Pinnacle Peak, Mt. Rainier National Park Trip Report
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September 25, 2002
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From Tacoma drive 40 miles south on Highway 7 to Elbe and go east 10 miles on Highway 706 to the Mount Rainier National Park Nisqually Entrance Station. Proceed 15 miles to Stevens Canyon Road. Turn right (south) and drive 1.5 miles south to the Reflection lakes parking area. The trailhead is on the south side of the road.
Trail notes: If you are at Paradise for one day and want to head straight for the best camera angle in the area, here is your trail. Unlike other Paradise vistas, which actually traverse the lower slopes of the mountain, Pinnacle Saddle is a bit more detached, keeping a constant watch on Rainier from the Tatoosh Range to the south. The trail starts out gradually and then turns upward sharply enough to crimp the style of even the most aerobically fit The trail ends at an elevation of 6,000 feet in the saddle between Pinnacle Peak (6,562 feet) and Plummer Peak (6,370feet). The view of Rainier is framable, and the view backward, to the south, is almost as magnificent. Try to pick out Mount Adams in the haze. Special note: Sections of this trail remain snowbound until midsummer and should not be attempted by hikers without experience crossing snow. Sturdy, waterproof, and deep-lugged boots are recommended, if not essential. Several scrambles from the saddle to the top are inviting, but should be avoided by most.
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Reviewed By: Anonymous on Tuesday, June 16, 2009 @ 04:20:43 AM
I've done this hike at least once a year since 4th grade (and I'm in my late 20's now). The scenery itself on the trail is beautiful, I take it slow and just enjoy my surroundings. The views from the top are the best in the park. For the last 10 years I've settled with stopping at the saddle, but as a kid my family always went on to the top of plummer. I don't remember as much of the hike up to Plummer except for more AMAZING views (and some bugs on top the mountain usually!). I did go up as a kid in elementry school a few times so I can't imagine it was much more difficult than the trail to the saddle.
Pinnacle Peak Views Can't Be Beat
Reviewed By: Denise on Saturday, April 25, 2009 @ 08:30:02 PM
Have hiked Pinnacle Peak several times... views seem to get better each year! Usually see marmots, chipmunks, and deer. Definitely worth the effort-- one of the best trails in the park.
High Reward hike
Reviewed By: drobertsrn on Wednesday, September 7, 2005 @ 09:38:38 PM
This is a pretty amazing hike on a clear day. Fairly moderate incline is well worth the effort. Stunning views from both sides of the past. Do this hike!!!! We played around on the Pinnacle Glacier after a short scramble on loose scree and then followed a game trail down along a small stream back to the main road.
Overall, this ranks high on the reward vs. effort scale.
Reviewed By: Bruddah Chrispy on Thursday, September 1, 2005 @ 05:09:50 PM
Review: My girlfriend and I hiked up the Pinnacle Peak trail last weekend. At the saddle we turned to the left and scrambled to the top. There we sat and ate our lunch and enjoyed the view. It was a warm summer day, but the cool breeze blowing up from the south made it very comfortable. The whole hike took about 3 hours, including the time spent eating. We're a couple of middle-aged (how did *that* happen?!?) folks in average shape for non-obese Americans. The hike wasn't that difficult, but we were a bit sore the next day.
Reviewed By: Quinn Czichas on Saturday, June 25, 2005 @ 08:07:18 AM
Review: Pinnacle Peak is, let's say, one of those hikes worth driving to Mt. Rainier if it's a full day commitment for those who live far from the park. The trailhead is across the road from Reflection Lake. Upon arriving at the saddle where the maintained trail ends, the views are awesome. You can opt to continue east (head left when reaching the saddle), or venture to other nearby peaks on this glorious Tatoosh Range.
Continuing on, it's hard to locate the trail that can take you to the top. You encounter scree that switch backs, and eventually come to a rock staircase with no real direction to take. You just look up and follow (as much as possible) the footpath until you get to the staircase. My party of weekend hikers was lucky, as we met a mountaineering group in training, and followed their lead. On a sunny weekend, you'll probably encount a dozen people or so on the way up. The last 300 yards or so are up, up, up, hand and foot rock climbing. Good to have some security, but we made it (some of us in tennis shoes) with no equipment - just be careful and use your head.
Once on top, the view of Rainier is one of the best on this side of the park. Below are Reflection Lake, some snow, Paradise visitor center in the distance and below you, etc. Turn around and you can see St. Helens, Adams, and other peaks you didn't know existed. Camera time!
Not for kids under 12 I'd say, but a nice hike if you have 3-4 hrs to kill while in the park, or make a day of it, and you feel the need to sweat.
1st time to Glacier Nat'l Park
Reviewed By: Sarah on Saturday, June 18, 2005 @ 12:48:34 AM
Review: We saw the Paradise parking lot and decided that wasn't where we wanted to be, so thank goodness we found this hike! All we were going by was the park map given at the entrance, with little in the way of topographic clues, but this was a perfect early-season hike (mid-June 2005 = little snow). Rainier was mostly shrouded in clouds, so Pinnacle Peak presented a nice visual challenge. It proved to be a very pleasant hike through varying terrain, including several snow fields, and once we reached the end of the maintained trail we couldn't resist the urge to scramble to the "top," or some portion thereof. The chill wind, threatening clouds and slippery scree cautioned us to remain humble in the face of the wilderness, but the spectacular views, scurrying chipmunks, singing birds and marmots reminded us why we should make the effort to reach places like this!
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