September 11, 2011
Our hike started on the Wonderland Trail where it crosses Sunrise Park Road. We then did an out and back to Indian Bar Camp.
Mt. Rainier — NW – Carbon River / Mowich Mt. Rainier National Park
View Indian Bar via the Wonderland Trail in a larger map
Take Rt. 167 to Rt. 410 East towards Greenwater, (this is your last chance for supplies). After about 17 miles you’ll take a slight right onto Sunrise Park Road. Pay your toll at the gate and continue until you cross over the White River. Park in the lot right after the bridge, the trail head is on the left.
Guide books and Maps:
Green Trails Plain, WA #270
Fees or Passes:
National Park/Refuge entry fee required
Roundtrip: 19.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 5210′
Highest Point: 6800′
The trail is in very good condition. The lower sections of trail are dry and dusty. Most all streams are flowing and water is easily found. You’ll hit your first snow about a half mile from Panhandle Saddle. After that you spend a lot of time either on snow or rocks for the most part. As you start down in earnest to Indian Bar Camp the trail becomes dirt again and is dry.
What to expect:
You can expect a lot of people up until Summer Land and a bit beyond. Most people do not go past Panhandle Gap. The trail starts flat and smooth, and I mean smooth. Water bars are the only bumps. Shortly the trail starts uphill as you hike along Fryingpan Creek. You’ll get a few views of the creek and some falls but for the most part the trail stays well inside the dense forest.
As you exit the woods you cross a Fryingpan Creek and switchback uphill gaining elevation fast finally reaching Summer Land. The views will amaze you and tempt you to push on. If you do the scenery changes to more of a moonscape type of atmosphere. The trees and grasses give way to rocks, lecithin, dirt, and wild flowers. Be ready to hike on snow from time to time, it lingers all year up here. After a few miles of traversing up and down the trail drops enough elevation that you get back to grasslands and trees. It’s at this point the trail drops a 1000′ to Indian Bar Camp. The descent is filled with lupin, Indian Paint Brush and more. You might even see goats, marmots, and mountain birds as we did.
Local Groups/Clubs/Bike Shop:
Get out there!