• Mount Rainier peeks through clouds, viewed across subalpine wildflowers and glacial moraine.

    Mount Rainier

    National Park Washington

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    Road construction is underway from the Nisqually Entrance to Longmire. The road has very rough areas. All vehicles should proceed with caution. Mon to Fri expect up to 30 minute delays and slow travel for 7 miles. More »

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Mystic Lake Trail

Trail route from Carbon River entrance to Carbon Glacier and Mystic Lake/ NW
Map of the trail route to Carbon Glacier and Mystic Lake from Carbon River entrance, northwest corner of park. Use of a topographic map of area is recommended.
 

Trail Description:

Distance, round-trip:

20.8 miles

Elevation gain:

3900 feet

Hiking time, round-trip:

9 hours

Wilderness camps:


Isput Creek
Mystic Lake

Visiting Professors J. B. Fleet and H. H. Garretson named Mystic Lake after reportedly seeing a mysterious whirlpool near the lake's outlet.



The trailhead is located at the Carbon River Entrance.

After hiking five miles from the entrance station on the old roadbed you will meet up with the Wonderland Trail. From here the Wonderland Trail is fairly level for the first three miles to the Carbon River suspension bridge. After crossing the Carbon River on the suspension bridge near the snout of the Carbon Glacier, the trail becomes steeper. It parallels the glacier, then zigzags up through the forest until it emerges from the trees into the narrow subalpine valley of lower Moraine Park. At 6.2 miles, the route enters the large open meadow of Moraine Park. Beyond the park the trail climbs up and down over two small wooded ridges. After climbing the second ridge, the trail descends a short distance to Mystic Lake.


Along the Trail:


This trail offers hikers a close-up look at the terminus of the Carbon Glacier, the lowest elevation glacier in the contiguous 48 states. From Moraine Park the views of Mount Rainier's precipitous north side are spectacular! Marmots, pikas and wildflowers abound in Moraine Park.


Backpacking:


In an effort to preserve the shoreline of Mystic Lake, the camp is located along the Wonderland Trail in a forested area .3 mile downhill from the east end of the lake. The Mystic Lake Patrol Cabin is generally staffed by a ranger all summer, though not necessarily every day. Permits are required for camping. Permits and current trail conditions are available at park-wide from wilderness information centers, ranger stations, and visitor centers. Treat water before drinking. Fires are prohibited. No pets on trails.

Did You Know?

The mountain's namesake: Rear Admiral Peter Rainier of the British Navy.

In 1792, Captain George Vancouver of the British Navy became the first European to sail into the Puget Sound. On the horizon, he noted a large, snowy mountain, known to local Native Americans as Tahoma, Takhoma, or Tacobet. Vancouver named it for his colleague Rear Admiral Peter Rainier.