Expect snowfields and a few creek crossings.
The Golden Gate Trail is a good option for those who want to gain elevation quickly and cut off part some mileage of the Skyline Trail
. This being said, the Golden Gate Trail still has its share of wonderful wildflower-covered meadows and amazing views.
The Golden Gate Trail starts at a junction with the Skyline Trail
just beyond Myrtle Falls, and slightly uphill of the footbridge. The Golden Gate Trail starts gently but quickly steepens as it climbs the valley forming Edith Creek basin. Depending on the season, you'll likely cross snowfields interspersed with meadows full of wildflowers. Ascend the looming headwall using a series of steep switchbacks. The upper cascades of Edith Creek provide additional interest on this last uphill push.
The Golden Gate Trail ends at a T-intersection with the Skyline Trail
. The best panoramic views are just a little bit further uphill on the Skyline Trail
, but not as far as the official Panorama Point
(another 1.5 miles away). On a clear day, you can see the Nisqually Glacier, Rainier, the jagged Tatoosh
Peaks, and even Mt Adams.
Marmots, chipmunks, mountain goats, deer and black bear. Lilies, paintbrush, lupine, yarrow.