The Wonderland Trail – Mount Rainier

The Complete Backpacker's Guide to Exploring the 93 Mile Trail

Planning a trip on the Wonderland Trail

At least some of the fun of any trip is the planning that goes into it beforehand. This can especially apply to thru-hiking where many details are crucial to ensuring a hiccup-free trip.

There is a surprising amount to consider when preparing for thru-hiking the Wonderland Trail encircling Mount Rainier, and it is highly recommended to start early in your preparation. From permits, rules, and itinerary to gear, fitness, and safety, this section will help you along on the nitty gritty details.

Planning your trip:

Wonderland Trail Itinerary Planner

Interactive trip planner for the Wonderland Trail. Choose start and end points, direction, and select the desired daily mileage to generate a suggested itinerary listing each daily mileage. You can drag and drop the suggested camps to customize the itinerary.

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Packing List — What to Bring

A suggested packing list for typical summer backpacking.

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Trailhead access to the Wonderland Trail at Mount Rainier

There are a number of trailheads for the Wonderland Trail around Mount Rainier National Park. The most popular trailheads for the Wonderland Trail are Longmire, Mowich Lake, and Sunrise. There are also a several other trailheads that may be of more interest to day-hikers.

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Caching food on the Wonderland Trail

There are several locations on the Wonderland Trail where food caches can be mailed or hand-delivered. Most Wonderland Trail backpackers leave two caches, which drastically cuts down pack weight. This article explains the details.

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Backcountry Permits for hiking the Wonderland Trail

This article gives a summary of how the reservation system works, and what you need to do in order to get your wilderness camping permit. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, please visit the official Mount Rainier National Park website.

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Weather and the best time to hike the Wonderland Trail

For most of the year, the Wonderland Trail lies under snow and ice. The window for backpacking the entire route is fairly narrow, and it is most frequently traveled from late July to early September. This article examines the pros and cons of traveling early in the hiking season versus later.

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Trip Length and Itineraries

Check out the interactive itinerary planner app here. The Wonderland Trail circumnavigates Mount Rainier in about 93 mi (145 km), climbing over the numerous steep ridges that separate the great glacially carved valleys that lead up to this majestic stratovolcano. Over the course of this route, the hiker will traverse a cumulative elevation change of […]

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