Dege Peak Hike in Mt. Rainier National Park

Monday, September 28, 2009

This is an incredible hike—and we managed to go on the perfect fall day.  We must be doing something right!

We have a group of German exchange students who stay with us every other year.  They are from Gustrov, near the Baltic Sea, and their sister school is in Yakima.  We absolutely love having them stay with us, and have gotten to be friends with their leader and chaperone.

We’ve gone hiking with them many other times, but this was the first time they’ve come early enough in the year for us to go hiking at Sunrise—and it was incredible. 

We started off our “tour” with a stop at the Mt. Rainier’s White River Campground so we could take them down to the White River and the site of the 2006 November flood that re-routed the river and destroyed the Glacier Basin trail.  We got to walk across the reconstructed bridge that connects the Wonderland Trail, and got incredible views of the Emmons Glacier and Mt. Rainier’s summit.

We then drove up to Sunrise Point, where we left our bus and started up the Dege Peak trail The reason we chose this trail is that, on a clear day, you get 360-degree views of all the Cascades.  Of course, you can see Mt. Rainier, but also Mt. Adams, Mt. Baker, Mt. Stewart, Glacier Peak, Mt. Shuksan and more.  In other words, it’s pretty incredible!

At the start of the hike, we got to look down at Sunrise Lake.  I kept looking for bears since they’re often spotted down below.  (Actually, we saw some mountain goats from the distance as we started the drive up, but they had moved on by the time we started hiking.)  The climb up is steady but relatively gradual, and if you hike from Sunrise Point, it’s just about a mile to the Dege Peak turnoff.  After the turnoff, it’s a relatively steep .3 mile climb to the top—with the incredible views I mentioned before!

We had arranged with the bus to pick us up at Sunrise, so we were able to hike the rest of the trail, with incredible views of Mt. Rainier the whole way.  From the turnoff to Dege Peak, the hike to Sunrise is just about 2 miles and is mostly downhill.

All in all, a wonderful way to spend a wonderful day.  The road up to Sunrise is still open, so why not hike it this weekend?!  The rewards are well worth it.