wonderland trail

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so, me and some friends are thinking to do the full trail this summer in somthing like 7-8 days (yes all 93 of it).
we are all used to hiking 10-13 miles a day, but the more i've read the more rigorus the trail is looking. So can anybody vouch for the dificulty of the "day to day" hiking? (steepness/ trail maintenance).

also  on the topo maps ive seen the trail pushes above the 6000 ft a few times, in mid july does anyone know how much snow will be around the trail, were fine with snow but, im hoping to have a nice summer hike.

thanks in advance

[QUOTE user='RachelP']We're supposed to start 8/2... I spoke to a ranger yesterday who said "it will be close." He said it really depends on how many people make it over the next two weeks.... so we're still hopeful.[/QUOTE]

Our permits start on 8/5, and I think we're just going to plan something else this year.  The trails still sound dangerous, and 10' is a lot to melt out over three weeks.   We're thinking about maybe the Trinity Alps in California or the Seven Devils Loop in Idaho.
Well, due to the lack of great hikes we have decided we are just going to go to yellowstone for awhile. We are kinda just going to wing it... throw on our packs, and head in. We have never really seen much of yellowstone so it should be good.

And honestly right now, work is wearing me down so much, I don't care where I go anymore, as long as it is somewhere. haha

We're supposed to start 8/2... I spoke to a ranger yesterday who said "it will be close." He said it really depends on how many people make it over the next two weeks.... so we're still hopeful.
[QUOTE user='Mark&Laura'] Remember: We still have our health and Rainier will still be there.


You are so right Laura. I am sorry that you and Mark had to postpone your wonderland trail this year. It happened to us two years ago. We were there for two days and we got cold rained out...I mean RAINED out where our party got hypodermic and we had to ditch the treck.

This year our permit starts on August 12, I hope that by then the snow will be a bit more friendlier with the trekkers. I will keep you guys posted.

Forrester, you are a gem! Thanks for telling me that Laura has also given me some hints here. Beiing a new I get lost in this fori.

jgoss4, sorry no help here. Like Laura said, we, in the PNW are just barried in the snow in the higher altitude. I have hiked the Grand Titon base successfully in July before with our two little kids, but then again, I have NOT checked how much snow they got this year.

Laura and Mark, Machupichu, how fun! our next destination. We had done Torres del Paine in Chile and some souther treks in Argentina, but no Peru!! Keep us posted!

Off ot shop for some rain gear! I still am hopeful for our trek.
Jgoss~~~~ We broke out our JMT maps and outlined our route. It will be great once we get out there, but we are still disappointed in the fact that our food cache isn't going up to Rainier. We can't complain given that we have a plan B. The JMT is an awesome trail and a workout.

The airline gives vouchers, so we're going to save that towards a trip to Alaska (maybe next spring).

As for you................... I'm not sure what is available. I briefly looked at Glacier National Park (I want to get there some day). They seem to be reporting the same problem.............SNOW. Some areas in the front country were snow free, but the back country is still deep with snow. I'm guessing you want to backpack the back country. Overall, I think Washington & Montana (given the northern latitude) are going to have too much snow. Our trip to the Sierras is going to be sketchy is a couple places given some passes are over 11K & 12K. Snow is at 10K, so we'll have our work cut out for us.

Good luck. I hope you and your friends find something. You may have to settle with car camping and just hiking around. No matter what happens.............enjoy your time off.

Remember: We still have our health and Rainier will still be there.

It really does suck. Since my group is dealing with military leave and the such, we need a substitute as well. We were looking in the olympic park, but they are also dealing with a lot of snow about 3500ft. Anyone have any ideas we can do starting July 18 in either Montana (where part of our group is stationed), or washington?

A little snow isn't bad, heck, i can deal with a lot of snow. I just don't want the entire trip to be in 10 feet of snow.


We have been feeling this news would come. We are disappointed to hear this and yet not totally surprised. Mark & I are only one week behind you. If the rangers don't suggest you go then the same probably goes for us. Part of us keep hoping the snow will thaw, but we know the reality of it all. As bad as we want this trip (airfare already paid), we also don't want to end up on the show "I Shouldn't Be Alive".   Mt Rainier isn't going to disappear.

Mark & I are looking into our Plan B--------John Muir Trail (JMT). We already have permits We put in for them back in February just in case our Wonderland Trail permits were declined. We hiked 70 miles of JMT last summer, so we may just pick up from where we left off and go another 70 miles. The JMT is beautiful & we love the back country, so that is looking like our plan right now.

If for some reason the airline doesn't give us a voucher then perhaps we'll fly up and car camp Rainier or play around in the area. Wonderland Trail will have to wait a couple years. Next summer we are getting married and going to Machu Picchu (Peru).


I spoke with a ranger today and he pretty much told me this: don't do it.

He said you won't be successful until mid august at the earliest. He told me that nobody... ranger or regular backpacker has made it more that one day, and even then, they did not reach their first camp. Not looking good at all.
Acahay~~~~ I love my rain gear. However, what works for one person may not work for another.

My jacket is Marmot (Gore-Tex). It has zippers under the armpits that allow me more ventalation if needed. This feature is important to me especially in warm/humid conditions. Mark's jacket is similar, but his is Mountain Hardwear (Gore-Tex). Either jacket is nice and works well. My jacket is red which is nice for Mark when trying to find me, but not so great when I try to disappear and do my "business" .

My pants are also Marmot. They zip down all the way on both sides. This makes it a lot easier to put them on or take them off. Mark & I backpack in the High Sierras where the weather can change at any given hour. I am able to put my rain gear on in 2  minutes without taking off my boots. This feature is important to me, but you need to shop around and find what you like. Note: unzip only one side to do your "business". If you undo both sides then it can be entertaining putting yourself back together again (especially in the wind & rain).  

You can find this gear at REI.

I hope this helps.

Jgoss4---- We are watching the reports hoping the snow thaws in time for our journey around. The west side of the mountain still looks to have deep snow. We won't get over there till July 30th, thus hoping it will have thawed. We are avid snow campers & have the proper gear (sleeping in the snow doesn't bother us). However, if the trail is under snow then that's a problem. We don't want to pack our snowshoes (ugh...........more weight) or get lost  . Does anyone know how the actual trail looks along the western side (Devil's Dream to Mowich)????? If the camps are under 10 ft, then the trail must be under snow as well..........

Thanks wallabee. Mark found a site that had GPS coordinates for the WT. We will still check out your site. Given that part of the trail us under snow we are going to need our GPS.

Mark & I are still committed to this trip (or should be committed---he he he). It is going to be challenging, but a wonderful experience.
Man, i don't think we are going to be able to do it. Way too much snow for this late in the year. Really sucks. I hear some camps are still 10 feet under...

 Mark and Laura, we will be looking forward to your experience report before we start the adventure.

We are looking forward to our trek...a bit nervous!!!!

What are you packing for food???


I found a nice kml overlay of the Wonderland trail at http://bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showthreaded&Number=606037&site id=1#import

You can load this into the Google Earth application, and then click anywhere along the trail to get GPS coordinates.

We're NEW to join all the fun! Mark & I are really excited for this trip. We have been reading all of the messages..........getting more excited. Here is our schedule:

7/24   Sunrise to Summerland
7/25   Indian Bar
7/26   Nickel Creek
7/27   Maple Creek
7/28   Paradise River
7/29   Pyramid Creek
7/30   Devil's Dream
7/31   Klapatche Park
8/1     (Zero Day--Klapatche)
8/2    Golden Lakes
8/3    Mowich Lake
8/4    Carbon River
8/5    Mystic Camp
8/6    Sunrise

I think we are going to cross paths with jgoss4. You will be heading to Sunrise as we head to Summerland. Look for us. If it's raining (hehehe) I will be wearing a bright red waterproof jacket. You can't miss me. We'll also be full of energy.......and smelling fresh & clean given it's our first day out.

Also, does anyone have GPS points for these campsites???? Or a way we can go about getting them????

Mark & Laura

 New here, but I too am planning to hike this marvelous trail. We are starting on Ag. 12th. We are very excited about the trek.

Now I have a question to you all about rain gear. I am looking for a good rain jacket and pants that is waterproof, breathable, and windproof. Any suggestion?
You can hike this trail in 5-6 days if you are VERY fit and willing to be on the trail most of the day.  I'm not big on hanging around camp and feel much better just putting on miles. I completed 3 legs (approx 56 miles) in 3 days and have also done several one-way 16-18 mile days (w/day pack only).  Besides fitness level and snow the only other slow-down factors are weather (rain) and pack weight.  The snow is quite deep this year so you may encounter a lot of snow still in mid-July, this is what happened to us a couple years ago ('08 I think) and we ended up scrapping our plans for a year with less snow and pushing our hike to the end of July. 
Yeah, last year I did the entire west side of the mountain (mowich to Longmire) from July 12-14 and battled with a ton of snow. It made it difficult, especially with taking such big milage each day. One thing I really did enjoy was the lack of people. The entire first day we didn't come across one person. The rest of the trip we saw a few, but the majority were in the Longmire/Paradise area.

I was hoping to avoid that snow this year, but looks like I won't. Ohwell, it makes it interesting.

And yes, training sucks so far. haha. I have just been going to the gym and hitting the treadmill. Its better than nothing I guess.
Congrats!  Wow, your dates are early.  I'll be very eager to hear your trail report when you get back.  What a year, huh?  It's making training darned difficult.
Finally got an itenerary. My first one was denied, so I made a second one and left a big gap of desired start time so they could find something that would work.

7/18-Paul Peak Trail head to Golden Lakes Camp
7/19-Klapatche Park Camp
7/20-Devil's Dream Camp
7/21-Paradise River Camp
7/22-Maple Creek Camp (wanted Nickel Creek, but got this instead)
7/23-Summerland Camp (Long day from maple creek to summerland)
7/24-Sunrise Walk in camp
7/25-Mystic Camp
7/26-Carbon River Camp
7/27-Paul Peak Trail head, exit

Got mine a couple of weeks back, and cant wait to go. Gunna be leaving out on 8/30 for 11 days starting out at Longmire with a couple of friends. It's our first time to the WT and I the excitment is killing me. cant wait to hear from you all on how the trip went.
Ironically, we're basically going to be shadowing you and arriving at each of your camps one day after you! So, unless you have a very late morning and we have a very fast day (unlikely) I don't think our paths will cross. Too bad :( Looks like you have a great itinerary, though. We're planning to do the Spray Park piece too.
jgoss4 - They say it can take six weeks to process all the applications, so I guess I wouldn't get too worried about it until May 1.  Good luck!

Rachel - Yay! Congrats! 

Our permit says:

8/6: Longmire to Devil's Dream
8/7: D.Dream to S. Puyallup
8/8: S. Puyallup to Klapatche
8/9: Klapatche to Golden Lake
8/10: Golden Lakes to Mowich
8/11: Day hike to Spray Park
8/12: Mowich to Dick Creek
8/13: Dick Creek to Granite Creek
8/14: Granite Creek to White River
8/15: White River to Summerland
8/16: Summerland to Indian Bar
8/17: Indian Bar to Maple Creek
8/18: Maple Creek to Longmire

Will our paths cross at all?
I still have not recieved my permit that I sent in on March 15. Should I be worried? It was for July 24-August 2
August 2nd... headed clockwise from Frying Creek Trailhead.... we're doing it in a nice slow 14 days since it will be me, my husband, and my mom. I can't WAIT!! How'd your itinerary look?
Nurse4Rocks - How do you feel about Craigslist?  Maybe you could advertise for a college student in the Seattle area who would pick you up at the airport & drive you to the park for less than a rental? 

Have you checked out the options here:  http://www.visitrainier.com/pg/transportation/Transportation-Options-to-Mt-Rainier-National-Park?  Maybe the park staff have a suggestion?  Finally, you may try posting on lots & lots of sites to see if anyone else from the Seattle area is going up the same time you are.  Good luck!

Rachel - What's your start date?

Rexryman - I wouldn't give up hope yet.  Their web site says it takes six weeks to process the permits.

Perhaps an option would be to take a shuttle to the Best Western in Puyallup (those are inexpensive) and then perhaps stay there a night.  Then pay a cab to take you to Rainier.  Definately less than $700......heck, they may even have a connection to a tour company who might be able to take you.

just an option.

I don't have any great ideas about getting there from the airport, unfortunately... I live in Seattle so will just be driving. If I learn of any shuttles, etc. I'll definitely let you know!

Rexryman: sorry no luck so far :( I'll keep my fingers crossed you still hear back, or that you get your first-come first-serve permit!!
well its lookin like all you you got your permits...i dont think i am going to :(
but oh well change of plans anyway!

im thinking i will go for the "first come permit" in the end of july.

I kinda want to go for like a 10 day by myself... i break from the world!
I received my permit to start August 5th from Longmire going clockwise over 12 days. Now, I just hope I will be ready for the physical challange. Even more challanging is finding transportation from the airport to the park.   I checked into a rental car- the cheapest , ended  up about  $700, crive to the park and then sit there for 2 weeks and drive back to the airport. Any ideas on transportation from the airport?
Yay! Congrats! 
Good news - just saw the charge on my credit card so guess I got one. VERY excited!!! :)
@Rachel - Sorry the permit hasn't come through yet.  I hope you hear from them soon.

@JoanOfArc - "It could be easily done in 8 days."   LOL! Maybe for YOU!  I think we're going to be hard pressed to do the 10 mile days we've planned.     What would you consider more difficult trips?  Curious, so I can put them on my itinerary for future summers!
No - no permit yet, sadly :( I mailed it in around March 19th... tried to fax, but the fax wasn't working and when I called they said it was jammed from so many people faxing and advised me to mail it. I did call to confirm they received it and they had, so I guess I'm just unlucky so far. Still hoping, though!! I applied to go in early August... will keep you posted.
Dont let "hard" turn you back!  You will get stronger each day.  The hardest and "less" scenic part of the the hike is the west side - you can almost count on rain.  We started from the north lake (I am spacing the name) - if I did it again start at the lodge at the south part of the park.  Hike clockwise - the first day will be heck but...  that said - its over. 

Anyway, I would not rate this as my "hardest" backpack....  it is just too pretty.  You will feel as though you are walking around a pie crust (ie up and down and up and down) - but - break the day up in such a way that you end on the ups - that seemed to work well for us.  We planned for 10 days but made it in 9 with a very easy 3 mile day in there somewhere...

It could be easily done in 8 days.  Get your permit and go later - the snowpack is prob pretty healty this year. 

My fave side was the east side - esp Panhandle Gap and Indian Heaven I think it was (Its been about 10 years) - the flowers were unfreakinbelievable!

Have fun!
I got the hard copy in the mail yesterday, so it's official.

Rachel, have you heard back yet?  I'm curious about how you submitted the request (just in case I do this again -- to maybe figure out if one method works better than others).

- There are only two of us
- I faxed my form in the morning of the 2nd day they were accepting applications
- I said I wouldn't accept other camp sites, but I could shift my itinerary +/- 2 days.  (They did end up shifting us from a Sunday start to a Saturday start).

When are you going?  We're heading out Friday, August 6 from Longmire and will be taking 12 nights/13 days.  We could have shortened the trip by a day, but couldn't decide whether to stick with the traditional route (hubby like having "official" GPS tracks) or go through Spray Park (I like wildflowers & beautiful vistas).  So we're staying two nights at Mowich so we can day hike through Spray Park & then continue on our way along the official trail.
Congratulations. I'm jealous!! I've been checking my credit card statement compulsively but so far no charge :(
Just checked my Visa statement, & my permit fee got charged yesterday (April 5) ... so I guess it's been approved.  EEEEEEKKKK!

Has anyone heard back yet about a permit? I know it's still early but I'm eagerly waiting...

[QUOTE user='rexryman']so, me and some friends are thinking to do the full trail this summer in somthing like 7-8 days (yes all 93 of it).
we are all used to hiking 10-13 miles a day, but the more i've read the more rigorus the trail is looking. So can anybody vouch for the dificulty of the "day to day" hiking? (steepness/ trail maintenance).

also  on the topo maps ive seen the trail pushes above the 6000 ft a few times, in mid july does anyone know how much snow will be around the trail, were fine with snow but, im hoping to have a nice summer hike.

thanks in advance[/QUOTE]

I thought the West side of the mountain was the most physically challenging.  It was also the most scerene.
We're also planning to do the Wonderland Trail this summer, although we're planning to do it over 13 days so we don't have anything longer than a 10 mile day.  We're not as concerned about the distance as the elevation gain each day.   Even with our more conservative schedule, we're looking at several days with around 3000'.  Having spent a lot of time hiking in the Gorge, we know what that kind of elevation gain feels like, and I must admit we're a bit nervous about it. 

If you haven't already seen it, the Wonderland Trail site has a very helpful PDF that shows the trail profile - http://www.nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/upload/Wonderland%20Trail%20Profile-Longmire.pdf.

I have submitted our permit request and I'm eagerly awaiting the Park Rangers' decision.   Guess they start processing tomorrow!

Yeah, winters are always rough.  I generally need to head south this time of year to get a good backpack in.  The Rogue River can be great in March/April!
im planning on putting in for a permit for 9 days just incase we want to have a lazy day. Cant wait for the summer i'm getting a bit stir crazy with out the sun
Sounds like a great trip!  I've only done a few pieces of the trip -- since its a national park, the trail maintenance is great, so I wouldn't be too concerned about that.  I would think that the snow wouldn't be a problem in mid July.  It does change from year to year (I've been in Japan since the beginning of the year, so I have no idea if its a heavy or late snow year in the Northwest), so I would just keep an eye on snow conditions.  If you google "snotel", you can find pretty good information on current snow depths.

I think its totally reasonable for you to pull of the trip.  If you are capabale of doing 10-13 miles per day now, I would think you would be capable of doing a bit more, and managing the more rigourous terrain.  It may be a good idea to plan an extra day, just to have some buffer if you end up going slower.