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Mount Rainier National Park, WA

Aug 31 - Sep 7, 2019 -- $1350 ★★★★, Only 2 Spots Left

The beauty of Mt. Rainier National Park will leave you speechless. Whether it's the alpine lakes, temperate rainforest full of ancient conifers, charismatic megafauna, redolent lupines and other wildflowers, active glaciers, wild berry picking, or the massive monolithic mountain itself, Mt. Rainier is simply awe-inspiring.

Mt. Rainier National Park awards only 5 commercial backpacking permits every year. Fitpacking has been awarded one of them, so this is one of your few chances to participate in a guided backpacking trip to this destination.

This trip will traverse the Eastern portion of the famed Wonderland Trail and other parts of the park that are seldom traveled. On our 6-day hike, we may encounter elk, deer, eagles, pikas, black bear, mountain goats and marmots with a backdrop of incredible sweeping vistas and even an active glacier. Experience the timeless wonder of Mt. Rainier with us during the fleeting, relatively dry and bug free temperate season.

Our journey will begin in the Southeast of the park at the Ohanpecosh Campground, where thermal activity percolates warm water from the ground. We’ll leave civilization behind as we head up Ollalie Creek and embark upon the Wonderland Trail. The perpetually snowy Rainier summit will be our constant companion to the West as we traverse the rain shadow of this amazing wilderenss. (Note: It may still rain of course). We then go to Indian Bar, Summerland and into White River before heading up to see a glacier at Glacier Basin.

See a Seattle Times articles about the Wonderland Trail (Article 1, Article 2)


Weather is always an important concern when hiking. Expect daytime hiking temperatures in the 60s and nighttime temperatures in the 40s. However, be prepared for the possibility of overnight temperatures as low as the 20s. During the 2008 trip, we woke up to several inches of snow on September 1st. By the afternoon however, it had all melted and by September 2nd (the next day) we were swimming in an alpine lake (although not for very long).

View 7 day weather forecast

Trip Leaders

Holly Chambers
Miles Gordon


$1350 per person double occupancy. Here, double occupancy means that you will share a room with another participant during the 2 hotel nights. You will also be responsible for transportation to and from Seattle / Sea-Tac (SEA), personal equipment, restaurant meals eaten off the trail and any gratuities for guides.

Covered expenses include 2 hotel nights, 6 days of trail meals, ground transportation, Park entrance fees, National Park permits, insurance, satellite phone, and 2 awesome guides.

Important Notes

This is our proposed route. The actual route will be determined by the Mt Rainier backcountry office sometime in the Spring. We may be awarded a reverse route or a route on another part of the mountain. That said, almost everywhere on Mt Rainier is beautiful.

Although we are allowed a group size of up to 12, the National Park only allows us to have 6 tents. If our group size is larger than 6, we must start doubling up in tents. Even though this forced closeness sounds unpleasant, it does make pack weight lighter and was not a problem at all on the 2015 trip.

Mt. Rainier is one of Fitpacking's more difficult, advanced, and rewarding trips. Daily hiking distances are moderate and the terrain is well groomed and well maintained, however very little of it is level. Most days are spent either ascending or descending thousands of feet, sometimes both. Furthermore, the mountain "makes its own weather" meaning that there could be high winds, rain or even snow at any time. Of course, it could also be sunny and crystal clear. And then there are the blueberries...

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Guides for this trip
Important Note
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Saturday, August 31, 2019

Fly into Seattle (SEA). The best arrival time is between 12PM - 3PM, but if you can save a significant amount of money by arriving a little before or after, you should do so.

Take free airport shuttle to Clarion Hotel Seattle Airport, 3000 S 176th St, SeaTac, WA 98188, 206-242-0200.

Equipment shakedown. We go through your pack and examine everything you brought.

Go to REI, Tukwila to pick up any equipment participants forgot

Trail mix distribution

"Before" body composition measurements taken

Go out for opening dinner, review trip orientation (cost of dinner not included in trip cost)

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Second set of "before" measurements taken

All the items that you won't bring on the trail will be set aside and put in storage.

Free hotel breakfast

Shuttle to Mt. Rainier National Park, Ohanapecosh Trailhead

Begin hiking at Ohanapecosh, elevation 2000'

Hike 1.5 miles to park road, elevation 2300'

Hike 2.8 miles to Olallie Creek Campsite

Camp at Olallie Creek Campsite, elevation 3940'

Miles today: 4.3. Total miles: 4.3

Possible bailout: Park Road

Monday, September 2, 2019

Hike 1.4 uphill miles to the Wonderland Trail, elevation 4700’

Hike 4.6 miles to Indian Bar, going up to Bald Rock elevation 5485', and returning to 5120'

Camp at Indian Bar Group Shelter, elevation 5120’

Miles today: 6.0. Total miles: 10.3

Possible bailout: Park Road between Paradise and 123

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Hike 4.5 miles to Summerland, elevation 5940'

Camp at Summerland Group Shelter, elevation 5940'

Miles today: 4.5. Total miles: 14.8

Possible bailout: No ideal options

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Hike 4.2 miles towards Fryingpan Creek Trailhead

Hike 1.5 miles on the Wonderland Trail to Park Road

Hike about 2.0 miles parallel to the road to White River Campground

Camp at White River backpacker's camp, elevation 4400'

Miles today: 7.7. Total miles: 22.5

Possible bailout: White River

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Hike 3.0 miles up Inter Fork to Burroughs Mountain Trail

Hike 0.6 miles up Inter Fork to Glacier Basin. See a glacier!

Hike 0.6 miles down Inter Fork to the Burroughs Mountain Trail

Hike 1.4 uphill miles to Burroughs Mountain, highest point of hike, elevation 7402'

Hike 2.4 miles to Sunrise Camp

Set up camp at Sunrise Camp

Camp at Sunrise Camp, elevation 6245'

Miles today: 8.0. Total miles: 30.5

Possible bailout: Sunrise or White River

Friday, September 6, 2019

Hike 3.4 downhill miles to White River Campround, end of hike

Miles today: 3.4. Total miles: 33.9

Possible bailout: White River

Take free airport shuttle to Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, 3100 South 192nd Street, SeaTac, WA 98188, 206-433-8188.

"After" measurements taken

Dinner and awards Ceremony (Dinner cost not included in trip cost)

This is the official end of the trip. You are welcome to spend the night at the hotel, however if you drove and would like to get on the road or if you flew and would like to schedule a late flight (or a red-eye if this is a West Coast trip) you can definitely do so.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Free Hotel Breakfast

Free airport shuttle

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