Trails and Backcountry Camp Conditions

 
A large blowdown on the Wonderland Trail

The Trail Crew clearing a large tree from the Wonderland Trail

Mount Rainier can receive 700 or more inches of snow each winter. When spring comes to the mountains it is a very busy time for Park Rangers. The previous fall usually brings the rainy season which causes damage to trails and camps by raging waters, high winds and falling trees. All this damage gets covered by 10-20 feet of snow, and there it sits until melt-out which often does not occur in earnest until late June or early July. The snow usually starts melting in high volumes, causing more damage to trails and camps. The Trail Crew may have to clear hundreds of trees from the trails each year. Replacing footlogs and bridges is also a major project. Footlogs are also prone to being washed out anytime there is a prolonged period of rain regardless of the season.

Wilderness Rangers and Trail Crew members are out and about early in the season trying to assess the damage. Given the vastness of the trail system and the volumes of snow, this is a large task. As we get reliable information on the status of a trail, a section of trail or a backcountry camp, that information will be posted here on the website.

 
Winter Trail Conditions
Reported irregularly when limited winter staff are able to assess conditions. Please note the date for reports and recognize that changes may have occurred since the report. If a trail or area does not have a specific report, conditions are unknown as of the date of this summary. Check the Northwest Avalanche Center Report and the Mount Rainier Recreational Weather Report before heading out. Avalanche assessment and route-finding skills are needed for many winter activities in the park this time of the year. Call the Longmire Information Center between 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. if you have questions at 360-569-6575.

Latest Report: Check back next winter - See tables below for current trail conditions.

Backcountry Trails and Camp Reports
Trail and backcountry camp conditions are reported in detail during the summer months only (generally June-September). A Wilderness Camping Permit is required year round for camping or climbing in the park. Always check with Park Rangers for trail conditions before heading out into the backcountry. FIRES ARE NOT ALLOWED in the wilderness at Mt. Rainier.

Be prepared for harsh conditions and fast-changing weather. River crossings are prone to be being washed out, potentially leaving you stranded on one side of the crossing. Always cross early in the day when water levels are at their lowest. Use extreme caution anytime you attempt to ford a river or creek. Be prepared... mountain weather is good one minute, daunting the next.

Do not leave valuables in your car. While break-ins are infrequent, they do occur.

Trails in the Carbon River Area
The Carbon River Road to Ipsut Creek Campground is CLOSED at the park entrance because of 2006 flood damage. It is now a five mile hike into Ipsut Creek Campground. Bikes are permitted ONLY as far as Ipsut Creek Campground. All backcountry camping requires a permit. Obtain backcountry camping permits at the Carbon River Ranger Station.

Trail Name

% Snow Cover

Trail Conditions

Update

Summary

On May 1, 2013, a new Ranger Station opened at Carbon River. It is located 5.5 miles past the Mowich Lake turn-off, toward the Carbon River entrance. It is on the left side of the road.

Ipsut Creek Campground is being managed as a backcountry camp. A wilderness permit will be required to camp at Ipsut Creek. Fires and pets are not permitted beyond the point where public vehicles can legally park at the park entrance.

Carbon Glacier Trail 0 There is a large rock slide at mile 2 just before the lower crossing of the Carbon River. It is potentially hazardous to get around. The bridge over the lower crossing is gone, but there is a 30 inch diameter tree across the river about 300 feet up river. CAUTION: The river is flowing fast and deep. A fall while crossing could be deadly. There are 40 trees down between the lower crossing and the Carbon River suspension bridge. 5/25/15
Chenuis Fall 0 5/2/15
Green Lake 0 5/2/15
Ipsut Falls 0 5/23/15
Northern Loop: Carbon River- Windy Gap
Paul Peak Trail 0 5/17/15
Rain Forest Loop 0 5/2/15
Spray Park 20 Snow-free until the lower meadows.

Please be mindful of where you step in the fragile meadows of Spray Park. Route finding across the snowfields just east of the ridge that separates Spray Park from Seattle Park can be tricky. Please bring a 1:24,000 scale topo map, know how to read it and consult it often. Some parties who did not read their map have lost the trail in this area and have spent hours climbing up and away from the Spray Park trail unintentionally. These Snowfields last all summer and so do challenges navigating them.
5/24/15
Seattle Park
Tolmie Peak 4 Snow-free until you reach the Eunice Lake Basin where the snow depth ranges from 0 to 2 feet. A few very small patches of snow on the upper trail to the Tolmie Lookout. 5/25/15

Trails in the Longmire Area
The main road to Longmire is OPEN year round. All backcountry camping requires a permit. Obtain backcountry camping permit daily at the Longmire Wilderness Information Center or the Paradise Visitor Center.

Trail Name

% Snow Cover

Trail Conditions

Update

Summary
Carter Falls (from Cougar Rock Campground) 0 The crossing is in over the Nisqually River at the trailhead. 5/18/15
Comet Falls Trail (Van Trump Park Trail) 0/5 The trail to the falls is snow-free. Beyond the falls to Van Trump Park, the trail is 5% snow-covered. Easy to miss junction signs in snow drifts. 5/22/15
Denman Falls Trail 0 5/25/15
Eagle Peak Trail 3 Areas of snow remain in the last 1/2 mile approach to the saddle. Use caution once at the saddle. 5/3/15
Goat Lake Trail (Glacier View Wilderness) No report 5/6/15
Kautz Creek Trail 20 Snow-covered in the last mile 3/12/15
Lake George & Gobblers Knob Trail 0 5/21/15
Mildred Point Trail
Mirror Lakes Trail 25 Patchy snow on the trail. The trail is very muddy and there is standing water. 5/25/15
Narada Falls Trail (Paradise to viewpoint below Narada Falls) 10 5/26/15
North Puyallup River Trail 0 5/18/15
Rampart Ridge Loop Trail 0 5//6/15
Rampart Ridge Trail (Upper section from Wonderland Trail to Van Trump Park and Comet Falls) 1 . 5/22/15
Round Pass Trail 0 5/18/15
Saint Andrews Creek Trail 0 5/18/15
South Puyallup River Trail
0 5/18/15
Trail of the Shadows 0 3/12/15
Twin Firs Trail 0 4/9/15


Trails in the Ohanapecosh Area
All backcountry camping requires a permit. Obtain permits at the White River Ranger Station.

Trail Name

% Snow Cover

Trail Conditions

Update

Summary
Cowlitz Divide Trail (Olallie Creek Trail) 20 . 5/18/15
Eastside Trail 10 Remaining snow is above the Cayuse Pass trailhead. Navigation can be difficult through the snow, especially above treeline. 5/23/15
Grove of the Patriarchs Trail 0 5/6/15
Laughingwater Creek Trail
Pacific Crest Trail Unknown 5/25/15
Shriner Peak Trail 2 Water sources are low, and will likely go dry before July. 5/25/15
Silver Falls Trail 0 5/6/15

Trails in the Paradise Area
The main road to Longmire is OPEN year round. During winter months, the road from Longmire to Paradise closes nightly at the gate at Longmire. Check twitter for daily road status updates. All backcountry camping requires a permit. Obtaining backcountry camping permits daily at the Longmire Information Center.

Trail Name

% Snow Cover

Trail Conditions

Update

Summary Most trails at Paradise are snow-covered, one to three feet. 5/23/15
Alta Vista Trail
Dead Horse Creek Trail
Fourth Crossing Trail
Glacier Vista Trail
Golden Gate Trail
High Lakes Loop Trail 10 5/25/15
Lakes Trail (Mazama Ridge)
Moraine Trail
Nisqually Vista Trail

60

The route is marked with poles. 5/19/15
Paradise Glacier Trail
Pebble Creek Trail (to the base of the Muir Snowfield)
Pinnacle Peak Trail 15 Most of the remaining snow is in the last 1/2 mile before the saddle. Always use caution when crossing snow-covered slopes. 5/25/15
Skyline Trail 80 5/25/15
Snow Lake/Bench Lake Trail 0 5/21/15
Stevens Creek Trail 0 525/15

Trails in the White River Area
All backcountry camping requires a permit. Obtain permits at the White River Ranger Station, located at the entrance.

Trail Name

% Snow Cover

Trail Conditions

Update

Summary
Burroughs Mountain Trail To First Burroughs
First Burroughs Mountain LOOP Trail
Burroughs Mountain to Glacier Basin Trail
Crystal Lakes Trail 0/20 The trail is 20% snow-covered from the lower lake to the upper lake. 5/18/15
Crystal Peak Trail
Emmons Moraine Trail
Glacier Basin Trail
Grand Park Trail (via Northern Loop Trail)
Huckleberry Creek Trail
Lake Eleanor Trail
Mt. Fremont Trail
Naches Peak Trail 75 The NPS side of the loop is about 50% snow-covered. The PCT side of the loop is about 95% snow-covered. There are steep snow-covered slopes on much of the route. Use extreme caution if you choose to hike the trail. Navigation is difficult for long stretches. 5/24/15
Northern Loop Trail: Berkeley Park to Windy Gap
Owyhigh Lakes Trail (from White River Road) 3 A few patches of snow for about 1/3 mile after you pass the lakes, then snow-free all the way to the trailhead on Highway 123. 5/25/15
Owyhigh Lakes Trail (from Highway 123) 0 5/25/15
Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) NORTH form Chinook Pass to Sourdough Gap. 0 5/25/15
Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) SOUTH from Chinook Pass
Palisades Lakes Trail
Silver Forest Trail
Sourdough Ridge Trail West (Sunrise to Frozen Lake)
Sourdough Ridge Trail East (Sunrise to Sunrise Point)
Sunrise Rim Trail
Tipsoo Lake Trail

Wonderland Trail
All backcountry camping requires a permit.

Trail Name

% Snow Cover

Trail Conditions

Update

Summary .
Longmire to Indian Henry's 10 Patchy snow start just after Devil's Dream Camp and continues through the meadows. The trail is very muddy and wet. Navigation is not an issue. 5/25/15
Indian Henry's to South Puyallup River 7 The trail is snow-free starting 1/2 mile north of the patrol cabin at Indian Henry's all the way to the prow on Emerald Ridge. The patchy snow, then snow-free to South Puyallup. 5/25/15
South Puyallup River to Klapatche Park 60 5/21/15
Klapatche Park to North Puyallup River
North Puyallup River to Golden Lakes
Golden Lakes to South Mowich River
South Mowich River to Mowich Lake 0 5/15/15
Mowich Lake to Ipsut Creek Campground 0 5/16/15
Ipsut Creek Campground to Carbon Glacier 0 5/18/15
Carbon Glacier to Mystic Lake
Mystic Lake to Sunrise
Sunrise to White River Campground
White River Campground to Summerland 5 Snow-free to the base of the switchbacks below Summerland. The switchbacks are 75% snow-covered. 5/25/15
Summerland to Indian Bar
Indian Bar to Box Canyon Snow-free from the junction with the Cowlitz Divide trail to Box Canyon. 5/26/15
Box Canyon to Reflection Lakes

0

There are numerous slides that have damaged the trail below Martha Falls. Attempting to cross these slides is not recommended. The bridge is out just west of the Maple Creek Camp, but crossing is easy... shin to knee deep. 5/25/15
Reflection Lakes to Narada Falls 0 5/21/15
Narada Falls to Longmire 0 5/17/15


Carbon Area Backcountry Camps
The road to Ipsut Creek Campground is closed at the park entrance, secondary to flood damage in 2006. All backcounrty camping requires a permit. Obtain Wilderness Permits at Carbon River just inside the entrance to the park.

Camp Name

% Snow Cover

Camp Conditions

Update

# of Individual/Group sites are show as #I/G, (elevation)
Summary

The road to Ipsut Creek is CLOSED. The hike is 5 miles from the Carbon River Entrance to Ipsut Creek Campground, which is now managed as a wilderness camp and requires a wilderness permit. There is a new Ranger Station located about 2 miles before the Carbon River entrance. This is the place to get permits and information for the Carbon/Mowich area.The Ranger Station at the entrance is no longer in operation.

Carbon River Camp #4/1 (3195')

0 The bridge over Cataract Creek, as you approach the Carbon River Camp, is out. Fording this creek is not advised. 5/13/15
Cataract Valley Camp #6/1 (4620')
Dick Creek Camp #2/0 (4185')
Eagle's Roost Camp #7/0 (4885')
Ipsut Creek #12/1 (2400')
Mowich Lake Walk-in Camp (4900')
Mystic Camp #7/1 (5570')
South Mowich River Camp #3/1 (2605')


Longmire/Paradise Area Backcountry Camps
All backcountry camping requires a permit. Obtain Wilderness Camping permits daily at the Longmire Wilderness Information Center, the Longmire Museum (open year-round) or The Paradise Visitor Center.

Camp Name

% Snow Cover

Camp Conditions

Update

# of Individual/Group sites are show as #I/G, (elevation)
Summary
Devil's Dream Camp #7/1 (5060') 0 Bear poles up, toilet open. 5/25/15
Golden Lakes Camp #5/1 (5130')
Klapatche Park Camp #4/0 (5515')
Lake George Camp #5/1 (4320') 0 Bear poles up, toilet is open. 5/24/15
Maple Creek Camp #4/1 (2815') 0 Bear poles up. Toilet open. Bridge is out at the camps site, but easy crossing. 5/25/15
North Puyallup River Camp #3/1 (3750')
Paradise River Camp #3/1 (3805') 0 Standing water in the group site. The other sites are rather muddy. 5/17/15
Pyramid Creek Camp #2/0 (3765') 0 Bear pole up, toilet open. 5//25/15
Snow Lake Camp #2/0 (4690') 0 The bear pole is up, toilet open 5/23/15
South Puyallup River Camp #4/1 (4000') 0 5/18/15


Eastside Backcountry Camps
All backcountry camps require a permit.

Camp Name

% Snow Cover

Camp Conditions

Update

# of Individual/Group sites are show as #I/G, (elevation)
Summary
Berkeley Park Camp #2/1 (5375')
Deer Creek Camp #2/0 (2950') 0 5/16/15
Dick's Lake Camp #1/0 (5675')
Fire Creek Camp #3/1 (4300')
Forest Lake Camp #1/0 (5660')
Glacier Basin Camp #5/1 (5965')

Granite Creek #3/1 (5765')


Indian Bar #4/1 (5120')
James Camp #3/1 (4620')
Lake Eleanor Camp #3/1 (5000')
Lower Crystal Lake Camp #2/0 (5450')
Nickel Creek Camp #3/1 (3385') 0 Bear pole is up. 5/25/15
Olallie Creek Camp #2/1 (3940')
Shriner Peak Camp #2/0 (5355') 50 Bear pole is up, 5/25/15
Summerland Camp #5/1 (5940') 40 Bear poles are up. 5/25/15
Sunrise Walk-In Camp #8/2 (6245')
Tamanos Creek Camp #4/2 (5270')
Three Lakes Camp #2/1 (4680')
Upper Crystal Lake Camp #2/0 (5825') 25 Bear pole is up. toilet open. 5/25/15
Upper Palisades Lake Camp #2/0 (5835')
White River Walk-in Camp #3/1 (4300')
Yellowstone Cliffs Camp #2/0 (5180')

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