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This trail leads seven miles northeastward from the Stevens Canyon Road at Box Canyon to Indian Bar Camp. It gains approximately 2,900 feet in elevation as it climbs from the Nickel Creek Valley to Cowlitz Divide, then ascends along the divide on the Wonderland Trail. The rewards of this climb include miles of ridge-walking through alpine meadows with views of the southeastern side of Mount Rainier. It is generally snow-free late July through September.

The route begins along Stevens Canyon Road at Box Canyon, elevation 3050 feet. The first mile of track is easy walking on a moderate grade to Nickel Creek. At Nickel Creek are primitive camping sites, elevation 3,300 feet, along the stream and on the far bank. A half mile east of the camp is a small creek, which is the last water source before Indian Bar.

From Nickel Creek the route climbs steadily, using switchbacks, up the eastern side of the drainage to reach the crest of the Cowlitz Divide. During the mile and a half to the ridge crest the track ascends nearly 1,200 feet. Hikers will reach a junction once atop the ridge. The abandoned Backbone Ridge Trail leads southward along the ridge line and the Cowlitz Divide Trail leads into the Ohanapecosh River Valley on the opposite side of the divide.

The Wonderland Trail leads northward along the ridge line of the Cowlitz Divide to Indian Bar Camp. Turn left at the trail intersection atop the ridge and continue ascending. The first three quarters of a mile along the ridge climb through dense forest. Beyond that point the forest begins to open. At the end of the next mile you're walking a treeless ridge with great views of the surrounding features. The crest hike reaches a high point of 5,930 feet, three and a quarter miles after gaining the Wonderland Trail. At this point Mount Rainier lies slightly northwestward, consumes the western landscape and all attention. Looking directly eastward you'll see Shriner Peak across the Ohanapecosh River Valley. From this knoll the trail drops 800 feet, in less than a mile, to reach Indian Bar at 5,120 feet.

The camp lies within a lush subalpine meadow divided by the Ohanapecosh River. There are three sites available for primitive camping at this site and a shelter. The cabin lies on the west side of the river, and contains several bunks to accommodate a group.

Indian Bar is a great place to camp as it is surrounded by interesting features and outstanding landscapes. To the west of the trail, at the valley head, are small remnants of the Ohanapecosh Glacier. In early summer numerous waterfalls splash down the lava cliffs above the camp. Wauhaukaupauken Falls lies along the Ohanapecosh River immediately south of the camping area.

The trail continues northward from Indian Bar, crossing snow field and providing excellent views of the surrounding mountains. It eventually reaches Summer Land and Summerland Camp entering the Fryingpan Creek drainage. The route ends on White River Road approximately 17 miles from the Stevens Canyon Trailhead.

Directions: From Longmire - Paradise Road, Drive along Stevens Canyon Road east 11 miles to the parking lot at Box Canyon. Find the signed gravel trail directly across the highway from the parking area. Do not take the paved nature trail by mistake.

Elevation: 3,050 feet

Ending Elevation: 5,120 feet

Usage: Heavy

Difficulty: Moderate

 
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Address:
Mount Rainier National Park, Washington


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The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

Review by Wildernet Copyright © 2010 Wildernet.com all rights reserved.

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