Is the Wonderland Trail at Mt. Rainier the Best for Hiking in WA?
Since I'm not from Washington, I went to an AI site for the #1 hiking trail in the state. Depending on YOUR personal preferences, interests, and experiences, it can vary.
However, one of the most popular choices listed was the Wonderland Trail.
According to NPS.gov:
The Wonderland Trail is 93 miles (150 km) 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.
How long will it take to navigate the Wonderland Trail and what is needed?
It takes the average, skilled hiker anywhere from 10-14 days to navigate. The difficulty level is considered STRENUOUS. An overnight camping permit is needed. There are several access points throughout the park at a starting elevation of 3,200 to 6,700. The trail is snow-free from July through early September. A climbing permit is required for traveling above 10,000 feet or on glaciers. Advance reservations can be made by visiting Recreation.gov.
There are several camps along the Wonderland Trail.
There are 18 wilderness camps along the trail and 3 non-wilderness camps. NOT ALL CAMPS HAVE GROUP SITES. Parties with 6-12 people will need a camp that has a group site.
Hiking from Longmire in a clockwise direction, the camps are:
Pyramid Creek- (no group site) 3,765 feet
Devil's Dream- 5,060 feet
South Puyallup River- 4,000 feet
Klapatche Park- (no group site) 5,515 feet
North Puyallup River- 3,750 feet
Golden Lakes- 5,130 feet
South Mowich River- 2,605 feet
*Mowich Lake Campground- 4,929 feet
Ipsut Creek Campground- 2,330 feet
Carbon River- 3,195 feet
Dick Creek- (no group site) 4,185 feet
Mystic Camp- 5,570 feet
Granite Creek- 5,765
Sunrise Camp- 6,245
*White River Campground- 4,280 feet
Summerland- 5,940 feet
Indian Bar- 5,120 feet
Nickel Creek- 3,385 feet
Maple Creek- 2,815 feet
Paradise River- 3,805 feet
*Cougar Rock Campground- 3,180 feet
(Cougar Rock must be reserved through Recreation.gov.)
* denotes non-wilderness campground
There are two wilderness camps on the alternate route of the Wonderland Trail through Spray Park. They are:
Eagle's Roost- (no group site) 4,885 feet
Cataract Valley- 4,620 feet