This trail leads southeastward from the Paradise Ranger Station to Reflection Lakes north of Stevens Canyon Road. Using the Skyline Trail and the Narada Falls Trail this route forms a loop beginning and ending in Paradise. The total mileage for this loop is five miles with an elevation gain of approximately 1,550 feet.
Begin this hike on the western side of the Paradise Ranger Station on the stone steps. Follow the paved path of the Skyline Trail to the right, rounding a corner and entering the Edith Creek Basin. Within a half mile of the trailhead is the spur trail leading to Myrtle Falls on the right. A short distance beyond this trail the main route crosses Edith Creek and continues climbing steadily.
Shortly beyond the Edith Creek crossing is a fork in the trail. The left side of the fork is the Golden Gate Trail, which parallels Edith Creek. The right side follows the Skyline Trail to the Stevens/Van Trump Memorial. Turn right and continue along the Skyline Trail. It is approximately one and a half miles to Paradise Glacier Trail from this fork.
The Skyline Trail leads through the upper Paradise River Basin crossing two more creeks before reaching the summit of Mazama Ridge. A mile and a half into the hike you'll reach the junction of the Lakes Trail on the crest of the ridge at 5,800 feet. Turn right at this junction and follow the trail along the ridge line southward. The trail descends along this route eventually entering dense forest. The beginning of the descent to Reflection Lakes provides excellent views of the volcanic mountains south of the park and the Tatoosh Mountains across the Paradise River valley.
Slightly more than one mile from the Skyline/Lakes Trail intersection hikers will reach the High Lakes Trail. This route leads west on the slopes above Reflection Lakes and eventually meets the Lakes Trail on the western side of Reflection Lake. Take this trail if time is an issue. You won't get the close-up views of Reflection Lake as you will from the Lakes Trail, but you also won't have to walk along Stevens Canyon Road.
To continue along the Lakes Trail walk southward (left) at this junction. The trail continues to descend. In approximately one half mile the Wonderland Trail joins the Lakes Trail from the east. Turn right at this junction. A few minutes afterward the trail ends at Stevens Canyon Road. Follow the road to the right as it passes along the southern shoreline of Reflection Lakes. Within a half mile you'll see the Lakes Trail leading northward from the road. Turn right on to the trail and begin ascending out of the lake basin.
Within a half mile of the Stevens Canyon Road the Lakes Trail meets the western side of the High Lakes Trail. Bear left at this junction as the trail climbs to the crest of Mazama Ridge, which separates Tatoosh Creek and the Paradise River. After crossing the ridge the trail descends into the Paradise River valley. In the midst of this descent you'll cross the Longmire - Paradise Road with the trail continuing on the northern side of the road.
Within a quarter mile of crossing the Longmire - Paradise Road the trail fords the Paradise River then joins the Narada Falls Trail. At this junction turn right to reach the Paradise Ranger Station. Your final ascent begins here. It is gradual at first then steepens as you near the Paradise Complex. The mileage from the Narada Falls Trail junction to the parking area is one half mile with a 360-foot elevation gain.
Directions: From Nisqually Entrance, Drive east along the Longmire - Paradise Road 16 miles to a fork in the road. Bear left and drive two miles toward the Paradise area. The trailhead is located to the left of the Ranger Station in the large parking lot.
Elevation: 5,420 feet
Ending Elevation: 4,865 feet
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