This trail begins along the Longmire - Paradise Road immediately north of the Kautz Creek Picnic Area. It leads along Kautz Creek for a short distance then crosses the stream and climbs northward out of the valley. In approximately five and a half miles the trail enters Indian Henry's Hunting Grounds. The total elevation gain to the trail terminus is 3,000 feet.
Begin this trek at the Kautz Creek Picnic Area. This site lies at 2,380 feet and contains interpretive panels about the Kautz Creek mudflow. Cross the road and follow the boardwalk to the trail beginning. The trail leads through the remains of the Kautz Creek flood for a mile as it follows the eastern side of the creek. This first portion of the trail is very flat.
A mile from the trailhead the track crosses Kautz Creek and begins the long ascent to the meadows below Mount Ararat. The trail climbs through old growth forest out of the Kautz Creek valley using switchbacks. Within two miles of the creek crossing the trail gains 2,080 feet. At this point the trail grade lessens as it leads through meadows separated by forested areas. This reprieve from climbing is short as the trail begins to ascend again within a half mile. This last short switchback brings hikers to the ridge crest south of Mount Ararat.
Once atop the ridge the trail levels and then descends slightly for the last mile to the Indian Henry Ranger Cabin and trail intersection. The elevation of this intersection is 5,360 feet. From this point on the ridge below Mount Ararat hikers can continue northward one mile to Mirror Lakes, small lakes which lie slightly south of the South Tahoma Glacier. The Wonderland Trail leads northwest (left) and southeast (right) from the Indian Henry Ranger Cabin.
Directions: From Nisqually Entrance, Drive east along the Longmire - Paradise Road 3.5 miles to the Kautz Creek Picnic Area. The trailhead is located across the road from the Kautz Creek Picnic Area. Follow the wood covered walkway for about 100 feet and the trail begins on the left side (observe the trailhead signs).
Elevation: 2,380 feet
Ending Elevation: 5,360 feet
Usage: Heavy on Summer Weekends
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