On a clear day this loop has the best views of the mountain in the Pack Forest. You catch several glimpses of it on the eastern section of the 2000 Road
and even a bonus glimpse on your way back down the 2300 Road
to the parking area. The old growth region around Kirkland Pass is also really pretty.
It's easy to drive by the parking area—it's just a purple gate with enough room for two to three cars. The road initially parallels the Alder Cutoff Road for about 0.1-0.2 miles before starting uphill. There is a stream and clear cut area on the left before you pass the 2340 Road
which is washed out but has a log that you can cross over if you want to hike that way. You get your first sighting of Rainier as you pass a fenced in clear-cut on the east side of the road.
This loop shows the New Forestry Trail
which can be a bit hard to find if you are not paying close attention. It's 1.35 miles from the gate. There are two logs laid down over the ditch and a sign, but it's still easy to miss. If you get to the 2320 Road
coming in from the west (1.4 miles from the gate) you have gone too far but you can also take the 2080 Road
on the right (~1.65 - 1.7 miles from the gate) and you'll get to the same place.
The New Forestry Trail
starts off a bit marshy but is reasonably well marked if the foliage has not grown up too much (as it can later in the summer). The last third of the trail crosses a stream and ascends quickly to the 2080 Road
Once you take a left onto the gravel, you get some of the best views of Mount Rainier in the park. The land to the south and east of the gravel road is clear cut/new growth which gives great views of the mountains (not just Rainier).
About 0.35 miles after you turn on the gravel road, you come to a horeshoe bend in the road. There is a path that goes up to the 2000 Road
(you could also have gotten here by taking a left where the New Forestry Road meets the 2080 Road
and then taking a right onto the 2000 Road
). This same trail goes down the hill and is also (somewhat confusingly) called the New Forestry Road but it dead ends into the fenced in clear cut area that you pass on the way up the 2300 Road
Once on the 2000 Road
you get to do a fun descent through some older growth forest to Kirkland Pass. From there you this loop takes the 2000 Road
back to the 2320 Road
and the gate. For added trail fun, you can take the Trail of the Giants which parallels the road.
The Kirkland Pass area has some really beautiful old growth forest.