We don't stop hiking because we grow old, we grow old because we stop hiking. -- Finis Mitchell

Mount Rainier Wonderland Trail Preview 2

Welcome to the second preview of the Wonderland Trail.

The Northern Rangers set off on our adventure later this week.

Until then, here's today's preview about how to obtain permits for the hike, as well as the campgrounds on the trail.

Wilderness Permits and Campgrounds

Wilderness permits are required for overnight camping year-round. These permits help to disperse traffic and keep track of users of the trail.

To obtain your permit, you must submit your application early. The first day the park starts accepting them is March 15 each year. However, the rangers don't begin processing permits until April 1. The way it works is all of the permits received between March 15 and April 1 are processed first, then the permits are gone through by date received after April 1.

For more information on how to apply for a permit visit the Mount Rainier National Park Wonderland Trail permit web site.

The Wonderland Trail has eighteen wilderness camps and three non-wilderness camps. Each campsite has designated tent sites, a vault toilet and water nearby (aka creek, river, stream).

The Mount Rainier National Park site lists each of the campsites and their elevation.

Hiking from Longmire in a clockwise direction, they are:

  • Pyramid Creek- (no group site) 3,765 feet
  • Devil's Dream- 5,060 feet
  • South Puyallup River- 4,000 feet
  • Klapatche Park- (no group site) 5,515 feet
  • North Puyallup River- 3,750 feet
  • Golden Lakes- 5,130 feet
  • South Mowich River- 2,605 feet
  • *Mowich Lake Campground- 4,929 feet
  • Ipsut Creek Campground- 2,330 feet
  • Carbon River- 3,195 feet
  • Dick Creek- (no group site) 4,185 feet
  • Mystic Camp- 5,570 feet
  • Granite Creek- 5,765
  • Sunrise Camp- 6,245
  • *White River Campground- 4,280 feet
  • Summerland- 5,940 feet
  • Indian Bar- 5,120 feet
  • Nickel Creek- 3,385 feet
  • Maple Creek- 2,815 feet
  • Paradise River- 3,805 feet
  • *Cougar Rock Campground- 3,180 feet

* denotes non-wilderness campground

For the hike, we planned our route based on distance, as well as our own personal abilities in hiking. Since we are in hiking shape, this is how our trip itinerary turned out for campgrounds:

Day 1 - We'll leave the Mowich Lake Trailhead and set up camp at Carbon River Camp. Distance- 9 miles.

Day 2- Carbon River Camp to Granite Creek Camp. Distance- 9 miles.

Day 3- Granite Creek Camp to White River Camp. Distance- 9 miles.

Day 4- White River Camp to Indian Bar Camp. Distance- 9 miles.

Day 5- Indian Bar Camp to Maple Creek Camp. Distance- 13 miles.

Day 6- Maple Creek Camp to Pyramid Creek Camp. Distance- 14 miles.

Day 7- Pyramid Creek Camp to South Puyallup River Camp. Distance- 8 miles.

Day 8- South Puyallup River Camp to Golden Lakes Camp. Distance- 12 miles.

Day 9- Golden Lakes Camp to South Mowich River Camp. Distance- 7 miles

Day 10- South Mowich River Camp to Mowich Lake Trailheads. Distance- 3 miles

Total is 93 miles. Man am I excited.

Check back in tomorrow for another preview of the Wonderland Trail, with the gear to pack on the trip.

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