Old Desolate

Old Desolate is a moderate scramble of 13 miles round trip and 4,800 feet of elevation gain plus 11 miles round trip of biking on the Northern Loop of Mount Rainier National Park.

getting there

From Enumclaw drive SR-410 to Buckley and then SR-165 to its end traveling through Wilkeson and Carbonado. Follow the signs to the Carbon River Ranger Station (1,900 ft).


Bike 5.5 miles and 600 feet of elevation gain on the washed-out Carbon River Road to the Ipsut Creek Campground. Hike 0.3 mile to the Wonderland Trail and continue straight on the Wonderland Trail for 2.7 miles to the Carbon River crossing. Stay on the Wonderland Trail and hike ~3.5 miles to Moraine Park. At ~5,400 ft, leave the trail and head east, climbing a steep wooded hillside to a flat open meadow. Continue ~1 mile toward the peak following the best route. There is considerable scree and talus. It may be easier to head to a saddle just south of the summit ridge and then head along the ridge to reach the summit (7,137 ft).


  • Mountain or hybrid bikes are recommended for the easy 5.5-mile round trip to and from Ipsut Creek Campground on the washed-out Carbon River Road.
  • Very loose scree covers the western slopes of the mountain. The rocks are rather large and when climbing through there is the sense of triggering small rock slides much like small snow sloughs on steep snow slopes. Though not dangerous, it can be a strange experience. A helmet is recommended on this scree slope.
  • There are alternate approaches to the summit. For example, leave the Wonderland Trail at ~5,700 ft and head east uphill on scree until reaching the flat basin.
  • It's possible to combining Old Desolate with Crescent Mountain for a long loop trip. Scramble Old Desolate first, travel through the beautiful, open Vernal Park to Crescent Mountain, and then return via the Northern Loop Trail.
  • Suitable Activities: Scrambling
  • Seasons: July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Technical 3, Strenuous 5
  • Length: 13.0 None
  • Elevation Gain: 4,800 ft
  • 7,137 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
  • USGS Mowich Lake
  • USGS Sunrise
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.

  • Old Desolate & Mineral Mountain
  • Old Desolate & Crescent Mountain

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