• Mount Rainier peeks through clouds, viewed across subalpine wildflowers and glacial moraine.

    Mount Rainier

    National Park Washington

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    Road construction from the Nisqually Entrance to Longmire. Expect a 30-minute delay, Monday through Friday. More »

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Van Trump Trail

Trail route from Nisqually Road near Christine Falls to Van Trump Park/ SW.
A map of the Van Trump Trail from Nisqually Road near Christine Falls turnout.  Use of a topographic map of the area is recommended.
 

Trail Description:

Comet Falls

Trump Park

Distance, round-trip:

3.8 miles

5.8 miles

Elevation gain:

900 feet

2000 feet

Hiking time, round-trip:

3 hours

5 hours

Wilderness camps:

No

No

One of the highest waterfalls in the park, Comet Falls was named because it resembles the tail of a comet. Or so some thought! Van Trump Park honors P. B. Ban Trump, who, with Hazard Stevens, was one of the first people to stand on the summit of Mount Rainier.

The Comet Falls trailhead is located four miles east of Longmire on the road toward Paradise. Parking space is limited and often full. There is no more parking nearby, so have an alternate hike in mind.

For two miles the trail climbs steadily up hill until it reaches the base of Comet Falls. From there it switchbacks .6 mile uphill to the junction with the Rampart Ridge Trail. Van Trump Park is to the right, where the trail winds through the meadows until it dead ends in .5 mile.

Along the
Trail:

Three hundred-twenty foot Comet Falls is a popular destination for many hikers. For those folks who continue, Mount Adams and Mount St. Helens stand out to the distant south while the Kautz and Van Trump Glaciers dominate views of Mount Rainier to the north. Look for marmots and pikas on rocky open slopes and goats to the east, west and north of Van Trump Park.


Backpacking:


There is no designated camp along this trail nor anywhere nearby; however, crosscounty camping opportunities exist for skilled minimum impact backpackers who seek a primitive experience. Permits are required for camping. Permits and current trail conditions are available park-wide from wilderness information centers, ranger stations, and visitor centers. Fires are prohibited. No pets on trails. Treat water before drinking.

Did You Know?

Northwest face of Mount Rainier and Emmons Glacier as seen from Sunrise.

Mount Rainier is the most heavily glaciated peak in the lower 48 states at 35 square miles of snow and ice with Emmons Glacier being the largest by surface area with 4.3 square miles of ice. The Emmons is best viewed from Sunrise on the NE side of the mountain.