Rampart Ridge - Wonderland Trail Loop, Longmire - Trail of Shadows Trailhead, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
Rampart Ridge - Wonderland Trail Loop - 4.5 miles
Longmire - Trail of Shadows Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||4.5 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||2,725' - 2,725' (Max elevation 4,045')|
|Elevation Change:||+1320' net elevation change (+1,375' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Rampart Ridge - Wonderland Trail Loop - 4.5 Miles Round-Trip
The Rampart Ridge Loop leads hikers from the Longmire Visitor Center up and over "The Ramparts" - a series of jagged rock formations borne from ancient Rainier lava flows.
Views from atop Rampart Ridge are excellent. On a clear day, one can easily see Mount Rainier, Iron Mountain and Kautz Creek as well as Eagle Peak, the Longmire area and the Nysqually River Valley.
The Rampart Ridge Loop is accessed across the street from the National Park Inn at Longmire and travels .6 miles counter-clockwise on the Trail of Shadows before splitting west (right) and starting the steep ascent up the ridge.
From the Rampart Ridge Trail split, the path switchbacks up over 1000' in 1 mile to a viewpoint with excellent views to the west (1.6 miles 3,850').
At this point, the trail turns north and undulates through rocky outcrops. Mature stands of Douglas fir and Western cedar tower above clumps of Pheasants Tail grass. Goats beard lichen clings to the tree branches creating a Jurassic-like environment.
The trail reaches its crest (1.95 miles : 4,045') then quickly hairpins left to begin its descent down the back side of The Ramparts. The massive body of Mount Rainier quickly comes into view, as do the craggy peaks of Iron Mountain and Cougar Rock.
Magenta Paintbrush and broadleaf lupine line this section of open trail before it dips back into the forest and levels out (2.6 miles : 3,865').
Soon enough, the trail meets up with the Wonderland Trail (3.0 miles : 3,865') - turn right to hop on the Wonderland Trail and begin a steep ascent away from the Ridge.
The trail passes by the split for Van Trump Park (3.2 miles : 3,760') and switchbacks down past impressive old growth Douglas fir and Western Cedar (3.6 miles : 3,305'). The trees along this stretch are particularly big, some exceeding 1000 years old.
Bottoming out, the trail crosses Longmire - Paradise Road (4.2 miles : 2,817') and parallels the road until its terminus at the Wonderland Trailhead next to the Longmire Museum (4.5 miles : 2,740').
- N46 44.988 W121 48.826 — 0.0 miles: Trail of Shadows Trailhead at Longmire
- N46 45.024 W121 48.953 — 0.6 miles: Rampart Ridge Trail split - stay straight
- N46 45.121 W121 49.222 — 1.1 miles: Steeep ascent - brief view of Eagle Peak
- N46 45.134 W121 49.579 — 1.6 miles: Trail turns right - views open to the west - 3,850
- N46 45.379 W121 49.331 — 1.95 miles: Crest of Loop - 4,045'
- N46 45.458 W121 49.289 — 2.1 miles: Trail bends left - descend down back of Rampart Ridge
- N46 45.819 W121 48.884 — 2.6 miles: Trail levels out through old growth conifer forest
- N46 46.016 W121 48.526 — 3.0 miles: Wonderland Trail junction - turn right (3,865')
- N46 46.000 W121 48.324 — 3.2 miles: Van Trump Park Trail split - stay straight 3,760'
- N46 45.754 W121 48.457 — 3.6 miles: Steep descent through huge Cedar and Fir forest
- N46 45.289 W121 48.728 — 4.2 miles: Cross Longmire - Paradise Road, trail now parallels road - 2,817'
- N46 44.999 W121 48.735 — 4.5 miles: End Rampart Ridge Loop - 2,740'
- The Longmire Visitor complex gets very crowded - arrive early to secure parking and avoid crowds.
- The trail be also be accessed by taking the Trail of Shadows clockwise, shaving off .4 miles from the loop.
- In early morning, the beautiful Cascade Fox can sometimes be seen in the meadows adjacent to the Trail of Shadows.
- The Wonderland Trail continues for 93 miles around Mount Rainier - making it a Bucket-List worthy thru hike.
Camping and Backpacking Information
There is no designated camp along this trail nor atop Rampart Ridge. Cross country camping opportunities exist for skilled minimum impact backpackers who wish a primitive camping experience.
Permits are required for camping. Permits and current trail conditions are available at park-wide from wilderness information centers, ranger stations, and visitor centers. Treat water before drinking. Fires are prohibited. No pets on trails.
There is no fishing available on Rampart Ridge.
Rules and Regulations
- fire (stoves ok)
- pets (except on the Pacific Crest Trail - must be leashed)
- use of firearms
- bow/arrows, slingshot, etc.
- destroying or disturbing any natural, cultural, or archeological feature
- feeding, disturbing, or hunting wildlife
- short cutting on any trail
- polluting or contaminating any water source (with soap, waste, etc.)
- disposing of human waste within 100 feet of water or within sight of a trail
- camping within 100 feet of water except in a designated campsite.
Directions to Trailhead
From the Nysqually Entrance Station, drive 10.4 miles on Longmire - Paradise Road to the Longmire Visitor Center Complex. Park at Longmire and walk across the street from the National Park inn and look for the Trail of Shadows signs.