Around Mother Mountain


Backpack - Around Mother Mountain

3 Day, 2 Night backpack trip starting at Mowich Lake and going counter-clockwise on this popular loop trail in Mt Rainier National Park. Night 1 at Cataract Valley, Night 2 at Ipsut Creek Campground

  • Very Strenuous
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 16.2 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 4,375 ft
  • Pace: 1.5-2.0 up, 2.0-2.25 down

We'll meet at the Mowich Lake Trailhead at 9AM

Permit: Mt Rainier NP, 5 People, 3 Days, 2 Nights, Night 1: Cataract Valley Camp, Night 2: Ipsut Creek Campground.  Permit Cost $26 ($5.20/person).

Day 1 (Tue Sep 17) – Backpack from Mowich Lake TH to Cataract Valley (6.3 mi/1,983’)
Day 2 (Wed Sep 18) – Backpack from Cataract Valley to Ipsut CreekCamp (5.2 mi/643’)
Day 3 (Thu Sep 19) – Backpack from Ipsut Creek Camp to Mowich Lake TH (5.2 mi/2,978’)

Leader Permission Required
1) Must have Backpack Skills Badge or be current Backpack Student
2) Must have fitness level required, especially for Day 3
3) Goals: Stay Safe & Have fun.

An America the Beautiful Pass is required to park at Mowich Lake Trailhead.  Bear Canisters may be required.  Ipsut Creek has bear boxes.  Cataract Valley TBD.

We will shoot for about 1.5-2 MPH for uphill portions, but we will keep the group together and hike at the speed of the slowest backpacker.  Picture taking and breaks are encouraged.

[AI Generated] The Mother Mountain Loop in Mt. Rainier National Park is a scenic 17.5-mile hike starting and ending at Mowich Lake. On Day 1, the trail ascends through lush forests and alpine meadows of Spray Park, offering panoramic views of Mt. Rainier, before descending to Cataract Valley for the first night of camping. Day 2 involves a descent into the Carbon River Valley, where hikers camp at Ipsut Campground, surrounded by towering old-growth trees. Day 3 features a return climb along the Wonderland Trail, providing breathtaking vistas of Mt. Rainier and wildflower meadows, before completing the loop back at Mowich Lake.


Around Mother Mountain

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials plus overnight gear which may include:

  • Tent with footprint/ground tarp
  • Stove and fuel
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Water filter
  • Bear canister or extra stuff sack and cord designated for hanging food
  • Cooking pot/pan with plate and utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel or blue bag to deal with waste
Trip Reports