This is the hardest hike I have ever done. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the hardest), I rate this a 7. You begin to climb right as you leave the parking lot and hit the trail, so you definitely need to be in great shape. Many people who plan to summit Mount Rainier practice on this hike. I consider the snow field the most challenging area.
Camp Muir is the base camp for people who plan to summit the mountain the next day. Therefore, I consider it a great accomplishment for anyone who completes this hike!
On a clear day, you get stellar views of Mount St. Helens, Mount Adams and Mount Hood. Plus, the entire hike up you get to stare at Mount Rainier. Can it get any better? I have completed this hike three times and I prefer to go in July when the wildflowers are bloomed out.
Another highlight: hike up, glissade down. We pack heavy duty garbage sacks and glissade down the several chutes on the snow field. Some people pack skies or snowboards, but I prefer my garbage sack 🙂