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“Climb past lakes and meadows to a stunning view of Rainier.”
— Ben Stephens
Yield to horses.
Get in your hill work on the steep sections, then cruise on flowy singletrack through trees and meadows over a thin layer of fine sand. Enjoy several lakes for their beauty, filterable water, or cool-down swims. At the very end cross over the ridge for a stunning view of Rainier and other nearby peaks, framed below by the White River. Lounge in a row of canvas beach chairs facing the mountain view ... or get a snack at the cafe or restaurant. Gondola down or continue along the ridge, arcing back to start via Northway.
Features: Birding — Lake — River/Creek — Swimming — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Need to Know
Bring card or cash for cafe and restaurant at top. Or bring your own food for a picnic to remember!
The initial forest road is steep and rocky. Henskin trail begins less steeply and is more runnable. It still has early steep rooty sections though. Once one crosses the creek, look forward to softer flowy singletrack. Don't be afraid to hike short or long portions of this route depending on fitness levels. There are still many rewarding and very runnable sections!
Facing the resort from parking lot A, take dirt doubletrack (Gold Hill Rd) winding left from the left corner. Take your first right onto singletrack (Silver Creek Trail). Follow the trail up through forest until you get to a small creek. Take a sharp right to cross the creek and stay on Henskin Lake Trail. The trees clear and you skirt Henskin Lake to the south. Continue on through thinning trees and meadows, past another lake on your left, then a small one on your right and a big one on your left. Climb uphill until you reach a wide dirt road. Cross the road to continue on singletrack. The trees are sparse now. Curve slowly around to the left and switch back to climb northwest up the face of the ridge. A dirt road branches off to the left. Take it, the views will be better. Pass under the scenic lookout and take your first right, sharply back, climbing to the gondola station and then the scenic lookout. Here you may buy snacks or sit down at the Summit Restaurant. Sit for free on canvas beach-like chairs with a view of Rainier and the White River. Beware the chipmunks are ready to literally eat your lunch! From here you can take the gondola down (attendant will check for a paid ticket) or continue along the ridge on a rewarding downhill via Northway trail.