The trail to Glacier Basin leads along the Inter Fork of the White River for three and a half miles at a mild grade. The route ends at Glacier Basin Camp, from which climbers access trail lead westward to the summit of Mt. Rainier. This trail is heavily used by campers in the late summer. It can be accessed from the Sunrise area via Burroughs Mountain Trail.
This route begins from the D loop of White River Campground, at an elevation of 4,350 feet. It follows an abandoned mining road that was used in the late 1800s for copper mining at the head of the valley. The trail ascends gradually along the northern bank of the Inter Fork for most of the route. One mile from the trailhead is a fork in the track. The trail leading to the left is the Emmons Moraine Trail. It leads along the northern side of the moraine left by the largest glacier in the contiguous United States.
Continuing along the main trail the route climbs steadily. In the next mile and a half the trail gains 800 feet. Approximately two and a half miles from the trailhead is the junction with the Burroughs Mountain Trail. This route ascends steeply out of the Inter Fork valley to the Burroughs Mountain ridge. Shortly beyond the trail junction lies the remains of the sawmill and power plant of the copper mine. The mining road ends here and from this point westward the tread follows a steeper trail into Glacier Basin. One mile beyond the mine site the maintained route ends.
Glacier Basin Camp lies on the northern side of the trail. It is often filled with mountaineers who use this as their base camp. A climbers' access trail leads west from Glacier Basin Camp. A climber's track continues past Glacier Basin camp, passing through an area of fragile wetland plants to the base of the Inter Glacier. Please stay on the trail to protect the vegetation. Glacier Basin, look for mountain goats on the surrounding slopes and climbers ascending the Inter Glacier to Steamboat Prow.
Backpacking campsites at Glacier Basin are popular with climbers who are beginning their ascent of Mount Rainier. The sites are located in the trees as one approaches the open meadows of the basin. Permits are required for camping. Permits and current trail conditions are available park-wide from Wilderness Information Centers, Ranger Stations, Visitor Centers and on our web site. Fires are prohibited. No pets on trails. Treat water before drinking.
Directions: From White River Entrance, Drive west five miles on White River Road to the White River Campground. Be sure to park in the hiker/climber parking area and not in a campsite. The trail begins at the upper end of the campground.
Elevation: 4,350 feet
Ending Elevation: 6,000 feet
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Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
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