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Carbon Glacier Trail

MODERATE 64 reviews
#30 of 135 trails in

Carbon Glacier Trail is a 18.9 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Buckley, Washington that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and mountain biking and is best used from May until November.

Distance: 18.9 miles Elevation Gain: 2,112 feet Route Type: Out & Back

camping

hiking

mountain biking

bike touring

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

washed out

no dogs

From Tacoma, east on Highway 410 to Buckley. Turn south on Highway 165 and drive 14 miles to Carbon River Road. Turn left and drive 8 miles to Carbon River Entrance Station. Continue 5 miles to Ipsut Creek Campground at roads end.

hiking
3 months ago

This was about 22 miles round trip and I never got the epic view I was hoping for. I got to the glacier, but it’s the dirty side of it. After standing on a glacier in Alaska, I had high hopes of at least getting to see the brilliant blue ice close up. No such luck. The suspension bridge was very cool, and I liked crossing over the river bed too. For the effort though, this hike wasn’t worth it. I rode my bike in on the gravel road and locked up by the falls. That shaved off an hour of walking back. W

hiking
4 months ago

A bit of confusion once you cross the river. just follow the stacked rocks. this trail is easy if you ride bikes to ipsuit camp then take off on foot the rest of the way. the suspension bridge is pretty cool.

backpacking
bugs
scramble
4 months ago

hiking
washed out
6 months ago

Trail is still washed out at Wonderland but there is a detour. The rocky fields have little stone statues that will help you navigate. Excellent hike. Trail is clear and there is no snow. I did see a group of 4 younger guys steal an Axe off the trail, that was discouraging but being outnumbered I didn't say anything. I don't need an ass beating miles into a trail.

hiking
rocky
6 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

Super trail, always great.

hiking
snow
washed out
7 months ago

Awesome trail. Part of the route is washed out and has a detour, so you don’t have to go over the suspension bridge. And the snow prevents you from going past the Glacier. But it’s really mostly snow free and dry up to that point. Absolutely beautiful. One of my favorite trails so far

hiking
snow
8 months ago

hiking
blowdown
scramble
snow
10 months ago

A good day hike, clear skies. Several large trees cover the trail, some are tricky to get by. As you go up the valley towards the glacier, there is snow on the ground, not enough to need spikes or snowshoes. Poles are needed as you get closer to the glacier.

hiking
Wed Aug 15 2018

Hiked to Mystic lake via Carbon glacier via Moraine park from the Carbon river trail head. This hike is about 31 miles. Only about 5k ft of elevation climbing, but mostly on the 2nd half of the outward hike. Some amazing views, even with all the clouds. You get to see a lot of marmots on the meadows, tiny toads no bigger than your thumb nail, frogs, bats, birds. A lot of different types of wildlife. Crossing the Carbon river on the log bridge, with the fast moving water flowing beneath you is amazing I feel. Crossing it coming back in the pitch black darkness just with a head light, I felt slightly different, I was sure to keep a steady footing. A very long day for me, I'm not the fastest hiker but I can go for a long time. What a day. The best.

Wed Jul 18 2018

trail washout, adds about 1.5 mile detor

Wed Jul 04 2018

We walked about 5 miles to Isput Campground and had lunch. (A lot of camp sites with picnic tables and clean restroom) We set out from Isput hoping to see the suspension bridge (map says about 1.7 miles), but after a few miles found there was a detour, due to the trail being washed out. We hadn't planned for detour (passerby estimated probably an additional hour to bridge from where we were), so we decided to head back to ensure a daylight return. Still a very pretty hike and beautiful scenery.

hiking
Sun Jun 17 2018

A good hike. Pretty busy on the trail. The bridge is in, so the trail is open the whole way.

hiking
Tue May 29 2018

Parked and walked to the Islup campground. The signs say 4 miles but more like 5 miles. Very flat and easy. once past the campground, the trail was great and nice views. About 2.5 miles in, the trail was washed out. we did quite a bit of scrambling but after a quarter of a mile, decided it wasn't getting any better. It appears that the trail was completely destroyed by a lot of different slides. I was bummed. I had done this hike 25 years ago and I remember it being fantastic. Hope that the trail can be repaired some day.

hiking
Sun May 07 2017

The trail was great until the lower crossing. I had to do some fording across the river cause the crossing washed out. There was still some snow on the trail past the river crossing but I didn't have to post hole. Once I got to the view point it was a beautiful day with exceptional views of the Glacier. On the way back I didn't know the trail was out on the opposite side of the suspension bridge but it was don't go that way. Complete landslide has taken about a half mile of the trail out. But over all great hike!

backpacking
Fri Jan 20 2017

Great Hike. Loved the suspension bridge. Road there was washed out so had to hike an extra 3 Miles or so. That was the only bummer.

Fri Aug 05 2016

Great hike today. We just hiked to green Lake trail head and made our way to the lake. Stopped by both waterfall sites and it was breathtaking. Trail is not difficult but not a beginner trail. Will definitely hike this again.

backpacking
Thu Jul 07 2016

Great three day excursion. 5 mile gentle sloping wide trail to Ipsut Creek campground (very clean and comfortable with plenty of available campsites for a summer weekday, with spotless outhouses and convenient bear-proof boxes, however a few sites unavailable due to fallen trees). Next day hiked a bit more rugged trail to glacier and back. (3.5 miles each way). Had to figure out alternate way around washed out trail which involved crossing rocky riverbed following vague trail markers. Once back on the path everything was well marked. Landslide close to glacier viewing area made for a bit of a risky crossing and part of trail was doubling as a shallow creek at times, but the Glacier itself was spectacular with great views of a shiny white Mt. Rainier in the background. One more night at Ipsut Creek campground was followed by a gentle 5 mile return to the parking lot. This portion can be done with a bike as well, but we chose to hoof it. Overall great experience.

Mon May 23 2016

A good day hike that keeps mostly flat the whole time.

Mon Aug 17 2015

Great trail me and my girlfriend completed it in about 8 hrs with stops for Breakfast, Lunch and pictures. It was a hot day but with the water breezes made it bearable.

hiking
Mon Jun 08 2015

I decided to walk the entire thing instead of bike to Ipsut Campground. Can't say it was the smartest thing ive done in a while but i definitely had fun. We had a really mild winter so it allowed me to get hiking on the early side. I wanted to stop in to Chenuis Falls but the bridge was washed out so i pushed on. I passed Greenwater Lakes Trail which is a great side trail if you have the time. Beautiful little lake sits nestled in the mountains. I hit Ipsut campground and used the bathrooms they had which were pretty good considering and after rounding the corner (far end of Ipsut) I walked right into Ipsut falls. Pretty cool water fall. Its a short distance and worth the look. Grabbed a snack and headed up the hill and stayed left at the split (a right would take you up to Mowich). Hiking for a little while i found where all the washouts happened and "detours" had been placed. It just takes you the riverbed before catching the main trail up a ways on your right side.... Made it to the glacier and had lunch before walking back. It took me all day and wasn't extremely hard but the distance is what'll get ya if your feet aren't up to snuff. I did think it was pretty awesome that when i started the hike, the river rocks were tiny and as i got closer the glacier, the rocks were astronomically bigger. Made for an awesome picture. Happy hiking y'all.

hiking
Wed Apr 29 2015

took my girlfriend to the old washington mining co. mine the other day. was too late to go any farther than that as we were only prepared for an emergency overnight stay. will be going again to conquer the remainder of trails we missed out on.

hiking
Wed Sep 11 2013

I did this trail yesterday. Road my mountain bike in, had fun on some of the bumps (I ride downhill parks mostly). After starting the trail, stopped at ipsut falls for a snack, it's extremely slick back there right now. Continued on. Not sure when the detour went in for the trail, there is one. Just thought I'd mention it since no one else has. You end up crossing the river before the suspension bridge on a fun log bridge. Gradual hike up to the suspension bridge filled with streams, marmots, and chippies. Met quite a few wonderland trail goers yesterday. Got to the glacier hung out watching a marmot watch me. Pretty entertaining. I wouldn't call this trail difficult by any means, it's the distance that will get you. Highly recommend riding a bike in as it made the way out much faster and easier.

hiking
Thu Jun 27 2013

Was a great day for a hike. We arrived at the Carbon River ranger station at about 8:30, picked up a annual pass and drove to the end of the road (old Ranger Station). Was one other vehicle there. We road our bikes up to Ipsut Campground. Road/Trail is in decent shape. Only a couple places where we got off our bikes to walk through some of the areas with the larger rocks. Took about an hour to get to Ipsut Campground. Locked our bikes up and began our hike to the glacier. Took a couple pics at Ipsut falls and back on the trail. Didn't see any big game, was a little disappointed as I wouldn't have minded seeing a bear. Oh well. Arrived a the glacier a little after noon. Had some lunch in the sun and began our trip back down. Took a little bit of time to go across the suspension bridge, even though we didn't have to. Bike ride back was fun (not much pedaling) Overall it's an easy hike. If you have to walk the road to the campground I could see how that would be pretty boring. There are plenty of bike racks to lock up your bikes too.

hiking
Mon Mar 18 2013

Not sure why this trail is marked difficult. It is a very easy trail. The highlight is the suspension bridge as you cross the river near the glacier.

hiking
Thu Aug 23 2012

I was one of the lucky hikers who was able to drive to the actual trailhead (road is usually washed out and this restricts access), which shortens the mileage considerably. Total mileage was 6.2 round trip. The hike is relatively flat as you walk (or snowshoe, in my case) on an old mining road adjacent to the Carbon River. Carbon Glacier is spectacular!! End the hike by crossing a suspension bridge that will get you that much closer to this gem.

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