We hiked from Longmire to Van Trump Park. While longer and more elevation gain than hiking from the Comet Falls trailhead the reward is solitude. While on the Van Trump Park trail, we saw 1 person between the the turnoff for Mildred Point and the Wonderland trail! Saw nobody on our way up and passed only 1 person on the way down. We did encounter a few people between that Mildred Point junction and Van Trump Park but it never felt crowded -- saw way fewer people than you do an on an average I-90 hike. Surprising given it was a weekend and gorgeous weather but we're not complaining. Views were great. Wildflowers are out in Van Trump Park and on the connector between its turnoff and the Mildred Point turnoff. The wind kept the bugs at bay for the most part in Van Trump Park so we enjoyed a leisurely lunch. A long but rewarding day on the trail. Our GPS clocked this route at 10.5 miles and just under 3,500 ft elevation gain.
Hadn't done this hike in 2 years. Falls were all roaring and didn't disappoint. Socked in with clouds in the morning but we got great pictures on the way back. Saw lots of pikas and people on the trail today. As we got to Van Trump Park it looked like the sun might burn off the clouds and we got some peek-a-boo glimpses of the mountain but then it seemed to take a turn for the worse and the clouds all decided to engulf the mountain. So while we missed out on great mountain views it was still a great day on the trail. Wildflowers are out in full force now, especially avalanche lilies. Bugs were a slight nuisance at Van Trump Park but we didn't have any problems after applying some bug spray.
Got a little late start, arriving at the trailhead around 9:45 to find it full. Fortunately there was a spot along the side of the road not far from the trailhead. Lots of people on the trail today, especially between the start and Comet Falls. Falls were impressive and gave off a nice, cool mist. We continued on to Van Trump Park where the views were outstanding. Mt. Adams and St. Helens were visible as well. No wildlife sightings today but still a great hike. We cooled off our feet in the refreshingly ice cold creek just below Bloucher Falls on the way back. Even with the crowds it was still a good day on the trail.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.