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South Puyallup To Wonderland

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There are 6 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Emerald Ridge, Westside Road, South Puyallup To Wonderland — Oct 26, 2013 — Stephen
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail
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Beautiful day at Mt. Rainier. Didn't see a single person until later afternoon on my way back down t...
Beautiful day at Mt. Rainier. Didn't see a single person until later afternoon on my way back down the Westside road. I wanted to try the loop to Emerald Ridge but I had issues following the Tahoma Creek trail. So I gave up and returned to the Westside road and took it all the way to the Round Pass trail then onto to the South Puyallup trail and finally onto the Wonderland trail. The last mile or so to Emerald Ridge was a rocky slog. Perhaps the many miles of road walking and not getting the big payoff until almost the very end is why not many people take this hike. Views of the mountain were awesome. It's sad to see the glaciers disappearing but on the bright side you get to the complete devastation they leave behind. Saw some goats on the opposite side of the valley. Didn't hit snow until the last half mile or so. It was a little slippy and I had my microspikes so I used them but I'm sure most would just go it boots. It was a long day but the solitude and views were great. Looks like Seattle was socked in again so getting out to the mountain was definitely the right call.
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Tahoma Creek, Wonderland, South Puyallup To Wonderland — Oct 11, 2012 — George & Sally
Day hike
Features: Fall foliage
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Left home at 6 AM and got to the Nisqually entrance of Mt. Rainier NP just after 8 AM. No rangers on...
Left home at 6 AM and got to the Nisqually entrance of Mt. Rainier NP just after 8 AM. No rangers on duty when I went by the fee booth as I headed for the Westside Road. One of the perks of being an older hiker is the Senior Pass, so didn't have to pay the day fee. I parked near the gate at MP 3 and headed up the road to the Tahoma Creek Trail and a loop hike on this sunny day. The road has been closed since 1990 due to repeated road damage. About 1/4 mile up the road is where you first see why the road is closed. To ford a creek you would need a four-wheel drive with high clearance to get across. I walked through an area of old growth dead trees before getting to a section of the Tahoma Creek that is right next to the road. You can see how the road keeps getting washed out during the spring runoff. The start of the Tahoma Creek trail has a sign saying that it is not maintained. About 90% of the trail is in good shape and people have been maintaining it. Part of the trail is down in the creek bed and easy to follow. There are three sections where the hillside had washed out and the trail is gone. In those parts a way trails have been built up and around the washouts, but they are very steep on loose rock and dirt. Once I got up the the Wonderland Trail, I went a short distance south to the suspension bridge across Tahoma Creek. I took some photos and had a snack break before going north on the WT.

I hiked up Emerald Ridge on the WT and found a good rock to sit on for lunch with nice views of the west side of Mt. Rainier. It looks much different then the scenes we see from Paradise or Sunrise. This side of the mountain is much more rocky with the Tahoma Glacier in view. After lunch I hiked the WT over Emerald Ridge with great views along the way. Starting back down I found part of the WT is washing away down to the South Puyallap River far below, so I found a trail that goes around a knoll, then back down through a meadow to rejoin the WT. A much safer route. The WT heads down to the bridge crossing of the South Puyallup River near one of the backpacker campsites. Part of this section of the WT is steep and with a lot of loose rock. When I got to the campsite, I took the South Puyallup Trail through old growth forest that heads west to the Westside Road. Along the way I past the tall colonnades of columnar andesite. These hexagon columns were formed when hot lava flowed into the valley with the patten formed because of shrinkage during cooling. I got to another trail junction and took the Round Pass Trail up to Round Pass at the Westside Road. At the pass I walked over and read the Marine Memorial plaque from a plane crash on the South Tahoma Glacier back on December 10, 1946 where all 32 on board died. From the pass, it was the long walk back down the road to the gate. The upper part of the road is in good shape, it is just the section near Tahoma Creek that keeps it closed.

Since the Westside Road has been closed for 22 years, I wondered why the park service never install a restroom at the parking area by the gate for hikers, backpackers and climbers who use the trails on the west side of the park. It sure could use one.

Treking poles were handy on this hike for the steep sections of the Tahoma Creek Trail and the Wonderland Trail up by Emerald Ridge. Met a few other people out on this nice day, a couple backpacking on the WT, a young gal backpacking who I met at Round Pass and a couple out on the day hike on the Westside Road. Only saw one chipmunk and one squirrel on the hike. The vine and big leaf maples are turning color. Lots of different views of the mountains at several points along the way.

Stats for the loop hike, 13.6 miles, 3,300' gain and 3,100' loss. George

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South Puyallup To Klapatche, Lake George, Gobblers Knob, South Puyallup To Wonderland — Sep 17, 2012 — zhong
Multi-night backpack
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9/17-19. Overnight Monday at Lake George, and Tuesday at Klapatche Park. Good thing about weekday hi...
9/17-19. Overnight Monday at Lake George, and Tuesday at Klapatche Park. Good thing about weekday hike is that it's easy to get these wilderness permits.

Westside Road to Round Pass (~3.8 miles) is bike-able, especially coming back. All it takes is gravity. The road is rough only on a few spots, especially at about a few minutes in, a log was used to let the foot passengers through. I pushed my bike in water. Good it was not deep and it was short. Even though the grade is gentle, I pretty much pushed my bike rather than ride it all the way to Round Pass.

At Round Pass, there's a bike rack. My bike is the only one there. Behind the rack is the trail head to Lake George. 5 individual sites, 1 group site, 1 bear pole, 1 shelter. Not really any view of the lake from the camp sites, nor much view of Mt Rainier (trees blocking most of it).

Gobbler's Knob is excellent. 360 degree view. Well worth going. Only 1.6 miles from Lake George.

South Puyallup camping area is next to some interesting rock formation. But the river is too muddy to cook with.

St Andrews' Lake is probably half of its max size. Aurora Lake has only little water left, with grass floating on it. Undrinkable. I cooked my dinner and breakfast at St Andrews' Lake. On the other side of St Andrews' Lake, a trail goes up to a butte for a good view.

Klapatche Park has 4 sites. Very nice. Close to the trail. Sitting on the log by the campsite at night and watching the fading Mt Rainier and myriad of stars is my best time of the hike, or arguably one of the best backpacking experiences.
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Wonderland, South Puyallup To Wonderland, Wonderland Trail - Box Canyon to Indian Bar, Wonderland Trail - Mowich to Longmire, Wonderland Trail - Stevens Canyon — Aug 31, 2012 — Weluv2hike.
Multi-night backpack
Features: Wildflowers blooming | Ripe berries
Issues: Overgrown | Mud/Rockslide | Water on trail | Snow on trail | Bugs
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Entered in on 8/23 out on the 8/31. 96 miles give or take a few depending on what book or where you ...
Entered in on 8/23 out on the 8/31. 96 miles give or take a few depending on what book or where you get info. Started at white river to indian bar camp. There was snow after leaving summerland up thru the gap and in places down to indian bar. Trail easy to follow. A very cold night at of the most beautiful places at Mt Rainier. We went from indian bar to maple creek camp..trail in good cond, very easy to follow. Maple creek was one of all of our fav camps..warmer (lower elev), easy water, no bugs. Went from Maple creek camp to lonmire(we stayed the night at the lodge) and got our caches. Great weather for the first 3 days. From longmire we went to devils dream camp, low mile day but allowed us to sleep in and eat a big breakfast. Trail in good cond, alot of bugs at camp, water was easy... right by camp. There were a few sick people here at camp, one we helped into camp..he was going to turn around in next morning and head back to longnire. Went from devils dream to klapatchee park camp. The trail from devils dream to klapatchee was in good cond, alot of elev gain and loss, hard work this day. Camp at klapatchee was was beautiful..very, very windy and cold. We got our water from saint andrews lake, vs aroura lake.. no outlet. We went from klapatchee to golden lakes..trail in good cond. camp at golden lakes was nice, it rained on us and was a very cold night, water at lakes. Golden lakes to mowich camp ground, trail in good cond. This was by far the coldest night ..frost in the morning. We picked up our caches this day..were very excited for them. Went from mowich to carbon river camp, trail in good cond. alot of travel in this camp to and from toilet, water etc. a few bugs here. So we only got rained on 1 day ( night) Next morning went from carbon river and were scheduled to camp at granite creek..but we decided to hike the rest of the way out. went from carbon river camp, to sunrise for burgers and then from there back to white river. Trail from carbon to granite creek was alot of hard work alot of elev gain. from granite creek back to white river trail good and great views. Saw a bear at sunrise, close to sky scraper pass. All bridges are in so no ford rivers.
The trail overall is in great shape. Alot of the camps were not full, talked with a ranger and they said alot of people drop out, etc. Word on the trail was a resident bear at mystick lake and alot of bears at sunrise camp. All 4 of us had a great times, struggles and where able to see so much.
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Westside Road, South Puyallup To Klapatche, South Puyallup To Wonderland, Gobblers Knob — Aug 25, 2011 — brimworks
Multi-night backpack
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Overgrown | Snow on trail | Bugs
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On Thursday we drove to Longmire to get permits for a two night hike. Unfortunately, our desired ca...
On Thursday we drove to Longmire to get permits for a two night hike. Unfortunately, our desired campsites (Klapatche Park and South Puyallup River) where booked, so we settled on spending our first night at North Puyallup River and our second night at Lake George.

This demanded us to hike 10.6 miles from the Westside Road trail head to the North Puyallup River via the old Westside Road, with the exception of taking Round Pass Trail, and a small detour to Denham falls which broke up the monotony of road hiking. In fact, I was surprised to find out that the North Puyallup River campsite is built on the old road bed. This meant the entire trail was gradual elevation gains and losses. The only difficulties was a small 1 mile section of the North Puyallup Trail which was overgrown. Apparently the trail crew that was "mowing" down this section of trail stopped 2/3rds of the way in. Even though I was in shorts, I didn't get beat up to badly, and it certainly wasn't bad enough to require a machete.

The North Puyallup River Campground is in a bit of a "hole" which means it doesn't get a lot of sunlight and GPS signals are weak. That night we had two other groups that where doing the full wonderland trail camping with us.

The next morning was our most difficult day. ~2,000 feet of elevation gain hiking 2.8 miles (but on my GPS watch it thought it was only 2 miles) up to Klapatche Park. This hill is all north facing which made it nice and cool. We encountered a few snow patches, but nothing to bad. At the top, the view was absolutely stunning! The alpine meadows meld with alpine lakes and spectacular Mt. Rainier vistas. This is what we came to soak in, so we dilly-dallied and ate lunch between Klapatche Park and St. Andrews Lake, but at last, it was getting close to 2PM and we still had a good 7 miles of hiking to do, so we descended the ridge and went to the South Puyallup Campground. Between St. Andrews Lake and the South Puyallup campground there are a few tricky snow fields where you can get lost if you are not paying attention... and if it had been icy, I would have felt much less comfortably traversing these sections.

At the South Puyallup campground we had to say goodbye to the wonderland trail and hike the South Puyallup Trail to Rounds Pass, then Rounds Pass to Gobblers Knob trail and camp at Lake George. There is some nice columnar basalt not more than 0.1 miles off the wonderland trail. This is a very beautiful rock formation, and definitely a worthwhile diversion if you are planning on sticking to the wonderland trail.

We got into Lake George at about 5PM, set-up camp and ate dinner. From Lake George, the view of Mt. Rainier is obscured by trees, but it does give you a taste of what the vista is like from Gobblers Knob. So, I put on my sandals and hiked the 1,000 feet of elevation/1.6 miles up to Gobblers Knob as fast as I could so there would be enough sunlight to get back off the Knob before sunset. This took me about 40 minutes at a brisk pace. There are a few snow fields along this trail. One snow field is over the outlet of a very small lake. Be careful to traverse over the snow covered bridge to avoid falling into the creek.

The view at Gobblers Knob was arguably the best view of Mt. Rainier all day. Up at Klapatche Park you are almost "to close" to the mountain, but the view from Gobblers Knob is still close enough to be "in your face".

The next morning we hiked back out to the Westlake Road trail head in under 2 hours.

Note that bugs are an issue everywhere, so be sure to bring DEET.
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South Puyallup To Wonderland, Wonderland, Indian Henry's Hunting Ground, Emerald Ridge, Westside Road — Jul 18, 2009 — Mountain Mary
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Bugs
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We did a one-way day hike from the West Side Road/Round Pass/S. Puyallup Trail/Wonderland Trail to E...
We did a one-way day hike from the West Side Road/Round Pass/S. Puyallup Trail/Wonderland Trail to Emerald Ride/Indian Henry’s Hunting Ground/Longmire (19 miles, 4700’). West side road is in decent shape. Parked at gate and hiked up the washed out areas. They have done quite a bit of work on the washed out areas and easy hiking.

South Puyallup Trail is washed out at several places, but easy to follow. Once you leave S Puyallup, there will not be a reliable water source until you almost reach Indian Henry's.

Emerald Ridge views were stunning. Suspension bridge (Tahoma Creek) as delightful as always. Not for those afraid of heights though! and no water source as the bridge is quite a distance above the chasm.

Snow patches approaching and around Indian Henrys - trail easy to follow and snow well consolidated. Goodly amount of mud! Fields of avalanche lilies out in wild abundance.

Bridge at Katz Creek is in. Kudos to trail maintaince/building crew at Mt Rainer Park service. Bugs between Katz Creek and Longmire were out and hungry!

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Mt. Rainier -- NW - Carbon River / Mowich

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