Do it: the Skyline Trail at Mount Rainier National Park

Our hike at Mount Rainier National Park didn't start off so promising. For the first 45 minutes or so, it looked liked this: 


Stunning! But onward, upward. After huffing and puffing up the steepest part of the trail, the fog started to clear a bit and we finally got a glimpse of Mt. Rainier's snow-tinged peaks.

I love how dramatically the landscape of this trail changes — sheets of snow and glacier ice quickly turn into swaths of brush and rock, verdant firs give way to colorful fields of wildflowers. Around Glacier Vista, it all begins to feel very otherworldly, like you're hiking across Mars. 

The trail is renowned for its diversity of flora and fauna and it's definitely worth stopping along the way to get a closer look. 

In total, the 5.5-mile Skyline Trail takes about five hours, but that's with lots of breaks for snacks and snapshots. We followed directions laid out here and here. Happy trails!