Mount Rainier National Park, Washington – Wonderland Trail to Sunrise

The Wonderland trail surrounds Mount Rainier and was originally created for the Rangers to patrol the park. The trail is 93 miles long and you can hike it if you want. It takes about 10 days and has a net elevation gain of zero with an accumulated elevation gain of 35,000 feet up and 35,000 feet down. From the White River Campground at 4,400 feet to Sunrise at 6,400 feet is 3.1 miles via the Wonderland Trail.

The trail winds through old forest, along streams and waterfalls, and past luscious views of the peaks and meadows of Mount Rainier.

A Trailside Garden of Wildflowers

Crossing a Stream/Waterfall on a 45º hillside.

Cedars and Ponderosa.

The view of the White River Valley, Emmons Glacier, and Mount Rainier from Sunrise.

Black Bear on the just off the Sunrise Rim Trail – chowing down.

Below: Little Tahoma and Burroughs 1 & 2 from Sunrise.

Burroughs #1 & #2 – We’ll do this hike tomorrow.

It’s tempting to think we might some day climb this mountain, but truthfully this is way too much mountain for us. Climbing Mount Rainier requires months of preparation and training in the use of ice climbing gear and ropes, plus a level of conditioning that I’m not sure we could reach. Of the 10,000 climbers who attempt Mount Rainier each summer more than half turn away due to weather, inability to adapt to the altitude, or sheer exhaustion. We met many climbers coming down from the summit, and while all were euphoric, all were utterly spent. We’re going to enjoy our time here, see as much of the mountain as we can, and leave the summit to others.

Demonstration of proper hydration methods commonly used at Mount Rainier.


4 responses »

  1. Ted, that hydration method, you are demonstrating, appears to be one of the more common used by many in a variety of situations. If I’m not mistaken, It appears to one that I’ve had occasion to use myself at one time or another. As usual, fantastic pics and commentary, as well as my sincere thanks for making them available.

  2. There are numerous varieties of excellent hydration products available in the Northwest.

  3. You sure about that black bear being a black bear? Looked pretty darned brown to me. Maybe you should consider taking off your shades when viewing bears. Could be a whole new species you discover…one that, if hungry/cranky enough, might leave little Ted patties scattered around the neighborhood (I’m assuming Cheryl can run faster than you, Ted, and you know it’s the slow zebra that always gets eaten…).

  4. Ursus Americanus – black bear; comes in many colors including brown, red, cinnamon, & blonde. Not to be confused with Ursus Horribilis; comes in brown and Ted & Cheryl DO NOT GET THIS CLOSE.

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Sharing our love of America's Natural Wonders


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