I'd like to start out this post with the comment that this hike had some of the best views I've ever seen since I started hiking. And to boot, it was a short 4 mile hike with only 900 feet of elevation. If you haven't done this one, go do it this weekend. I'm serious! It's outside the park boundary, so dogs are welcome.
I picked this one out of my guide book, Day Hiking: Mt. Rainier because it was near Mt. Beljica, both of which are off the Copper Creek Road. The Copper Creek Road is a little hard to find since there is only one little teeny sign that says "59," as in FS 59, aka Copper Creek Road. We passed by it on the way there, but turned around at the Copper Creek Inn (which has delicious pie, might I add!) and headed up the road.
The first mile or two were not the best. There were a lot of pretty deep potholes, but we were in a Ford Escape and it handled them no problem. The last few miles of the road were in really good condition, which was odd, since the first few miles were so bad.
The hike is at the very end of FS 59, which is about 8 or so miles in. I'd suggest bringing a paper map of the roads with you (Green Trails one worked great!) because there are a few side roads that split off and look like they could be the main road. The trail head is well signed and so is the rest of the trail.
For the first half mile or so, you get glimpses of Mt. Rainier and its beauty. Soon after, you head on the other side of the ridge where you won't see anything but trees and some mini-meadows until the very end of the hike. The view from the top is amazing! Even though it was hazy, I could clearly see Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens, the Olympics, and I could even pick out Tacoma! I'm sure on a clear day you could see the whole Puget Sound area!
I seriously did not want to leave, but Andrea had to get back home so we headed down to the car. It was a spectacular hike that left me wanting to go explore that area more.