Mount Rainier’s Longmire Village Longmire is the Wonderland Trail’s greatest brush with civilization. This is the most popular place to start and finish the 93 mile loop and it is buzzing with tourists most days of the summer. Longmire is an entertaining mix of people – some reeking of perfume, others reeking of body odor …
This is a gorgeous section of trail on the SW corner of the mountain. Leaving Devil’s Dream, it enters the lake-dotted meadows of Indian Henry’s Hunting Ground. The high-point of the day is Emerald Ridge, offering huge views of the mountain. Klapatche Park on the shore of Aurora Lake, and is one of the most memorable campground on the Wonderland Trail.
Klapatche Park to the North Puyallup After the physically challenging trip from Devil’s Dream to Klapatche Park, one may appreciate making the next leg of the journey a reduced-mileage rest day. This is a good day to sleep in, have a second cup of coffee, and spend some time stretching and enjoying the beautiful scenery …
The trail from Golden Lakes to Mowich Lake is best appreciated for the subtle beauties of a virgin temperate rainforest. Unlike other parts of the Wonderland Trail, the views are modest, and the most notable sites will be Golden Lakes and later the broad valley of the Mowich River.
A moderate, downhill hike toward Carbon Valley leaves most hikers with time and energy to explore the side-trip to Tolmie Peak fire lookout. This is an easier option than the Spray Park alternate route, and can also be combined with the Spray Park trail to form a 2-day loop hike.
While not part of the official Wonderland Trail, this is a popular alternate route to Ipsut Pass, offering unforgettable views without increasing mileage (but more difficult). Spray Park can be combined with the Wonderland Trail over Ipsut Pass to form a 2-day loop. These two trails can also be combined with the Northern Loop Trail to form a 5-7 day loop.
An unforgettable hike through the deep glacial canyon of Carbon Valley. This challenging trail hugs the base of Carbon Glacier before climbing into the superb meadows near Mystic Lake.
Mystic Lake to Sunrise stands out as a highlight of the Wonderland Trail. It crosses the rain shadow of Mount Rainier and visits Winthrop Glacier and passes Skyscraper Peak. Rolling meadows offer a bonanza of wildflowers, amazing views, and marmots galore.
Sunrise is a popular tourist destination and while there is not camping at the visitor’s center, it offers many amenities and a place to cache food. From Sunrise, the trail drops down to the White River Campground before leaving civilization again and climbing the Fryingpan creek drainage toward Sunrise.
Big Kodachrome views of Mount Rainier’s high alpine country, a bird’s eye view of Southern Washington, and the feeling that you’ve wandered out onto the side of the mountain will make you never forget this stretch of Wonderland.
The section of Wonderland Trail between Nickel Creek and Paradise River is a busy stretch of trail. The sights are varied and popular, especially as one nears the popular roadside attraction of Mirror Lakes.
The Northern Loop trail is a 15.5 mile trail that both starts and ends on the Wonderland Trail, and provides access to the north-central area of the National Park. First-time Wonderland hikers likely wouldn’t want to miss the Wonderland Trail between Carbon River and near Berkeley Park. But the Northern Loop trail makes two additional 3 and 5/6 day loop hikes possible in the northern reaches of the park.