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Rainier Wonderland Trail

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Rainier Wonderland Trail

Postby sierracanon » Thu Feb 12, 2015 6:41 pm

I am in the early planning stages for a Wonderland Trail hike in late August. Assuming I get a permit, I am planning to do it in nine days, counterclockwise.

For those who may have done it, are there any of the campsites that one should avoid?? And which are the "must stay" campsites??

Any tips you might have for navigating their permitting process is appreciated as well.

Thanks!



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Re: Rainier Wonderland Trail

Postby Eiprahs » Fri Feb 13, 2015 11:22 am

My wife and 4 kids did the Wonderland Trail years ago. At that time you had to provide an itinerary showing all your camp spots and you had to request permission to change. Rangers checked that you were at the right place at the right time.

The camp spots they liked the best were at or close to developed car campgrounds--like Mowich Lake--because they had amenities. The on-trail spots were unimproved and tended to be in drainages, so were cold, had poor views, and lots of morning dew.

My family had a fantastic time and as recently as yesterday were talking about doing the Wonderland trail again. I suggested an alternative--the Circumnavigation of Glacier Peak. In terms of mileage and elevation gain/loss, the Glacier Peak Circumnavigation is virtually identical to the Wonderland trail, but has no quotas, campfires are permtted, and you can change your route/itinerary as your trip unfolds.

NWhikers.org will have multiple fresh trip reports on both routes.

Good Luck!!
Dave
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Re: Rainier Wonderland Trail

Postby skiker » Tue Mar 31, 2015 2:04 pm

We've done the Wonderland a couple of times, last time 4-5 years ago. Elprahs description of the campsites is spot on. Low lying ones are shrouded and often damp. Lots of bugs,too. In general, try for the high elevation sites.

He's also correct about the regimented march although we successfully changed our permit in the middle of one of our trips.

My favorite site was Dick Creek. Klapatche Park is very popular with good reason. Golden Lakes is pretty nice but Klapatche it's not. Indian Bar and Summerland are both good sites.

I'd avoid Carbon River although I'm pretty sure they got around to digging new pit toilets. I sure hope so.

I strongly recommend going through Spray Park instead of taking the Wonderland over Ipsut.

There are three places to drop a resupply - White River, Longmire, Mowich - although Mowich is a long way out of the way if you're not starting there.

The trail is very well-maintained with one spectacular suspension bridge but I doubt there's more than 10 level feet on it. It's a workout.

I've looked at circumnavigating Glacier Peak but there's one crossing I'd want to scout before attempting it.

Good luck. It's a great trip. We're thinking about doing it again next summer.

rob
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Re: Rainier Wonderland Trail

Postby gabe&mel » Mon May 11, 2015 11:41 pm

I spent a summer working up in Rainier in 2010 and did the Wonderland then doing it in 2-3 days sections. If you get to see the wildflowers in bloom its quite beautiful but if I remember correctly July is peak time for that. My two favorite places were Spray park & Klaptche Park. In general fewer people visit the NW part of the park Near Mowich and its really hard to get to a hitch (I know because my partner and I were nearly stranded there).

If you stop at Longmire on a clear day I'd recommend buying a beer or two from the store and sit on the porch outside the restaurant and enjoy an incredibly nice view of Rainier.

Enjoy your trip that sure is fine country. Hopefully soon I can make it back out there.
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Re: Rainier Wonderland Trail

Postby Eiprahs » Sat May 23, 2015 2:08 pm

Dear Sierracanon:

Here's a 'trick' that worked great for us. The most boring section is box canyon to cougar rock. So what we did was set up camp at cougar rock, then drove to box canyon, where we left car, and hiked back to cougar rock, no packs!! The next day you can get up and have breakfast at Longmire. You know, really rough it.

Another trick, since there were 5 of us, was we left a car at Mowich Lake with a food resupply. This worked out great as we had some broken non functional gear and we actually skedaddled on over to REI for new stuff plus a lot of pizza and ice cream.

That's how you do it with teen agers, IMHO, but, you know, HYOH.

Ciao
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Re: Rainier Wonderland Trail

Postby maverick » Mon Mar 14, 2016 3:14 pm

Did you do this trip Sierracanon, looking forward to a TR and some pictures. :)
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