Due to its lower elevation, beginning at about 2,400 feet above sea level, towering forest is the defining view as you hike up the Kautz Creek Trail on the slope of Mount Ararat in Mount Rainier National Park.
The trail begins off Highway 706 and remains relatively flat as it heads north through the valley, crossing Kautz Creek around one mile in.
Once you cross the creek, the trail climbs steeply through the forest as it starts to head up the hill. Due to time constraints, I made it about two miles with an elevation gain of about 1,100 feet from the trailhead before having to turn back. There are no real breaks in the tree cover up to that point.
The trail continues to give views of Mount Ararat and Indian Henrys Hunting Ground. For more information, VisitRainier.com has an excellent write-up on the full Kautz Creek Trail.
Directions: Take State Highway 706 through Ashford to the Nisqually Entrance of Mount Rainier National Park. Continue through the park to the Kautz Creek parking area on the south side of the road. If you reach Longmire, you’ve gone too far.