P.O. A rest day is another option. You don’t want to not complete the hike because you bit off more than you could chew. This creates all kinds of troubling questions: For those who plan to hike the Wonderland Trail in 2017 or later, you can- and should- reserve your permit in advance. You can’t use a wheeled cart to carry your pack or belongings. You’ll cross multiple rivers and streams each day where you can collect fresh water. Wood stoves are not allowed. It’s a detailed topographical map that’s ideal for use along the trail. They just walked across the trail right next to the bear hands and bathroom. These bridges are basically just a log that has been flattened on the top and dragged across the river. This was our most beautiful campsite of the entire trip. Because our previous night’s stay was also off the trail, all downhill, to a craptastic campsite (that’s right, I’m talking about you Olallie Creek), we were less than thrilled to seemingly do the same thing all over again. The Wonderland Trail is aptly named. Slalien is a Leopard Slug. I hiked in the early fall when the rivers are at their lowest level and never had a problem finding water. Wonderland Trail Wilderness Campsites. They print out your permit right there and then. The terrain is challenging, yet rewarding. Of course, snow is only a problem for early or late season hikes. There are endless views of the most glaciated mountain in the lower 48, wildflower meadows, waterfalls, and endless challenges. In this section, I briefly outline each wilderness campsite with the elevation and a bit of info about it. Some years, you can begin your hike in late June or early July. The Wonderland Trail measures in somewhere around 93 miles. You’ll have to negotiate your fare with the driver in this case. With nearly 7-miles to camp, our first experience of the Wonderland Trail was largely under the near-full moon. This was good news considering the east side was hands down our favorite stretch (although we really didn’t get to see the west side due to the fog) and we had heard from a couple of people (including the ranger), that the Eastside Trail is inferior, relatively. Will dance if provoked. I loved this trek, as did the two other guys in my group- one of which doesn’t even particularly like hiking (a fact we learned on day two- go figure). First, you can arrive in the park one day before you plan to start your hike. Hiking the Wonderland Book - A complete guide to the Wonderland by a Washington native that’s hiked the trail seven times. Wilkeson, WA 98396. Walk-in permits are not available over the phone. One ranger offered my friend and I a ride to Tacoma after our hike, for example. Experienced hikers can complete the trail in 5-6 days. If you miss them, you’ll have to wait until the next day to pick up your cache. Most camps have group sites for parties between 6 and 12 people. After obtaining your permit, count the number of days between Longmire > Mowich > White River. A couple of notes about my gear now that I’ve completed the trail: Okay enough with that boring word stuff. The easiest way to do this would be to drive to Longmire. If you want to cache fuel, you’ll have to drop it off in person. Transportation options to the Wonderland Trail include: This is the most popular option. This section of the Wonderland Trail, which begins at Box Canyon, continues along the Cowlitz Divide, and eventually concludes in the valley that houses Indian Bar, will certainly test your trail stamina. Hiking between White River and Sunrise takes about the same amount of time as driving because the trail is more direct. Rainier National Park’s computer system crashed during a storm earlier in the year (according to a ranger I spoke with), permits are issued only the day of or before hitting the trail. I loved this trek, as did the two other guys in my group- one of which doesn’t even particularly like hiking (a fact we learned on day two- go figure). One reason to avoid early season hikes is the bugs. 1 NPS Warehouse As previously mentioned, if you’re hiking this year, I’d advise to send a cache to all three easily accessed areas of the park (there are technically four spots, but Sunrise and White River are so close to each other, you’ll want to only pick one). Jennifer Melroy August 10, 2015 If you are going to do an overnight hike on Wonderland you need a permit for either a campsite or a cross-country zone. The highest point on the Wonderland trail is Panhandle Gap at 6750 feet (2060 meters). One piece of navigation gear that you may find useful is a map. Approximately 70 percent of permits are available online with the application window generally open between March 15 and March 31. The ranger stations also give out maps and print-outs with information on elevation change and distance between campsites. This breathtaking sight is the main reason to consider an early season hike, in my opinion. 35415 Fairfax Forest Reserve Road East I’m not aware of any disease-carrying insects on the Wonderland Trail. Carbonado, WA 98323, Mount Rainier National Park Subscribe to my Newsletter for New Posts and Exclusive Content! I love that you were able to make Wonderland happen!! BACKPACKING - There are 5 backcountry trail camps with in Big Basin Redwoods State Park that require reservations. This is particularly true during peak season. Most of the locations are only open seasonally. In fact, many hikers have to apply for several years before they get a permit request accepted. This is where I got my walk-in permit. soil compaction at Wonderland Trail back-country campsites But getting off the ground can be extra important at these campsites, since heavy use has often compacted the soil so badly that an impermeable depression is formed that can fill up with several inches of water (enough to overtop the "bathtub floor" of a tent) when it rains hard. Generally, the campsites on the Wonderland are large spaces a little bit off trail, and well-signed. To me, the trail looked to be about the same difficulty no matter which direction you travel. Pets are not allowed on the Wonderland Trail or in wilderness campsites. Most of the ranger stations and wilderness information centers open at 7:30 am. Use this unofficial tool to plan your hiking itinerary for the Wonderland Trail. In previous years, 70% of the Wonderland Trail’s permits can be reserved in advance. According to one ranger, we experienced ‘record precipitation’ on our first night on the trail. If you’re not used to designated backcountry campsites (like me), this whole campsite thing can be confusing or comforting. This way, you can start and end your Wonderland Trail hike wherever you want. ATTN: Longmire WIC. While hiking, you burn a lot of calories. Some years, the rainy season arrives early and the trail is drenched from early September. From the beginning of the hiking season until late August, bugs can get bad on the Wonderland Trail. The Wonderland Trail contains 18 wilderness camps and 3 non-wilderness camps. Due to the high demand for wilderness camping permits and limited number of campsites along the Wonderland Trail, your chances of getting a permit in advance is very slim if you apply after April 1st. There is only one true Wonderland Trail route. And we were a couple weeks removed from peak season. This is probably the second most popular trailhead after Longmire. You can get your camping permits in one of two ways. Be very careful when doing this. Alcohol stoves are permitted as well as canister gas stoves. This is an overview map I created of the roads and trailheads for the Wonderland Trail. After dropping it off, you could drive back to your starting point and begin your hike. After a couple of inches of snow falls, the trail becomes invisible. Some hikers choose to get permits in White River then drive up to Sunrise to begin the hike. Thanks for your support! This presents a bit of a logistical problem because most hikers live quite a distance away from Mount Rainier. All Rights Reserved. While hiking the Wonderland Trail, you must camp in one of the above-listed camps each night. Occasionally, when the water gets too high, bridges wash out and make river crossing impossible.