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Mount Rainier National Park, WA

Sep 3 - Sep 10, 2022 -- $1400 ★★★, Only 1 Spot 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. Fatpacking 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 Southeastern Corner of the park, largely on the famed Wonderland Trail. 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 of Tahoma itself. 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 Southern portion of the park at Longmire Ranger Station. We’ll quickly leave civilization behind as we head up to reflections lakes which you have probably seen photos of. The perpetually snowy Rainier summit will be our constant companion to the North and West as we head up above tree line to Indian Bar and Summerland, before dropping back down to Fryingpan Creek.

Here is a topo map or our route.


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

Probable Trip Leaders

Steve Silberberg
Holly Chambers


$1400 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, GPS, and 2 awesome guides.

Important Notes

Although we are allowed a group size of up to 12, the National Park is concerned about campsite crowding impacts and prefers us to have only 6 tents. This means that if our group size exceeds 6, they'd prefer us to start doubling up in tents. We can address this by making sure that each participant's tent is small and for one person only in order to fit into campsite boundaries.

In 2020, the park relaxed their requirements due to Covid and may continue to do so in 2022. You are still encouraged to double up even though this forced closeness can be less pleasant, but it does make pack weight lighter and was not a problem at all on the 2015 or 2019 trips. Expect a ranger to check up on the group some time during the trip to make sure we're adhering to Leave No Trace and Park Regulations.

Mt. Rainier is normally one of Fatpacking's more difficult, advanced, and rewarding trips. However on this trip, Daily hiking distances are kept low making it more accessible to a greater number of hikers. 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, September 3, 2022

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 local hotel Comfort Inn & Suites Sea-Tac Airport, 19333 International Blvd, Seatac, WA, 98188, (206) 878-1100

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

Go to REI Tukwila to pick up any equipment participants forgot

"Before" body composition measurements taken

Make Your Own Trail mix from a wide variety of ingredients we provide

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

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Second set of "before" measurements taken

Free hotel breakfast

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

Shuttle to Mt. Rainier National Park, Longmire Ranger Station, picking up backcountry permits there

Begin hiking at Longmire, elevation 2790'

Hike 3.5 miles on the Wonderland Trail to Paradise River Campsite, elevation 3805'

Camp at Paradise River Campsite, elevation 3805'

Miles today: 4.3. Total miles: 4.3

Possible bailout: Stevens Canyon (Park) Road

Monday, September 5, 2022

Hike 2.1 miles on the Wonderland Trail to Reflection Lakes, elevation 4859'

Hike 4.3 miles on the Wonderland Trail to Maple Creek Campsite, elevation 2815'

Camp at Maple Creek Campsite, elevation 2815'

Miles today: 6.4. Total miles: 10.7

Possible bailout: Stevens Canyon (Park) Road

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Hike 3.6 miles to the Nickel Creek Campsite, elevation 3385'

Camp at Nickel Creek Campsite, elevation 3385'

Miles today: 3.6. Total miles: 14.3

Possible bailout: Stevens Canyon (Park) Road

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Hike 1.8 miles tough uphill miles on the Wonderland Trail to the Cowlitz Divide Trail, elevation 4760'

Hike 4.6 miles on the Wonderland Trail to Indian Bar Campsite, elevation 5024'

Camp at Indian Bar Campsite, elevation 5024'

Miles today: 6.4. Total miles: 20.7

Possible bailout: Stevens Canyon (Park) Road

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Hike 4.5 miles possibly across snowfileds to Summerland Camp, elevation 5998'

Camp at Summerland Campsite, elevation 5998'

Miles today: 4.5. Total miles: 25.2

Possible bailout: One day away

Friday, September 9, 2022

Hike 4.2 downhill miles on the Wonderland Trail to Fryingpan Creek Trailhead, elevation 3793'

End of hiking

Miles today: 4.2. Total miles: 29.4

Possible bailout: White River

Shuttle back to Seattle and check into local hotel Comfort Inn & Suites Sea-Tac Airport, 19333 International Blvd, Seatac, WA, 98188, (206) 878-1100

"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 10, 2022

Free Hotel Breakfast

Free airport shuttle

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