maybe plan your next hike from this grand view of several possibilities.

But don’t stop now; you can tell where the saddle is and it beckons you the last quarter mile. Finally, at 1.25 miles step through the portal that is Pinnacle Saddle to a view of open meadows, falling away steeply, with Mount Adams prominent in the distance. The meadows are a part of the protected Butter Creek Research Natural Area. To the left and right are climber’s trails to nearby peaks. Enjoy the views then return the way you came.

 

Pinnacle Saddle

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 46.7683, -121.7314 Open map in new window

Trailhead

Mount Rainier Area -- SE - Cayuse Pass/Stevens Canyon

Pinnacle Peak (#00)

Mount Rainier National Park

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: Mt. Rainier National Park Trails (Nelson & Bauer - Mountaineers Books)

Mt. Rainier National Park Hiking Map and Guide (Earthwalk Press)

Buy the Green Trails Paradise No. 270S map

Buy the Green Trails Mt Rainier East No. 270 map

Getting There

Enter the west (Nisqually) entrance to Mount Rainier National Park, 13.5 miles east of Elbe on State Route 706. Drive 15 miles to a junction with the Stevens Canyon Road. Go right 1.5 miles to the Reflection Lakes parking area, which accommodates about 35 vehicles. There are no facilities.

If approaching from the east entrance, travel Stevens Canyon Road west 18 miles to the Reflection Lakes parking area.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

National Park Pass
 

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Pinnacle Saddle

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