Glacier Basin Trail

MODERATE 31 reviews

Glacier Basin Trail is a 8.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Paradise Inn, Washington that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until October.

8.4 miles 2956 feet Out & Back

birding

hiking

nature trips

snowboarding

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

over grown

rocky

snow

no dogs

A steadily up-hill climb below Rainier's amazing glaciers that starts from White River campground.

2 months ago

Great hike!! A little challenging at the end of it due to snow! Amazing views! Completely worth it!

hiking
3 months ago

4 months ago

great hike, great views. trail can be a little challenging up top. make sure you have good tread.

hiking
4 months ago

First Mount Rainier hike for me and my 17 and 12 year old. Mostly forested trail with breaks to see the mountain which leave you awestruck. Leaves a strong desire to return and see what the other trails offer. The Emmons offshoot offers more consistent views of the glaciers but mostly sunny so keep that in mind for warm days. Hopefully we will be back soon!

5 months ago

5 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

hike half a mile past the camp site but turned around due to rain. Looked like the trail was going to have snow on it for the last mile and 1000 ft of elevation. enjoyable hike. bit of a climb the last mile. we went down another trail to see the lake and glacier on our way back. total trip time (with side trail) was 5 hours. went on a Friday and saw around 20 people

9 months ago

Almost didn't make it but made it! Would've liked to get to Emmons Glacier but was washed out. Will be back to see Inter Glacier.

hiking
1 year ago

hiking
1 year ago

hiking
1 year ago

Decent views of an amazing glacier and a simple out-and-back if you're camping down at White River. But if you want to make it interesting, there are other options here..

1 • Where the Emmons Morraine Trail ends or is "no longer maintained", you can walk down to the boulder field (wear gloves), cross it, and continue heading south about a mile to the bottom of the Emmons glacier and see the beginning of White River. It's amazing to see water shooing out of an enormous ice-cave beneath the glacier (brrrr!). Never touched a glacier before? Do it!

2 • You can also continue SW on on unmaintained trail: believe it or not, there's an (extremely) old road that can be found after some (serious) bushwhacking that leads you up to the top of that enormous point towering above you to the west. After following the trail (it's still there, it just gets tricky at places), keep hugging the hillside and you'll find the huge, wide old road with fallen logs crossing it as it climbs. Then explore...

If you're camping at White River, why not? Bushwhacking's always fun.

hiking
1 year ago

A wonderful hike up to a very old mining camp. When you arrive up-top, you're surrounded by glaciers, a mountain lake, amazing geology, and--if you look carefully--small fumaroles spewing-forth various gasses. There are also a few decent places to camp and some old remnants of the mining community. Don't stop the second you hit the camp: go about a half-mile further until you pass the lake and are hanging-out stream-side in a picturesque mountain valley.

For only 1700ft of gain, it's a decent hike. Want to make it a proper hike? About a mile in, you can take the Emmons Morraine trail (out-and-back) on your right for some extra gain and a couple more miles, then head back to the Glacier Basin Trail and complete it.

Other options here:
Where the Emmonns Morraine Trail ends or is "no longer maintained", you can walk down to the boulder field (wear gloves) and south about a mile to the bottom of the Emmons glacier and see the beginning of White River, as the water shoots out of an enormous ice-cave beneath the glacier (brrrr!). Never touched a glacier before? Do it!

Also, you can continue SW on on unmaintained trail: believe it or not, there's an (extremely) old road that can be found after some (serious) bushwhacking that leads you up to the top of that enormous point towering above you to the west. If you're camping at White River, why not? Bushwhacking's always fun ; )

Finally, if you're looking to make Glacier Basin a serious hike, you can always head up there and come back down on the Burroghs Mountain and Sunrise Rim trails for a 12-15mi day hike with a healthy 3000+ft of total gain.

I attached a map in my images, as I couldn't find any good ones on-line. Enjoy!

hiking
2 years ago

2 years ago

As someone else noted this trail is closer to sunrise than paradise, in fact I think it took almost two hours to drive from our campground (cougar rock) to the trail head. Take water, and take the essentials! This really isn't super hard but be prepared! I hiked this in June with my 10 year old son. Not sure why all trails says it's 7 miles as it's marked as being 3.1 (making it 6.2 total). About a mile into the trail is an offshoot. This is the Emmons Glacier trail. DON'T take Emmons unless you have some experience hiking and have proper balance. A part of it is less than a foot wide and is a very loose cliff face. Getting up it isn't so bad but coming back down will test your nerves. Also note that this trail isn't maintained as nicely and eventually stops, you can go further but there is no trail. You will not get to Emmons Glacier, it just gives you a nice view of it. For your reference Emmons Glacier is the one with all the horizontal lines in it. Okay now back onto Glacier basin. It is a fairly easy trail until about the last mile. It would seem that most of your elevation climbing is done in this last part. At times the trail does get pretty close to the edge so I often made my son walk to the far right. We encountered a family about halfway up the trail, they brought no supplies and just a single bottle of water. Needless to say, they didn't make it the rest of the way. As for my son and I we did. We continued on and eventually made it to the campground from there you are in the basin and the trail stops. Its a wide open area and perfect for a little picnic. Just don't feed the chipmunks, no matter how they beg. The last thing Id say about the trail is if you're expecting some great view of the top of rainer this isn't the trail. Don't get me wrong the view here is breathtaking but you're surrounded by the glaciers so you're not getting a view of just the mountain. My favorite view of the mountain was at reflection lake which you'll pass on the drive up to this hike.

hiking
2 years ago

hiking
2 years ago

08/23/14 - Easy hike from the White River Campground. This is not near Paradise Inn as the description states. You access it from the Sunrise side of the mountain. The trail is a little sketchy right after the log bridge over the stream. I suggest using poles. Do a little research on Emmons Glacier before going to make what you are seeing mean more. I didn't have binoculars and wish I had.

More on my hiking blog at cairnguru.com

2 years ago

Great scenic trail that is a good warm up to ascending the mountain. Beautiful surroundings and when you spot the glacier views, really capture the moment.

We hiked to the trail from the White River campground (about 1 mile to the trailhead) then you have to cross a narrow bridge and a sandy ledge. My 8 year old was a little nervous but we took it slow and we carried my five year old. I recommend caution with younger kids. After that point we went to where we could see the lovely glacial lake then we turned back as my daughter ran out of steam. I highly recommend this trail for adults and older children.

hiking
3 years ago

I hiked the trail in Sept and it was snow free. This trail is near Sunrise, not Paradise to the south. The first 2 1/2 miles of the trail is a very gradual incline and shaded by trees. Not too much to see until you reach the Glacier Basin campsite. The trail after the campsite breaks out of the trees completely and becomes rocky but offers very nice views of the valley and surrounding ridges. You can't really see too much of Rainier on this trail though - for that you need to zip up to the Burroughs Mtn trail along the upper ridge which most people access from the Sunrise Visitor Center. You can access it from this trail of course but there will be a bunch of switchbacks to climb.