When to Go: Late July to Mid-September
Round-Trip: 93-Mile Loop
Level: Challenging Backpacking Trip to Complete the Loop; Moderate Backpacking Trip For Sections
A ten-day (minimum) circumnavigation of massive Mount Rainier is one of the true epic hikes in the National Park System. Wonderland Trail makes it possible, with all the wonders of the mighty mountain on vivid display—glaciers and scree fields, high alpine country with brilliant (some endemic) wildflowers, roaring rivers, and, of course, great looks at the mighty summit. Eighteen trail camps simplify logistics a bit, but total elevation gain (and loss) is still more than 20,000 feet as the trail undulates over countless Rainier ridges.
Insider Tip: Wonderland can be accessed from any of nine trailheads, so it’s possible to break up the trail into less-than-epic distances, or to do it over the course of several seasons.
- Nat Geo Expeditions