A notoriously tough trail encircling Mount Rainier, the Wonderland Trail challenges even the most experienced thru-hikers with its dramatic terrain up and over multiple mountain ridges. For those not interested in conquering Rainier as a mountaineer, it’s the next best thing. “I can’t think of a better way to experience a National Park,” says LaRuffa. “This is a wonderful trail with Appalachian Trail ups and downs and Pacific Crest Trail views.” Nearly 20 trailside campsites spaced about five miles apart provide convenient stopping points.
Time to Complete: 10-14 days
Terrain: Ranges from lowland forest to valley to alpine. Steep climbs and descents make pack weight a priority.
Best Segment You Can Do In a Day: Spray Park (7.5 miles round-trip), a trail through wildflower meadows, tops out at 6,400 feet and has some of the best views on the trail.
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