Wonderland Trail to Panhandle Gap is a 11.4 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Packwood, WA that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from July until October.
Directions from White River Entrance: Drive westward on White River Road 3 miles to a parking area near the Fryingpan Creek bridge. The trailhead is across the road. Parking space is limited and fills early on sunny summer days. Have an alternate hike in mind in case parking space is not available.
Unbelievable hike up to Panhandle! One of the best day hikes I've ever done. So many different terrains.
Not 8 miles though. About 12.5mi round trip.
Such an amazing hike to breathtaking views! It's a must-do hike! Checking from other sources and my tracking, this is about 12 miles out-and-back, not 8 miles! Regardless, it's so amazing out there that you forget how far you've hiked! Going up to Panhandle Gap, there was a lot of snow so be prepared for an adventure. I went in late July and apparently it was too early for wildflowers at this elevation...
Moderate to strenuous. Great trail, great views!
Views were spectacular! Snowy as trail ascends, but well worth it!
I just wanna know is that safe for me to go by myself in that trail? I never been there and I have no idea how it will be .
We started this trail at Narada Falls, walked a few tenths of a mile to the sign that gave directions to the lake (The arrows on the sign were pretty ambiguous and we were unsure if were chose the right path - we ended up being lucky). We followed the wonderland trail for 1.5 miles to reflection lake through about 6 inches of fresh snowfall and more hardened snow underneath. It was a beautiful trail with a lot of switchbacks for the first 1/2 mile that take you up the mountain. The trail levels out after that. .3 miles from the lake you cross a road and follow signs to the lake. The lake was beautiful with all the snow. The trail was tough considering it was the first trail I did with snow and was not prepared clothing or shoe-wise. The toughest part of the hike was climbing back up the steps at the falls to the parking lot on the way back.
Did the 1.5 extension to Panhandle Gap. The smoke was cleared enough to get a good look at Mt. Adams and spy Mt. Hood through the clouds. 12 miles round trip from trail head to top of Panhandle, with approximately 3,000 feet elevation gain.
So far this is the longest hike I have done, it was last Autumn. The colors were vibrant and beautiful.
Well travelled and well maintained (WTA was working when I came through). It was not very difficult, I would rate it mostly a blue with a few black areas thrown in. Mellow start through mature forest along the fryingpan creek then gradually steepening towards Summerland. Bugs were not bad, although I kept a quick pace, and the trail was not terribly crowded. Approaching Summerland the trail ascends sharply up several switchbacks. I ran into a couple of beautiful bucks who had no intention of making way, so I waited. At Summerland the trail opens up into alpine meadows and immediately into barren rocky terrain. Although the trail is rocky it is well kept and easy to navigate. The trails meanders through a glacier-scraped hanging valley past the remnants of receded ice, green lakes, and 2-300 foot waterfalls. The last ascent to the gap required more carefully placed footsteps across boulders and loose shale and gravel. The 'gap' is a saddle between two small peaks below Little Tahoma Peak. The trail continues beyond that over rolling tundra and rocks. 13.5 miles round trip.
Beautiful day! The flowers were blooming and the mountain was clear.
between this and emerald Ridge, my favorite parts of the Wonderland trail.
Amazing! I was hoping for good views of the mountain with some wildflowers. I was unprepared for the cacophony of wildflowers, representing virtually all the varieties in my Mt Rainier flowers of the alpine book. Imagine walking through thigh-high blossoms while looking up at crisp white snow on the mountain. I've done a fair amount of hiking in the park, and this was one of the more spectacular hikes.
The first 3.3 miles was a oh-hum walk in the forest with a few views of waterfalls. Then the view started opening up, becoming more spectacular with each step. The trail was in excellent condition, including log crossings across streams. Warning: BRING INSECT REPELLENT