Backpack - Grand Park (Mount Rainier)


Backpack - Grand Park (Mount Rainier)

Grand tour of Grand Park

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  • Moderate
  • Easy
  • Mileage: 11.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 2,200 ft

Issaquah Transit Center at 7:00am.  (Other arrangements can be made for people coming from locations outside the Seattle/Eastside area.)

Update: This trip has been cancelled because of a poor weather forecast that included 1) a chance of lightning on Saturday afternoon when we would be crossing the open plain of Grand Park, 2) moderate rain in the evening and overnight, 3) temperatures in the high 30s on Sunday morning when we would be making breakfast and breaking camp in the rain, and 4) moderately high winds late Sunday morning when we would be hiking through a forest that already has a lot of blowdowns.   This turned out not to be the weekend for an easy summer backpack among the spring flowers of Rainier.


We will start at the “Lake Eleanor back door” entrance to Rainier NP, hike the entire length of Grand Park, and spend the night at a group backcountry campsite in the Park. Though it’s hard to predict when the peak bloom will happen, with luck we will be there while the wildflowers are out.

This year Rainier NP is not issuing backcountry camping permits in advance, so our route after Grand Park will depend on where we are able to get a backcountry camping permit.  Permits are issued only in person, so the Trip Leader will go to the park Friday morning to get one and report back to the group.  There are three options, which will give the trip different total mileage and elevation gain/loss.  (Please do not sign up for the trip unless you are OK with all of these alternatives.)

  • Plan A: Berkeley Park. This campsite is past Grand Park to the South and is at the same elevation.  It is a beautiful destination unto itself.  Saturday: 5.4 miles, 1470’ gain, 700’ loss.  Sunday: 5.4 miles, 700’ gain, 1470’ loss.
  • Plan B: Fire Creek.  This campsite is past Grand Park to the North and is located about 1300’ lower: Saturday: 6.3 miles, 1600’ gain, 1700’ loss.  Sunday: 6. Miles, 1700’ gain, 1600’ loss.
  • Plan C: Lake Eleanor.  With this option we would return to Lake Eleanor to camp, making for a  longer first day and a very short second day.  Saturday: 8.4 miles, 1700’ gain, 300’ loss.  Sunday: 0.9 miles, 15’ gain, 450’ loss.

Special Considerations

This trip is straightforward with few special considerations. It is a good match for people who are relatively new to backpacking.

  • This trip is in bear country. Please bring one or two extra stuff sacks for hanging your food and other bear-favorites (sunscreen, etc.) to hang from the bear poles provided by the Park Service.
  • There will likely be bugs.  Wildflowers bloom in early season and so do the bugs - it’s the price we pay for camping where the flowers are. Be sure to bring bug repellant and consider bringing a head net to keep the bugs away while in camp.  Hopefully we will not need them, but best to be prepared.
  • The road to the trailhead is not part of Rainier NP and may be rough.  If you have a high clearance vehicle please sign up to drive.

Grand Park (Mount Rainier)

  • USGS Mt Rainier East

    Trails Illustrated Mount Rainier National Park

    Green Trails Mount Rainier Wonderland No. 269SX
  • See full route/place details.
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
  • Extra stuff sack and cord designated for hanging food
  • Bug repellent and optional had net
  • Cooking pot/pan with plate and utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel or blue bag to deal with waste
Trip Reports