Wonderland Trail -- With varying degrees of difficulty, this 93-mile loop is the mother of all trails in the park. It circles Mount Rainier, with numerous connecting trail heads. To some, making this loop through some of the most stunning vistas in the continental United States is a Northwest rite of passage. Think hard and plan ahead before you try to take it all at once. You'll want to leave yourself about 2 weeks' time to make the whole loop; campsite reservations are required and hard to get in midsummer.
There are more things to see on this trail than you can name. But expect to find yourself traveling through subalpine meadows, glacial streams, mountain passes, valley forests, and an ultimate summit point of 6,500 feet at Panhandle Gap. Many backcountry camping spots along the way provide water in the summer, but be sure to purify every drop. In the interest of planning shorter trips, keep in mind that you can connect with this trail from any of the spokelike trails that crisscross and touch the trail throughout the park, allowing you to set up a hiking mileage and time schedule all your own. It's possible for 1 day's elevation gain to be as much as 7,000 feet. 93 miles RT. Allow 10-14 days. Strenuous. Access: Start from Longmire, Paradise, Sunrise, Mowich Lake, or Carbon River.
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