Trip Report    

Day Hike - Summerland and Rainier Overcrowding

This recent trip report highlights overcrowding and the growing need to protect our beloved park. "It feels like a rock festival from the 70's."

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • After recent news told of continued overcrowding at Mt. Rainier, last weekend's Perseid meteor shower in the PNW skies was then published on social media by various groups. This left a second wave of destruction in its path with damaged wildflower fields, dangerous parking, and overflowing trash cans.

    It feels like the aftermath from a rock festival of the 70's, as we arrived at the entrance at White River around 7:30 am and then pulled over to use the bathrooms. We found these too were also closed with the more than 6 portable potty's completely overflowing in human waste today.

    The parking was also very tight at the Summerland trailhead for a weekday. Every space was already full as we nudged our cars off to the side of the road. Luckily we carpooled from Enumclaw.IMG_0904.jpg

Our group of 8 started the trail around 7:45 am. The cool forest most of the way to Summerland Camp and along Fryingpan Creek felt quite refreshing after this week's heat really stomped in. There are plenty of places to gather water.

Crossing lower Fryingpan Creek was about a 10 step rock hop.


We continued just past the camp after using the composting toilet at Summerland which was nice by comparison to the previously mentioned situation. 

We stopped for water and lunch at the creek, trying to be mindful of the lovely meadows full of beautiful bright pink Monkey flowers and deep blue Mountain bog gentian. 



Heading up to the upper Fryingpan Creek crossing, we observed a very different landscape as Panhandle Gap came into view.



Our trip ended at 10.5 miles round trip, 2600+ elevation gain. I would call it a brutally hot day for the mountains in the afternoon.

Although we had a large party of eight, we were careful to follow the Leave No Trace guidelines, tried to be good stewards (picked up after a few others), and were respectful of others as well.

My reflection is we need to continue to be good role models and hopefully that says a lot to help mitigate our impact as Mountaineers. 

Proud to be part of the Mountaineers

Leave No Trace Principles:

• Plan ahead and prepare.

• Travel and camp on durable surfaces. (stay on the trail and don’t step on vegetation)

• Dispose of waste properly.

• Leave what you find.

• Minimize campfire impacts.

• Respect wildlife.

• Be considerate of other visitors.