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Mount Rainier National Park

Saturday, August 31, 2024 - Saturday, September 7, 2024 -- $1750 ★★★★


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 so-called Northern Loop, much of it on the famed Wonderland Trail as well as other lightly-traveled parts of the park. On our 6-day hike, we may encounter elk, deer, eagles, pikas, black bear, mountain goats and marmots with a backdrop featuring incredible sweeping vistas of active glaciers or 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 Northeastern portion of the park at Sunrise Ranger Station, with a possible day-hike to Fremont Tower for vast, sweeping views of the park and its environs. We’ll leave civilization behind as we head up towards Burroughs Mountain and then to Berkeley Park Camp. The Northern Loop continues to James Lake and down to Carbon Glacier before returning on the Wonderland Trail with a next-to-last-day scramble up to Skyscraper Peak. The perpetually snowy Rainier summit will be our constant companion to the South and West.

Topographical Map of Proposed Route

See CalTopo map


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 and daytime temperatures reaching 80. 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

Julie Quibodeaux
Beau Devlin
Any Other Guide(s) TBD


Mt. Rainier is one of Fatpacking's more difficult, more advanced, and most rewarding trips. The terrain is well groomed and well maintained, although 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...


$1750 per person double occupancy. Here, double occupancy means that you will share a room with another participant during the 1 hotel night. 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 1 hotel night, 6 days of trail meals, ground transportation, Park entrance fees, National Park permits, GPS, and 2 awesome guides.

Tipping: In order to keep our prices competitive with (and hopefully favorable to) other outfitters, we shamefully can’t pay our guides as much as we think they deserve. Like most other guiding services, we rely on the generosity of our participants to make up this shortfall by tipping the guides. While tips are not required or expected, if your guides have served you well, please consider a gratuity so they can continue living their extravagant lifestyles of eating powdered meals, sleeping in the dirt and pooping in smelly outhouses and small holes they've dug.


This page shows 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 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 (one person only) in order to fit into campsite boundaries.

In 2021, the park relaxed their tenting requirements due to Covid and may continue to do so in 2023. We still officially 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.

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Guides for this trip
Important Note
Difficulty (Please Read)


Saturday, August 31, 2024

Fly into Seattle (SEA). The best arrival time is before 2PM, but if you can save a significant amount of money by arriving a little later, let us know so we can work out logistics.

Take free airport shuttle to local hotel

We will assemble at: Four Points by Sheraton Seattle Airport South, 22406 Pacific Hwy S, Des Moines, WA, 98198, (253) 642-0100.

Mini-equipment shakedown. Pre-Trip, you will have a virtual online shakedown to go through your pack and examine everything you brought to make sure you're outfitted sufficiently.

Go to REI Tukwila to pick up any equipment participants forgot

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

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

Review trip orientation

Shuttle to Mt. Rainier National Parkand pick up backcountry permits at the Ranger Station.

At around 3PM, shuttle to campsite: Silver Springs Campground, 68317 WA-410, Enumclaw, WA 98022. Site(s): 001 & 002 Elevation: 800'

Shuttling will take about 2 hours

Guides prepare dinner in camp. On some trips with longer shuttle times, we may opt to go out for an opening dinner at a local restaurant. (Cost of restaurant dinner not included in trip price)

Camp at Silver Springs Campground, 68317 WA-410, Enumclaw, WA 98022. Site(s): 001 & 002 Elevation: 800'

Sunday, September 1, 2024

Begin hiking at Sunrise, elevation 6245'

Hike 1.2 miles to the Wonderland Trail, elevation 6800'

Drop Packs and Day-Hike 2.6 round trip miles to Mt. Fremont Lookout Tower, elevation 7181'

Hike 0.7 miles to the Northern Loop Trail, elevation 6800'

Hike 1.2 miles on the Northern Loop Trail to Berkely Park Campsite, elevation 5375'

Camp at Berkeley Park Campsite, elevation 5375'

Miles today: 5.7. Total miles: 5.7

Possible bailout: Sunrise

Monday, September 2, 2024

Hike 8.8 miles to James Lake Camp, elevation 4620'

Camp at James Lake Camp, elevation 4620'.

Miles today: 8.8. Total miles: 14.5

Possible bailout: Sunrise, but it's pretty far

Tuesday, September 3, 2024

Hike about 1.4 uphill miles to Windy Gap, elevation 5800'

Drop packs and day-hike about 1.8 round trip miles on an unmaintained trail to Natural Bridge, elevation 5200'

Start a long downhill hike, 3.9 miles to the Carbon River, elevation 2900'

Hike 1.1 uphill miles on the Wonderland Trail to a spectacular suspension bridge, elevation 3195'

Cross the suspension bridge with views of Carbon Glacier to get to Carbon River Camp, elevation 3195'.

Camp at Carbon River Camp, elevation 3195'

Miles today: 8.2. Total miles: 22.7

Possible bailout: No ideal options. Ipsut Creek possible

Wednesday, September 4, 2024

Hike 4.9 uphill miles to Mystic Camp, elevation 5570'

Camp at Mystic Camp, elevation 5570'

Miles today: 4.9. Total miles: 27.6

Possible bailout: No ideal options.

Thursday, September 5, 2024

Hike about 3.8 miles to Granite Creek Camp, elevation 5725'

Set up camp at Granite Creek Camp, elevation 5725'

Day-Hike about 3.6 round trip miles to the summit of Skyscraper Peak, elevation 7078'

Enjoy the grandeur, then return to camp

Miles today: 7.4. Total miles: 35.0

Possible bailout: One day away, possibly Sunrise

Friday, September 6, 2024

Hike 4.4 miles on the Wonderland Trail to Sunrise Ranger Station, elevation 6245'

End of hiking

Miles today: 4.4. Total miles: 39.4

Possible bailout: Sunrise

Shuttle back to Seattle and check into local hotel

Shuttle back to local hotel: Four Points by Sheraton Seattle Airport South, 22406 Pacific Hwy S, Des Moines, WA, 98198, (253) 642-0100.

Gather your off-trail items from storage

Dinner and awards ceremony at a local restaurant (Dinner cost not included in trip price)

Stay in our local hotel (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, 2024

There will either be a free airport shuttle, we may drop you at the airport or we may order a shared cab/Uber to get you there.

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