Forum Index » Post-Trip Reports » Wonderland Trail: circumnavigation around Mt. Rainier


Display Avatars Sort By:
David Neumann
(idahomtman) - M

Locale: Northern Idaho
Wonderland Trail: circumnavigation around Mt. Rainier on 08/12/2009 10:47:49 MDT Print View

I completed an outstanding thru-hike on the Wonderland Trail starting at White River Campground on July 28 and finishing back at my truck on August 2nd. There was a little snow but I had no difficulties navigating the well marked and maintained trail. The NPS put some flagging on the snow that made it easy to locate the trail but was probably left over from when there was significant snow. I had five and half wonderful beautiful, clear and sunny (hot!) days and one huge thunderstorm with buckets of rain and hail.

This was my first visit to MRNP and I really had little idea of what to expect regarding the reserved camps. Each camp has multiple individual tent sites for 1-5 people and one or more group sites. The following was my itinerary:

White River CG to Indian Bar: 11.1 mi.
Indian Bar to Paradise Creek: 16.7 mi.
Paradise Ck to S. Puyallup R: 15.9 mi.
S. Puyallup R. to S. Mowich R: 17.3 mi.
S. Mowich to Mystic Lake: 20.1 mi.
Mystic Lake to White River CG: 11.9 mi.
Total mileage 93.Approx. 20,000 feet gain/loss.



The trail essentially climbs a ridge (these are steep trails not horse trails) goes down the other side, crosses a raging glacier river and climbs the next ridge and repeats itself around the mountain. Sometimes in the trees, often with an awesome view of "the mountain."View of Ohanpecosh River and Glacier from Indian Bar CampIndian Henry's Hunting Ground with ranger patrol cabinEmerald Ridge above Tahoma GlacierSouth Mowich River "bridge"

Edited by idahomtman on 08/12/2009 10:49:04 MDT.

Kathleen Whalen-Burns
(rosierabbit) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Wonderland Trail: circumnavigation around Mt. Rainier on 08/12/2009 13:58:36 MDT Print View

Great pictures! It's a beautiful area. I'm hoping I can talk my brother into hiking it with me next summer.

I have a few questions:
How much in advance of your trip did you get your permit?

I assume you had to select your campsites when you applied for your permit. Did you find you'd over- or under-estimated the planned mileage and had to hurry to get to a campsite or sit around at any of them to stay on track?

Is there any flexibility in the permit system to alter a campsite location during your trip?

The PNW bugs have been notorious this year. What was your experience with black flies and mosquitoes and any other flying teeth?

Any more pictures? Thanks!

David Neumann
(idahomtman) - M

Locale: Northern Idaho
WT on 08/12/2009 15:48:11 MDT Print View

I faxed my permit application in on the first day you are allowed which I think is March 15. I did the same thing the year before though I ended up not going, but I was able to get the permit and selected first choice camps both times.

You do have to preselect your campsites. Originally I had planned to do the hike in five days but I was concerned with snow on day one and the difficulties of navigating beyond Panhandle Gap. As it turned out, the weather was clear and it was no big deal however if the area had been shrouded in clouds or mist it might have required more time. I could have easily made it to the next camp after Indian bar. As it was I got there a little after noon so another 6 miles would have been no big deal. Even on my 20 mile day I got into camp before 4 PM. Again though the weather was good and the trail was in great shape and all bridges were in which is not always the case. I think a SUL or XUL hiker could manage in 4-5 days. I ran into two 20-something women at Mystic Lake who had already hiked from Box Canyon that day and were headed to Mowich Lake - well over 40 miles in one day.

You might be able to alter a campsite before you start your trip if it is available but probably not after you begin unless you run into a ranger. They have radio access to the Wilderness Permit Office and may be able to alter a campsite. I did get checked at Mystic Lake by the Ranger and they do have problems periodically with people trying to stay in the "wrong" camps.

There were definitely bugs. The DEET and Permithren kept the mosquitoes calmed down but the black flies were a little obnoxious. I never did use my head net and really didn't find the bugs too bothersome.

I'll post some pictures but then I better get back to work!

Edited by idahomtman on 08/12/2009 21:43:17 MDT.

David Neumann
(idahomtman) - M

Locale: Northern Idaho
The Wonder of the Wonderland on 08/12/2009 15:55:38 MDT Print View

Some more pictures:Panhandle GapReflecting RainierTahoma CreekCarbon GlacierMe and Rainier

You can see more pictures and read my journal at: http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?trailname=9308