Indian Bar-Cowlitz Divide

A strenuous hike of up to 15 miles round trip with up to 3,700 feet of elevation gain. The trail starts at Box Canyon and climbs an initial steep section to the Cowlitz Divide, along the Wonderland Trail through alpine meadows and some of the most beautiful scenery in Mount Rainier National Park.

getting there

From the Stevens Canyon entrance of Mount Rainier National Park, drive the Stevens Canyon Road about 10 miles to the Box Canyon Trailhead (3,000 ft) just east of the picnic area.

on the trail

Indian Bar-Cowlitz divide

15 miles round trip with 3,700 feet of elevation gain

Hike north on the Wonderland Trail through the forest past Nickel Creek Camp. Continue on switchbacks to a well signed intersection and north to Cowlitz Divide. Enjoy 360-degree views on the high points along the trail. Then descends steeply into Indian Bar, on the Ohanapecosh River. Be sure to check out the bridge at Wauhaukaupauken Falls. There are a shelter, camp sites, and privy at Indian Bar. It's a very strenuous 15-mile hike with 3,700 feet of elevation gain on the way in and 800 feet of elevation gain on the way out.

Indian Bar & PANHANDLE GAP (6,800 FT)

19 miles round trip with 5,400 feet of elevation gain

From Indian Bar, continue 2 miles and 1,600 feet of elevation gain on the Wonderland Trail to Panhandle Gap.


15.5 miles one-way with 5,400 of elevation gain

From Indian Bar continue on 2 miles and 1,600 feet of elevation gain on the Wonderland Tail to Panhandle Gap. Then continue north through Summerland and exit at the Fryingpan Creek Trailhead.  This can be done as a long day hike or as a one or two night backpack with a car shuttle.  See our Summerland & Panhandle Gap route/place for trips going north-to-south from the  Fryingpan Creek Trailhead. Two groups, one hiking south-to-north and the other north-to-south, can do one-way trips with a key exchange.

  • Suitable Activities: Backpacking, Day Hiking
  • Seasons: June, July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Very Strenuous
  • Length: 15.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 3,700 ft
  • 5,930 ft
  • Land Manager: Mount Rainier National Park
  • Parking Permit Required: National Park Entrance Fee
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
  • Green Trails Mount Rainier Wonderland No. 269SX
  • Green Trails Mt Rainier East No. 270
Trip Reports

This is a list of titles that represent the variations of trips you can take at this route/place. This includes side trips, extensions and peak combinations. Not seeing a title that fits your trip? Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.

  • Cowlitz Divide
  • Indian Bar
  • Indian Bar & Panhandle Gap
  • Indian Bar & Summerland
  • Indian Bar, Panhandle Gap & Summerland

There are no resources for this route/place. Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.