Backpack - Northern Loop (Mount Rainier)


Backpack - Northern Loop (Mount Rainier)

Experience some of the most remote wilderness in Mount Rainier National Park with views of “the mountain” and the land around it. Hike through forests and meadows, across rivers and hike past several lakes. Get off the trail to camp away from the crowds.

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers activity.
  • Fri, Aug 24, 2018 — Tue, Aug 28, 2018
  • Foothills Backpacking Committee
  • Photography, Backpacking
  • Singles, 20-30 Somethings, Retired Rovers, Adults
  • Strenuous
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 41.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 11,000 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 6,800 ft
  • Pace: 1-2 mph

We will meet Friday late afternoon. Place and time will be finalized after registration closes.

Attention: As a Wilderness First Responder and DHS/FEMA-CERT member, Gregor takes the safety of his teammates very seriously. Success is defined by the safe return of all team members. If you have any questions or concerns about the safety of this trip, please contact him directly.

Route Summary: This will be a very rewarding but strenuous hike covering 41 miles and 11,000 ft in elevation gain over five days. We will try for an average pace of 1-2 mph depending on terrain and slope, while allowing time for some photography. We will travel 7-12 miles per day Saturday-Tuesday, so expect to spend most of each day on the trail. 

We will be camping cross-country rather than in established campsites. This will be rewarding but also require extra attention to Leave No Trace.

Participant Requirements:

  • Be able to hike 12 miles in one day with a multi-day pack and a lot of up-hill.
  • Not have a need for speed. Although we need to maintain a good pace, speed will not be the priority and we will try to allow time for some photography.
  • Have experience on backpacks or climbs at least 3 days long and be comfortable with the backpacking equipment and skills required.
  • Be well-versed in Leave No Trace principles.
  • Be willing to ask for – and give – help.

Itinerary: Our itinerary will be as follows:

  • Friday: Meet at the White River Campground at 5:00 pm. Hike 1.5 miles to the Sunrise Rim Backcountry Zone.
  • Saturday: Hike 7.5 miles to the Lake Eleanor Zone.
  • Sunday: Hike 10 miles to the Tyee Peak Zone.
  • Monday: Hike 12 miles to the Mineral Mountain Zone.
  • Tuesday: Hike 10 miles to return to White River Campground.

 You can view a map of cross-country zones here:

We will try to leave camp by 9am each day and arrive at camp by 6pm.

Route Challenges: There will not be significant terrain challenges, but we will have to deal with navigation challenges and steep trails.

You can view the latest weather forecast here:


  • Wilderness permit: I have reserved a wilderness permit for our itinerary, and will be arriving early to pick it up.
  • Entrance fees: There is an entrance fee of $30 per vehicle.

Northern Loop (Mount Rainier)

  • Green Trails Mount Rainier Wonderland No. 269SX

    Trails Illustrated Mount Rainier National Park

    Green Trails Mt Rainier East No. 270

    Green Trails Mt Rainier West No. 269
  • See full route/place details.
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials plus:

  • Rigid hiking boots
  • Clothing for rapidly changing weather
  • Tent with footprint/ground tarp and rain-fly
  • Stove and fuel
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Water filter or purification tablets
  • Bear canister or extra stuff sack and cord designated for hanging food
  • Cooking pot/pan with plate and utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel to deal with waste

Although this is not classified as a "lightweight" backpack, minimizing weight is critical.

For help with meal planning, view this article from the American Alpine Institute: Although our trip is not a climb, their recommendations are relatively well-suited.

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