50 Hikes in Mount Rainier National Park

Spring, Ira
Year Published: 

"This new full-color edition commemorates Mount Rainier National Park's 100th anniversary. From the short Paradise flower trails of Alta Vista and Nisqually Vista to the nine-mile grunt up to the summit base camp at Camp Muir to the epic 93-mile Wonderland Trail that encircles the mountain, this comprehensive guide will make hiking in Mount Ranier National Park a dream. 80 color photos, 57 color maps.

Overall this book is well put together. The hikes are organized according to their location in the park so you can quickly find hikes that are close the entrace you are using. The descriptions of each hike are clear and and easy to follow and include a small map of the hike with the description. Each hike is accompanied by color photos which really set this book apart. This is a worthwhile purchase, but it has a couple of downsides:

- None of the trails are rated. I really enjoy guides that rate each hike and define their rating system (such as the ""Don't Waste Your Time"" series) so I can quickly determine what the authors really thought of the hike. When I picked up this book to quickly find a hike to do the next morning I had a hard time figuring out which hikes would be most worthwhile. I ended up picking one close to the entrace I was using since that is how the book is organized.

- The maps included with each hike could be more detailed. Having the maps is nice but they aren't very helpful in pinpointing your location on a trail or knowing that the upcoming terrain is going to be like. A full topographical map would be ideal.

- It would be nice if each hike had an area for writing notes.

The new color pics are great, but one has to wonder if Harvey, et al, are letting the details slip in their golden years. One whole section, for trails on the (washed out) West Side Road, tells you to get on the ""shuttle bus"" and be dropped off at the trailhead -- when in fact no such bus exists, and probably won't for years, according to park rangers. This minor inconvenience adds as much as 10 miles to some of those hikes -- and these distances are NOT spelled out in the guide. There also seeems to be sloppy editing; more than one altitude-gain stats are wrong, as in, 2,300 rather than 3,200. That's a big difference. Also, like other Mountaineers guides released recently, the authors in this one seem to be at war with their own publishers. Example: The route they suggest to Indian Henry's Hunting Grounds is no longer even maintained by the park, and another route is described on the next page as ""safer."" Why, then, include the old route? The authors might want to spend less time defending their old choices and more time making new ones. I'm frankly not interested in the best hikes in the park circa 1965. In sum: Worth having for the pics, but supplement it with something else for trail data."

3 of 5

Info and links for a newer edition (May 1999)