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Trail of the Shadows

Difficulty: easy

0.7 miles

Elevation gain: 50'

Max elevation: 2760'

Camps: none

First hiked by me: 2019

This easy trail circles through old growth forest around a marsh, past several mineral springs and remnants of the historical Longmire Springs Hotel. This was constructed by the Longmire family in 1890, before the creation of the National Park, and largely dismantled in 1920. Leftovers include an old log cabin and rock walls built around several of the hot springs. The plan to create a spa here didn't really make sense (the spring water is warm rather than hot, its minerals are smelly rather than therapeutic, and execution of the idea was, shall we say, not particularly polished) but nevertheless this is an important piece of Rainier history.

Going counterclockwise, the first part of this trail is wheelchair accessible (although the entire loop is not)

Open marshy area, with the cliffs of Rampart Ridge behind

Historic cabin built by the Longmire family in 1888. Note the iron deposits and melted snow due to a mineral spring behind the cabin

Back in the day the Longmire family built stonework around several mineral springs along the Trail of the Shadows, hoping to establish a spa. Their venture failed, but their construction remains. The springs aren't exactly hot, but warm enough to clear a gap in the snow

It's healthy to bathe in these springs, they said - but in that case why will nothing grow where the volcanic water flows?

Wintry evening summit view, from Trail of the Shadows