Shriner Peak

I had only done Shriner Peak one time. Hard to believe. It is an excellent workout with terrific views as well. Gary and I went in July 2002, the first year of this website. Digital photography was in its infancy and I ad a 1.3 megapixel camera with no optical zoom. I needed better photos. On that trip there was snow the last half mile and wildflowers in bloom along the trail. Though it is still summer we are well into fall conditions. I expected lots of red and orange leaves. I left North Seattle at 6:30 am. On to Enumclaw then up Highway 410 to Cayuse Pass. Over the pass and downhill 7.5 miles to the paved parking spot on the right (west) side of the road. The trail is signed and is a few hundred feet farther down the road. Room for 5-6 cars on the west side. Another 3-4 can fit on the dirt shoulder on the east side. I was packed and ready by 8:28 am. There was one other car at the trailhead.

The trail climbs at a steady grade. One quick switchback then a long traverse to the south. There was a little leaf color down low. Some was still green and some was shriveled. Though it was early the temperature was higher than expected. It is mid September already. The lower half of the trip is in forest. When the traverse ends the trail is now on the south side of the mountain. I was looking in the wrong direction for Mt. Rainier. The route pops out of forest and into the sunshine. The grade remains steady most of the way. Traversing to the left I reached a spot I vaguely recalled form 13 years before. Mt. Rainier suddenly popped out. A short side trail led to a spot with an unobstructed view of Rainier. I took a short break to enjoy the view.

The fall color really improved higher up. Muted in one direction but afire when lit up by the sunshine. Lots of photos to take. The route climbs to a ridge and drops a short way on the other side. Into a little forest and more climbing to the big meadow. Really good color along here. Very slow going. With all my photo stops I expected to see other hikers catch up. It did not happen. The summit came into view at the lower ridge but it still was 1000' vertical feet away. The last part included a number of long switchbacks up the face of the peak. Very gently graded and long traverses. The summit did not seem to be getting much closer.

I was nearly to the top before the lookout building came into view. This one does not stand on legs. The lower section is part of the building. I headed up the stairs and found two hikers on the shady side. They accounted for the one car at the trailhead. They started up at 6:30 am as I was leaving Seattle. They did have great early morning lighting. I sat down with a view of Mt. Rainier right in front of me. I could pick out the Cowlitz Chimneys, Mt. Tamanos, Burroughs Mt., and even Mt. Fremont.

Another couple arrived a few minutes later and they sat down. One more hiker arrived soon after. I arrived at 1:00 pm and spent 45 minutes on the lookout. I headed down and took the short trail to the two campsites. There is a bear wire and a big self contained toilet. I could see to the south and it was very hazy. I headed back to the lookout and another group arrived. Two of the first three groups had already left. At 12:48 pm I headed on down. Everyone else left before me. I spent almost two hours on top. The lighting was still pretty good going down. I took fewer photos but did stop for some good leaf color. I caught the first group of the day and did not see them again. Four or five more groups were seen heading up. It was now very warm. I was glad to be going down not up.

The trip down was much faster. 1:44 vs. 2:30 going up. A full 46 minutes faster. I'm not sure if the lack of parking keeps the crowds away. For such a nice hike with views and fall colors I did not see many hikers. This trip has the added bonus of being in Mt. Rainier National Park but not requiring any fees. If you can find parking it's free. The last line of my 2002 trip report reads, "I will definitely be back to Shriner Peak before long". Well, 13 years is a long time. I should not let that much time go by before I return.

Parking Area
Bright Green Leaves
Twisted Tree
First Colors
Multiple Colors
Lots Of Colors
Deeper Color
Red & Green
First Look At Rainier
Mt. Rainier Summit
Orange Against Blue Sky
Last Wildflowers
Summit In Sight
Ridge Color
Shade & Sunshine
More Yellows
Very Deep Red
Colorful Meadows
Beautiful Day
Outstanding Colors
Flaming Berry Bushes
Nearing Peak Colors
Golden Meadow
Shriner Peak Lookout
View Towards Rainier
Cowlitz Chimneys
Tamanos Mountain
Little Tahoma
Inside Lookout
Last Rainier Shot
Lookout Again
Color Heading Down
Christmas Colors
Back To The Yellows
Last Leaf Color Shot
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2015