Hiking Kautz Creek Trail Around Mount Rainier
A classic hike, located at the South West foothills of Mt.Rainier. The trail takes you through a beautiful pine forest and up above the treeline. Once out in the open, you will find yourself standing in front of fourteen & half thousand feet giant glacial volcano, with 270 degree panoramic views of the entire region.
- Distance: 10mi (16km) roundtrip
- Elevation Gain: 3,500ft (1,000m)
- Estimated Duration: 6-8Hrs
- Interactive Map: Alltrails Map
- Directions: Trailhead Parking Location
The trailhead is conveniently located right along the Paradise Road and has a fairly large parking lot. For the most part, the trail goes below the treeline, gradually gaining elevation until you reach fairly exposed ridge.
When you hike the trail during summer, it’s very visible and easy to follow. Typically, you won’t find any snow at all. Because we were in Washington during second half of May, there was some snow along the way… In fact, there was tons of snow! Midway on the trail, we started noticing dense areas of snow here and there. Once we crossed the creek over the wooded bridge, we were walking entirely on snow. The higher we got, the thicker the snow depth became.
Luckily, we were not surprised and therefore brought our snowshoes along! Just in-case and all the way from Philadelphia! 😉 My wife does have previous experience hiking in snow, but she never had to navigate in such terrain. There was completely no signs of trail or trail markers to follow! On top of that, I gave her a task to try to find the way to the top of the ridge by using a map and compass. I must say, she did an exceptional job and made me feel very proud! About an hour later, we were standing on top of our scenic viewpoint, eating lunch and enjoying the views of Mount Rainier. Well, the foothills of Mt.Rainier to be exact!
At this point, the terrain toward second and third scenic viewpoints looked a little more complicated with some small cornices along the way. Not taking any chances, we decided to turn around and head back toward the trailhead. Later that day we visited Paradise Valley Visitors Center, which is the highest point accessible by car. We walked around for some time and explored whole new different views of Mt.Rainier.