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By Diane Spicer
This Mount Rainier hiking Pinnacle Peak experience absolutely deserves a place on your short list of the best Mt. Rainier day hikes.
And I'm about to convince you, by presenting a detailed trail description, photos and videos I've gathered over several trips up to Pinnacle Saddle from Reflection Lakes.
Come along with me!
Stevens Canyon Road (either from Longmire, at the bottom of the hill, or Paradise, at the top of the Nisqually Entrance to Mount Rainier National Park, brings you to the Reflection Lakes parking lot.
After you spend some time admiring the lakes, locate the trailhead across the Stevens Canyon Road, roughly at the midpoint of the parking lot and across from the largest of the Reflection Lakes.
You get huge views, even on a hazy day, for not much sweat in this hike.
You'll work a bit, ascending through moderately dense forest on a well maintained dirt trail.
you will break out of the trees for a few tantalizing views of Rainier.
After a mile, the footing turns rocky.
The saddle is between Pinnacle Peak and Plummer Peak, in the Tatoosh Range.
Your reward: a close up view of Mount Rainier, and Paradise Lodge nestled on its flank, to the north.
Catch your breath, turn around, and you'll see the glowing white mound of Mount Adams in the foreground, and blown up, bleak Mount St. Helens.
You'll also see meadows, the Tatoosh Range, and maybe some marmots or goats.
There are no opportunities for water beyond a small seasonal stream around the half mile mark, so be sure you bring enough so you can spend a lot of time up top without getting dehydrated on a clear, hot summer day.
There is nothing hard about the footing, and the trail is plenty wide. However:
If you locate the climber's trail skirting the slope to the right, you can continue past the saddle to the shoulder of Plummer Peak.
Enjoy a small tarn and lots of rocks to sit on.
are a few potentially uncomfortable spots with tricky footing and a few
steps of exposure - not recommended for youngsters or in wet, windy weather.
Gaining the summit of Plummer Peak will require using some hand holds on logs and rocks, like this.
If you don't like to come off steep spots, call it a day at Pinnacle Saddle and you won't be sorry with your under three mile sweat investment.
Or wander for a bit along the spine of Plummer Peak, with meadows on one side and gorgeous Mount Rainier on the other.
Pinnacle Peak (not the saddle) is smack dab in the middle of the Tatoosh Range.
Eagle Peak, accessed from Longmire, is at the other end of this range.
This question is super easy to answer:
Save this one for a clear day so you can add a photo like this to your hiking memories:
Planning a Mount Rainier day hike trip? You really should consider adding Rainier hiking Pinnacle Peak to your dream list.
Contact me if you've got any questions about why I recommend it as one of THE best places in the park to admire the beauty that is Rainier.
Mount Rainier Hiking Pinnacle Peak