Wonderland Trail


Backpack - Wonderland Trail

Rainier Backpack - Wonderland

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  • Very Strenuous
  • Mileage: 93.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 25,500 ft
9:00 AM at Longmire

From Wikipedia: The Wonderland Trail is an approximately 93 mile (150 km) 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. The trail was built in 1915. An estimated 200 to 250 people a year complete the entire trail with several thousand others doing shorter sections of it. The average time taken to complete the entire trip is 10 to 14 days.

From the NPS: The Wonderland Trail (WT) is 93 miles (150kms) long and encircles Mount Rainier. It is a strenuous hike with lots of elevation gain and loss, through lowland forests and valleys and into high alpine and sub-alpine areas.

Also from the NPS a detailed route elevation & distance profile.

Please note that I will be away in the Wind River from June 29 through August 7. During this time please contact Lawrence Landauer with any inquires regarding this trip. I will begin sending out trip corrospondence to those signed up as soon as possible after the first week of August.


This is a 14 day (13 night) trek around Mt Rainier on the Wonderland trail! Multiple cache sites will help to minimize pack weight and relatively low daily mileage will allow for a more relaxed pace as well as time for photography and side trips. I am planning to do a lot of photography on this trip, and will carry at least 1 camera, a couple lenses, and a tripod. The pace will be 'photography oriented' in that there may be stops throughout the day at scenic locations or interesting sights.

Please contact me (or Lawrence Landauer if it is between June 29 and August 7) before registering for this trip. Given the length I'd like participants to have prior experience on backpacking trips of at least 4 or 5 days (the longer the better...) as well as a good level of conditioning. I'd like to talk to you either via e-mail or phone to get a feel for your prior experience as well as goals & aspirations for this trip.

I will give priority to people signing up for the full duration, but if the length of the trip prevents it from filling I will open registration to folks who may only be able to join for sections of the trail.

Feel free to get in touch with any questions.


Trail Conditions on the Wonderland may be more difficult than other trips. These can include:

Exposure - Cliffs or steep slopes on one or both sides of the trail.
Fords - Seasonal washouts may have destroyed bridge crossings, and trail crews may not have had time to repace them. At least one trekking pole can be helpful to test your next step and maintain balance.
Suspension Bridges - There are two suspension bridges (spanning the Carbon & Tahoma) that sit very high over the rivers below. Like this and this.
Snow - The only section I expect might still have snow at the time of our trip would be Panhandle Gap but the crossing can be steep and a little tricky, particularly with a pack. Similar to the fords, a trekking pole is also helpful here.
General hazards of a giant active volcano - Eruptions, earthquakes, and mud flows, oh my! As unlikely as it is, still something to keep in mind.

Be honest with yourself when thinking about these potential obstacles. A fear of heights could be problematic crossing certain trail sections or bridges, especially when compounded with a heavy pack. Rangers should be able to provide more specific information on current conditions closer to the start of the trip.

Personal Logistics

Meals will need to be planned out early in order to mail the food caches to their appropriate locations in time. Information on caching, including locations and necessary containers, can be found on the NPS site here.


Day: Route: Miles: Gain: Side Trips: Total Potential Mileage/Gain:
Day 1 - (8/26) Longmire to Devils Dream 5.5 3000
Day 2 - (8/27) To S. Puyallup River 6.5 1700 Mirror Lakes - Add 1.2m & 200-400ft. 8.7 / 2100
Day 3 - (8/28) To N. Puyallup River 7.5 2000 St. Andrews Lake/Park - Add 1-2m & 400-600ft 9 / 2600
Day 4 - (8/29) To Golden Lakes 5 1500
Day 5 - (8/30) To S. Mowich River 5.3 500
Day 6 - (8/31) To Isput Creek 9.3 2500 Eunice Lake &/or Tolmie Peak - Add up to 3.4m & 900ft 12.7 / 3400 Pick up cache @ Mowich Lake
Day 7 - (9/01) To Carbon River 2.7 1000 Spray Park &/or Spray Falls - Add up to 5.3m & 4000ft 8 / 5000
Day 8 - (9/02) To Granite Creek 9.4 5000
Day 9 - (9/03) To Sunrise Camp 4.3 1400 Freemont Lookout - Add 2.6m & 500ft 6.9 / 1900
Day 10 - (9/04) To Summerland 10.3 3000 Pick up cache @ White River
Day 11 - (9/05) To Indian Bar 4.4 1500 Knoll at Panhandle Gap - Add up to 1m & 500ft 5.4 / 2000
Day 12 - (9/06) To Nickel Creek 6.7 1500
Day 13 - (9/07) To Paradise River 9.5 3000 Sylvia, Martha, & Narada Falls - Add up to 1m & 500ft 10.5 / 3500
Day 14 - (9/08) To Longmire 3.8 0


Wonderland Trail

  • Green Trails Mt Rainier West No. 269

    Trails Illustrated Mount Rainier National Park

    Green Trails Mt Rainier East No. 270

    Green Trails Mount Rainier Wonderland No. 269SX
  • See full route/place details.
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials
Trip Reports