The trail leading past Comet Falls to Van Trump Park begins from the Longmire - Paradise Road and leads almost three miles north. The elevation gain along this track is 2,100 feet. Along the route hikers will find abundant wildflowers, spectacular waterfalls and scenic views.
Begin this trail four miles east of Longmire on the northern side of the road. The trailhead parking area is small and often full by mid morning, so have an alternate hiking plan if this occurs. The trail leads northeast from the parking area at a very steep grade to the bridge over Christine Falls. Beyond this landmark the grade lessens somewhat, but continues to climb.
During the next mile the trail climbs along the eastern bank of Van Trump Creek. It passes two more small waterfalls as it leads through the forested and steep slopes forming the Van Trump Creek drainage. One and a half miles from the trailhead the route crosses Falls Creek, which drains into Van Trump Creek. Shortly above this creek crossing switchbacks begin and the forest opens, making Comet Falls visible.
The trail switchbacks .6 miles up the ridge on the eastern side of the falls. Views of the surrounding terrain await hikers at the top of the switchbacks. Also at this point is a fork in the trail. Take the right side of the fork to reach Van Trump Park. This spur trail ends after climbing steeply for less than a half mile to an open viewpoint.
By following the left side of the fork, hikers will head west for a short distance to a crossing of Van Trump Creek. In early July this crossing can be dangerous. It lies immediately above the 320-foot drop of Comet Falls. After the stream crossing the trail descends slightly to a fork. The right side of this fork leads to Mildred Point, where views of the Kautz and Van Trump Glaciers are breathtaking. The left side of this fork follows Rampart Ridge southwestward.
Directions: From Nisqually Entrance, Drive 10.5 miles east to the trailhead on the northern side of the road.
Elevation: 3,600 feet
Ending Elevation: 5,970 feet
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