Wonderland Trail In Washington

Here is everything you need to know about the Wonderland Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Washington
  • Length: 90 miles.
  • Type: Hiking
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Managed By: Mount Rainier National Park
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website: https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/washington-pass-overlook

The Wonderland Trail is a renowned hiking trail that encircles Mount Rainier, the highest peak in the state of Washington, United States. The trail spans approximately 93 miles (150 kilometers) and offers breathtaking views of glaciers, alpine meadows, and lush forests. Its history dates back to the early 20th century when the idea of a trail around Mount Rainier was first conceived.

In 1915, the National Park Service was established, and the following year, Mount Rainier National Park was designated as the fifth national park in the United States. The park’s superintendent, Arthur F. Burrows, recognized the need for a trail that would showcase the park’s natural beauty. In 1916, he proposed the idea of a trail encircling Mount Rainier, and work began to make this vision a reality.

Construction of the Wonderland Trail began in 1918, with the help of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the Great Depression. The trail was designed to highlight the diverse ecosystems and geological features of the park, providing visitors with a unique and immersive experience. It took several years to complete the trail, with the final section being finished in 1930. Since then, the Wonderland Trail has become a popular destination for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts from around the world, attracting thousands of visitors each year.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Longmire: This is the most popular access point for the Wonderland Trail and is located near the Longmire Visitor Center in Mount Rainier National Park.

2. Mowich Lake: Another popular access point, Mowich Lake is located on the northwest side of Mount Rainier and offers stunning views of the mountain.

3. Sunrise: Located on the northeast side of Mount Rainier, Sunrise is the highest point on the Wonderland Trail and provides breathtaking views of the surrounding area.

4. White River: This access point is located near the White River Campground and offers a scenic starting point for hikers.

5. Carbon River: Located on the northwest side of Mount Rainier, the Carbon River entrance provides access to the trail through the Carbon River Valley.

6. Ipsut Creek: This access point is located near the Ipsut Creek Campground and offers a more remote starting point for hikers.

7. Box Canyon: Located on the east side of Mount Rainier, Box Canyon provides access to the trail through a narrow canyon with impressive views.

8. Paradise: Paradise is a popular access point for day hikers and offers a variety of trails that connect to the Wonderland Trail.

9. Ohanapecosh: Located on the southeast side of Mount Rainier, Ohanapecosh provides access to the trail through the beautiful Ohanapecosh River Valley.

10. Stevens Canyon: This access point is located near the Stevens Canyon Entrance and offers access to the trail through the scenic Stevens Canyon area.

These are just a few of the major access points along the Wonderland Trail. There are also several other smaller trailheads and access points throughout the trail.

Transportation Available

1. Mount Rainier National Park Shuttle – Shuttle service within Mount Rainier National Park.
2. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport – Major international airport serving the region.
3. Amtrak – Train service with a station in Tacoma, Washington.
4. Greyhound – Intercity bus service with a station in Tacoma, Washington.
5. Uber – Ride-hailing service available in the area.
6. Lyft – Ride-hailing service available in the area.
7. Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad – Scenic train rides near the Wonderland Trail.
8. Northwest Trek Wildlife Park – Wildlife park offering tram tours near the trail.
9. Crystal Mountain Resort – Ski resort with transportation options near the trail.
10. Paradise Inn Shuttle – Shuttle service to and from Paradise Inn in Mount Rainier National Park.


The Wonderland Trail is a popular hiking trail that loops around Mount Rainier in Washington state. While there are no specific amenities provided along the trail, there are certain facilities and features available at various points. Here are some amenities you may find along the Wonderland Trail:

1. Restrooms: There are pit toilets or vault toilets available at designated campsites along the trail. These are basic facilities and may not be available at all locations.

2. Water sources: There are several water sources along the trail, including rivers, streams, and lakes. Hikers can filter or treat the water for drinking purposes.

3. Camping sites: The Wonderland Trail offers numerous designated camping areas with tent pads and food storage lockers. These campsites require permits, and reservations are recommended.

4. Picnic areas: There are no specific picnic areas along the trail, but hikers can find scenic spots to rest and have meals while enjoying the beautiful surroundings.

5. Parking: There are parking lots available at various trailheads where hikers can leave their vehicles. However, it is essential to check the specific trailhead for parking availability and any associated fees.

6. Ranger stations: There are ranger stations located at Longmire, Paradise, and White River. These stations provide information, permits, and assistance to hikers.

7. Visitor centers: The Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise and the Longmire Museum offer information, exhibits, and educational resources about the park and the trail.

8. Lodging and food: There are lodges, inns, and restaurants available at Longmire and Paradise within Mount Rainier National Park. These facilities provide accommodation and dining options for visitors.

It is important to note that the Wonderland Trail is a wilderness experience, and hikers should be prepared with their own supplies, including food, water filtration systems, and appropriate camping gear.

Nearby Services

1. Cougar Rock Campground – Campground with tent and RV sites near the trailhead.
2. Longmire Lodge – Historic lodge offering lodging and dining options.
3. Paradise Inn – Rustic inn providing accommodations and dining at the Paradise trailhead.
4. Mowich Lake Campground – Campground with limited amenities near Mowich Lake.
5. Sunrise Lodge – Lodge offering lodging and dining options at the Sunrise trailhead.
6. White River Campground – Campground with tent and RV sites near the White River entrance.
7. Ohanapecosh Campground – Campground with tent and RV sites near the Ohanapecosh trailhead.
8. Carbon River Campground – Campground with limited amenities near the Carbon River entrance.
9. Mount Rainier National Park Wilderness Information Center – Provides information and permits for backcountry camping.
10. Ranger Stations – Various ranger stations along the trail for emergency assistance.

Wonderland Trail Difficulty Notes

The Wonderland Trail, located in Mount Rainier National Park, is renowned for its challenging and rugged terrain, making it a difficult hiking experience. Spanning approximately 93 miles around the majestic Mount Rainier, the trail presents hikers with steep ascents, treacherous descents, and unpredictable weather conditions. The trail’s elevation gain of over 22,000 feet and numerous river crossings demand physical endurance and mental resilience. Additionally, the trail’s remote and isolated nature requires careful planning, self-sufficiency, and navigation skills. Despite its difficulty, the Wonderland Trail rewards hikers with breathtaking views of glaciers, alpine meadows, and pristine wilderness, making it a truly unforgettable adventure for those seeking a challenging and rewarding hiking experience.

Features And Attractions

1. Mount Rainier: The Wonderland Trail circles around the majestic Mount Rainier, offering breathtaking views of the snow-capped peak from various angles.

2. Reflection Lakes: Located near Paradise, Reflection Lakes provide stunning mirror-like reflections of Mount Rainier on calm days, creating a picturesque scene.

3. Sunrise Point: This viewpoint offers panoramic vistas of the surrounding valleys, meadows, and glaciers. It is a popular spot to watch the sunrise and enjoy the alpine beauty.

4. Mystic Lake: Nestled in a serene setting, Mystic Lake is a tranquil spot along the trail. Its crystal-clear waters and surrounding lush greenery make it a perfect place to rest and take in the natural beauty.

5. Indian Bar: This area is known for its wildflower meadows and stunning views of Mount Rainier. It is a great spot to witness the vibrant colors of the alpine flora during the summer months.

6. Spray Park: Located on the northwest side of Mount Rainier, Spray Park is famous for its vibrant wildflowers, alpine meadows, and stunning views of the mountain. It is a must-visit for nature enthusiasts.

7. Carbon River: The Carbon River area is known for its dense old-growth forests, moss-covered trees, and the rushing Carbon River. It offers a unique and enchanting experience along the Wonderland Trail.

8. Panhandle Gap: Situated at an elevation of 6,800 feet, Panhandle Gap offers breathtaking views of glaciers, meadows, and the surrounding peaks. It is a challenging but rewarding section of the trail.

9. Ohanapecosh River: The trail follows the beautiful Ohanapecosh River for a stretch, allowing hikers to enjoy the soothing sounds of the rushing water and the lush greenery along its banks.

10. Box Canyon: This narrow and deep canyon along the trail showcases the power of the Cowlitz River as it carves through the volcanic rock. It offers a unique geological feature to explore.

11. Nickel Creek: This picturesque creek is known for its crystal-clear waters and moss-covered rocks. It provides a peaceful and serene atmosphere for hikers to enjoy.

12. Klapatche Park: Located on the western side of Mount Rainier, Klapatche Park offers stunning views of the mountain, wildflower meadows, and the surrounding valleys. It is a popular camping spot along the trail.

These are just a few examples of the scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks that can be found along the Wonderland Trail. The trail offers a diverse range of landscapes and experiences, making it a truly remarkable hiking destination.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets are not allowed on the Wonderland Trail.
2. Permits are required for all overnight camping along the trail.
3. Campfires are prohibited along the trail.
4. All waste must be properly disposed of in designated areas.
5. Camping is only allowed in designated campsites.
6. Group size is limited to 12 people.
7. Camping is limited to 14 consecutive nights in any given area.
8. Hiking is only permitted during the summer season, typically from late June to early October.
9. Wilderness camping is not allowed within 1/4 mile of any road or trailhead.
10. All food and scented items must be stored in bear-resistant containers.
11. Leave no trace principles must be followed, including packing out all trash.
12. Cutting or damaging vegetation is strictly prohibited.
13. Hunting and fishing are not allowed along the trail.
14. Bicycles and motorized vehicles are not permitted on the Wonderland Trail.
15. Permits must be displayed visibly at all times while on the trail.
16. Respect wildlife and maintain a safe distance.
17. Stay on designated trails and avoid shortcuts or creating new paths.
18. Be prepared for changing weather conditions and carry appropriate gear.
19. Practice proper hygiene and follow guidelines for waste disposal.
20. Follow all park regulations and guidelines provided by park rangers.

Seasonal Information

The Wonderland Trail, located in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state, offers breathtaking views of glaciers, alpine meadows, and lush forests. The best times of the year to visit the trail are during the summer months, from July to September. During this time, the weather is generally mild, with temperatures ranging from 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 21 degrees Celsius). The trail is also less likely to be covered in snow, making it more accessible for hikers.

In terms of seasonal closures, it’s important to note that the Wonderland Trail is closed during the winter months due to heavy snowfall and hazardous conditions. The trail typically opens in late June or early July, depending on snowmelt and trail conditions. It’s advisable to check with the park’s official website or visitor center for the most up-to-date information on trail closures and openings.

During the peak summer months, the trail can get quite crowded, especially on weekends. If you prefer a quieter experience, consider visiting in early July or September when the crowds are thinner. However, keep in mind that weather conditions can be more unpredictable during these times, with a higher chance of rain or cooler temperatures.

Overall, the best time to visit the Wonderland Trail is during the summer months when the weather is pleasant, the trail is open, and the scenery is at its most vibrant. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a nature enthusiast, exploring this iconic trail is sure to be a memorable adventure.


1. Wheelchair Accessibility: The Wonderland Trail is not wheelchair accessible due to its rugged terrain and steep elevation changes.
2. ADA Accommodations: The trail does not have specific ADA accommodations, but some sections may be more accessible for individuals with mobility challenges, such as the section from Longmire to Cougar Rock Campground.
3. Accessible Campgrounds: Cougar Rock Campground and Ohanapecosh Campground have accessible campsites and facilities for individuals with disabilities.
4. Accessible Restrooms: Accessible restrooms are available at Longmire, Cougar Rock, and Ohanapecosh.
5. Accessible Parking: Designated accessible parking spaces are available at trailhead parking areas, visitor centers, and campgrounds.
6. Trailhead Accessibility: Some trailheads have accessible parking and restrooms, but the trails themselves may not be wheelchair accessible.
7. Ranger Assistance: Park rangers are available to provide information and assistance to visitors with disabilities.
8. Service Animals: Service animals are allowed on the Wonderland Trail, but they must be leashed and under control at all times.
9. Accessibility Resources: The Mount Rainier National Park website provides information on accessibility and specific trail conditions for visitors with disabilities.
10. Alternative Experiences: For individuals unable to hike the trail, there are scenic drives and viewpoints within the park that offer stunning views of Mount Rainier.

Safety Information

Info not available.

Conservation Notes

The Wonderland Trail, located in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state, holds a conservation status that is of utmost importance. As a designated National Historic Landmark, the trail is protected under federal law, ensuring its preservation for future generations. The conservation efforts for the Wonderland Trail primarily focus on maintaining the trail’s ecological integrity, protecting its unique flora and fauna, and mitigating human impact.

To safeguard the trail’s natural resources, strict regulations are in place to control visitor activities. These regulations include restrictions on camping locations, waste disposal, and wildlife interactions. By limiting camping to designated areas, the impact on fragile ecosystems is minimized, preventing soil erosion and damage to vegetation. Additionally, strict waste management practices are enforced to prevent pollution and maintain the pristine condition of the trail. Visitors are required to pack out all their trash and dispose of it properly, leaving no trace behind.

Furthermore, the conservation status of the Wonderland Trail involves ongoing efforts to protect the diverse wildlife that inhabits the area. The trail is home to various species, including black bears, mountain goats, and elk. To ensure their safety and minimize human-wildlife conflicts, visitors are educated on proper wildlife etiquette and encouraged to maintain a safe distance. This helps preserve the natural behavior and habitat of these animals, allowing them to thrive undisturbed.

In conclusion, the conservation status of the Wonderland Trail is of paramount importance to maintain its ecological integrity and protect its unique natural resources. Through strict regulations and visitor education, efforts are made to minimize human impact, preserve fragile ecosystems, and safeguard the diverse wildlife that calls this trail home. By adhering to these conservation practices, the Wonderland Trail can continue to be enjoyed by future generations while preserving its natural beauty.

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