by Diane Spicer
This Mount Rainier hiking Summerland day hike description gives you photos, words and a video so you can formulate a complete understanding of why this place is worth your while!
Use the White River Entrance to Mount Rainier National Park, off Highway 410.
Once you pay your fee at the official entrance, several twisty turny miles from the turnoff, drive three more miles toward Sunrise.
Keep an eye out for a very limited parking area on your right, just over Fryingpan Creek.
The trailhead is on the southwest (left) side of the road.
As with many other Rainier hikes, parking is severely limited.
The trailhead takes off right from the Paradise road, and rangers frown upon those who take it upon themselves to park outside of the designated spots.
You need to arrive by 7A to be completely sure you'll have a parking spot, so if you're traveling from the Seattle area, set your alarm clock for way early.
These figures are approximate.
Round trip: 8.4 miles.
Elevation gain to Summerland: 2100 feet
You want to budget in plenty of time for appreciating the beauty of this special place, so if you luck out and get a parking space later in the day, keep track of the time needed to reach the trailhead in daylight.
The trail begins as if in a dream:
You're mostly in dense forest, with limited views.
Once you cross Fryingpan Creek on a roughly hewn log at the three mile mark (and revel in your first good view of Mount Rainier - see photo above), you'll want to tighten up your boots.
Because this is a national park, expect a well graded trail with switchbacks that sashay up the hill.
Once you gain the high point (~6000 feet) at Summerland Camp (a backcountry camping area by reservation only), here's what you'll see.
Snow can linger through July and into August on the last mile of this trail, making it difficult for some hikers to navigate both the steepness and the uncertain footing.
You will encounter a lot of people on this trail (but no dogs, as it's a National Park). If you were expecting solitude, reset your expectations so you don't get cranky.
Summerland was well named by Edward Sturgis Ingraham, who summited Rainier 13 times before his death in 1926.
Several hundred hikers a day use this trail in high summer.
Here's what keeps me coming back again and again:
More reasons for Rainier hiking Summerland hours:
Mount Rainier day hikes don't get any better than this one.
This hike is straightforward and follows a well established trail, but if you have any concerns or questions, contact me and I'll give you the scoop.
Mount Rainier Hiking Summerland
About the author
Diane is the founder of Hiking For Her.
She’s been on a hiking trail somewhere in the world for nearly five decades & loves to share her best hiking tips right here.
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Photo credits: All photos on this website were taken by David Midkiff or Diane Spicer except where noted.
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