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Coordinates: 46°52′08″N 121°39′33″W / 46.8689°N 121.6592°W / 46.8689; -121.6592

Wonderland Trail
The Cowlitz Divide portion of the trail, in the southeastern portion of the park, offers many views of Mt. Rainier and its numerous glaciers.
Length 93 miles (150 km)[1][2]
Location Mount Rainier National Park, Washington, United States
Trailheads Longmire
Mowich Lake
Ipsut Creek Camp Ground
Sunrise parking area
White River Camp Ground
Fryingpan Creek Trailhead
Box Canyon
Reflection Lakes
Cougar Rock
Use Hiking
Elevation gain/loss 22,000 feet (6,700 m) gain approximately[1]
Highest point Panhandle Gap
6,750 feet (2,060 m)[3]
Lowest point Ipsut Creek Campground
2,320 feet (710 m)[1]
Hiking details
Season Summer to early Fall
Months Mid-July through late September
Website nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/the-wonderland-trail.htm

The Wonderland Trail is an approximately 93 mile (150 km)[1][2] hiking trail that circumnavigates Mount Rainier in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington, United States. The trail goes over many ridges of Mount Rainier for a cumulative 22,000 feet (6,700 m) of elevation gain.[1] The trail was built in 1915.[3] In 1981, it was designated a National Recreation Trail.[4] An estimated 200 to 250 people a year complete the entire trail[1] with several thousand others doing shorter sections of it. The average time taken to complete the entire trip is 10 to 14 days.[3]

The Trail[edit]

The trail is entirely within the national park and passes through major life zones of the park, from lowland forests to subalpine meadows of wildflowers. As the trail circles the mountain, hikers see different faces of Mount Rainier, carved by 25 named glaciers.

The trail is considered strenuous as it is almost always climbing or descending the ridges around the mountain. The highest point is 6,750 feet (2,060 m) at Panhandle Gap.[3]

A footbridge, on the southern portion of the trail, spans the Nisqually River.

There are many river crossings on the trail including two suspension bridges. Many of the rivers are crossed on primitive log bridges which can wash away during heavy rain or when there is a lot of snow melt in the rivers. Most of the bridges washed away during a major storm in November 2006, so the trail was impassable (and closed) to hikers through most of 2007.

The main hiking season is late summer, which is often dry and sunny. However, Mount Rainier's high elevation and proximity to the Pacific Ocean can also bring moisture as rain or snow to the trail. In many years, the Wonderland Trail is still mostly snow-covered during June and early July.

The traditional route between Mowich Lake and the Carbon River is via Ipsut Pass and Ipsut Creek. Many people take an alternative route across Spray Park and Seattle Park, a higher elevation route that often lies under snow until late August.[5]

Complete trail descriptions may be found in a variety of trailbooks.[1][3][6]


Little Tahoma, on the east flank of Mount Rainier, looms over the Wonderland Trail where it crosses Fryingpan Creek.

Camping along the Wonderland Trail is extremely popular throughout the summer and wilderness camping reservations are essential for many of the most popular campsites. Eighteen trailside camps, 3 to 7 miles (5 to 11 km) apart, are located along the Wonderland Trail. Each camp has 1 to 8 sites for 1 to 5 persons per site. These sites will hold at most 2 tents. Parties requiring space for 3 or more tents must camp in a group site. Group sites are available at certain camps for parties of 6 to 12 persons. These sites typically hold 3-5 tents. Each camp has cleared tent sites, a pit or composting toilet, bear pole for hanging food, and a nearby water source.

Wilderness Camping Permits[edit]

A backcountry permit, including reservations for designated camping areas, is required to hike the Wonderland Trail. Advance reservations for permits can normally be submitted starting March 15 each year, with a lottery normally taking place on April 1 to attempt to meet the permit requests of as many as possible.

Due to the damage suffered as the result of a flood in November 2006 the park service did not accept reservations for the 2007 summer season for attempts to hike the entire Wonderland Trail. The trail was reopened on August 3, 2007 after extensive work by the park service, the Washington Conservation Corps, Student Conservation Association and 1,700 volunteers.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Filley, Bette (2002). Discovering the Wonders of the Wonderland Trail: Encircling Mount Rainier (5th edition). Dunamis House. p. 52. ISBN 1-880405-09-1. 
  2. ^ a b "Wonderland Trail Profile" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Spring, Ira; Manning, Harvey (1999). 50 Hikes in Mount Rainier National Park. The Mountaineers. ISBN 0-89886-572-7. 
  4. ^ "Wonderland". American Trails. 2013-04-22. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  5. ^ Spring, Ira; Manning, Harvey (1998). 100 Classic Hikes in Washington. The Mountaineers. ISBN 0-89886-586-7. 
  6. ^ Smoot, Jeffrey L. (1991). Adventure Guide to Mount Rainier: Hiking, Climbing and Skiing in Mt. Rainier National Park. Falcon. ISBN 0-934641-40-4. 
  7. ^ Wood, Terry (October 4, 2007). "Volunteer labor worth $1 million-plus helps rebuild Mount Rainier trails". Special to The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2007-10-12. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wonderland_Trail — Please support Wikipedia.
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313 news items


Wed, 11 Nov 2015 14:41:15 -0800

Seattle, WA – Two Beers Brewing Company, located in the heart of Seattle's SoDo neighborhood, is thrilled to announce the release of Wonderland Trail IPA, a brand new beer joining the growing brewery's year round lineup. Inspired by the Wonderland ...
seattlepi.com (blog)
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 19:37:30 -0700

In 2012, Joel Vandenbrink hiked the Wonderland Trail solo. It's a 93-mile loop that essentially circles the base of Mount Rainier—all the way around, up and down, a total of 22,000 feet of elevation gain. It is a bone-crushing, back-breaking hike no ...

Bangor Daily News

Bangor Daily News
Tue, 24 Nov 2015 07:15:08 -0800

Drive 2.3 miles on that road, passing the road to Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, and the parking lot for Ship Harbor Nature Trail will be on your right, just 0.3 miles before the Wonderland Trail park area, which also will be on your right ...

The Seattle Times

The Seattle Times
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 11:59:47 -0700

4. Backpackers are allowed a maximum of 15 days (14 nights) to hike the trail. 5. The best part of the Wonderland Trail is a nap on the bank of Mystic Lake. 6. Rainier suspended reservation requests this spring after receiving a record 2,600 ...


Sat, 12 Sep 2015 01:37:30 -0700

Gary Robbins and his support crew at Longmire, from left, Yassine Diboun of Portland, Rich White of Tacoma, Jeff Pelletier of Vancouver, Robbins, Jennifer Love of Portland, Jeff Fisher of Portland, Kimberley Teshima of Los Angeles and Ethan Newberry of ...

The Seattle Times

The Seattle Times
Fri, 10 Apr 2015 15:27:51 -0700

The park has received so many requests for permits that on Friday it announced it is “no longer accepting reservation requests for hiking the Wonderland Trail (either the full circuit or large portions), for the summer 2015 hiking season due to ...

Longview Daily News

Longview Daily News
Thu, 30 Jul 2015 21:52:30 -0700

It was about 1920 when visitors and park staff started referring to the loop as the Wonderland Trail. 3. The majority of hikers give themselves 10 or more days to finish the Wonderland. 4. Backpackers are allowed a maximum of 15 days (14 nights) to ...

The Columbian

The Columbian
Wed, 29 Jul 2015 18:18:45 -0700

In this photo taken with a long exposure, stars pierce the sky above Mount Rainier, which is capped by a cloud, in a view from Klapatche Park on the Wonderland Trail. TACOMA — It's arguably Washington's most famous trail: Ninety-three miles of ups and ...

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