Glacier Basin Trail

MODERATE 59 reviews
#15 of 107 trails in

Glacier Basin Trail is a 8.3 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 best used from March until October.

8.3 miles
2,926 feet
Out & Back




nature trips







wild flowers


over grown



no dogs

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

5 days ago

This is a fantastic hike. We went mid July and the weather was perfect. We came across 2 snow patches which was cool to see mid summer. The only downside was the extreme amount of bugs/mosquitoes. Definitely take Emmons Moraine Trail off of glacier basin. It was absolutely beautiful and you can go down by the lake.

13 days ago

Trail is well maintained except for a few places where waterbars would keep runoff from eroding the trail. Otherwise it is wide enough in many places for side by side hiking. In many areas the trail is single track and trail etiquette should be followed for uphill hikers and groups of mountaineers. The end of the maintained trail has several campsites and a toilet. Happy Trails! "Rock Hopper"

14 days ago

If you haven't done this hike before---youre missing out! I completed this today (07/07/18) along with a short offshoot trail called Emmons morraine trail that offered a beautiful view of an aqua blue lake as well as the Emmons glacier.

Please note that All trails is way off on the elevation gain. The ranger verified that it's approximately 1700' of elevation gain and 7 miles round-trip.
The trail is in excellent condition and currently snow free!

20 days ago

Hiked this a few weekends ago. Trail was packed with melting snow at the higher elevation. Trekking poles and water resistant boots recommended, but still manageable without them. You get nice views of the mountain on the way up. Round trip took about 6 hours since I had lunch and hung around at the basin camp before coming back down.

1 month ago

This was such a beautiful hike!! It is snowpacked most of the way, but well worth it!!!

2 months ago

This hike was completed August 2017

11 months ago

This was a beautiful hike! I love the terrain and views!! The lake pictures is actually at the beginning of the hike and it's worth the venture to the view points!!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

nice hike, but the hike doesn't start near paradise inn!! it starts at white river campground near sunrise!

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Nice day hike or overnight for beginners. The hike is mostly uphill on the way out, but the basin is gorgeous at the end. I sat by the white river and soaked up the sun until heading back. Hiking out was much faster.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Beautiful trail. Snow about halfway through, recommend bringing trekking poles.

Monday, October 24, 2016

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

Monday, September 12, 2016

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

Monday, August 22, 2016

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!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

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

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

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.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

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.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

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!

Monday, September 22, 2014

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.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

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.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

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.

Monday, July 21, 2014

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.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

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.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

wonderful trail. great views at the top

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Nice short hike. Pretty amazing views.
Was hot and dusty though. Saw signs of bear along the trail, no animals though. I think would be a good hike for kids!

Thursday, August 01, 2013

easy, short, beautiful hike right out of the white river camp ground

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The trail itself is not hard but was full of snow and slippery and I didn't have the right gear. But the view is so worth it, so I'm still giving it 5 stars.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

The first half of the trail was easy and in good condition but the second half of trail has it's share of snow so good thing I had my poles for a little extra balance. The view is impressive and the base area is a great place for lunch and photos. Bear sightings so keep your eyes opened.

Friday, August 05, 2011

At the end of the trail is a nice view of the glacier and a great place to stop and eat.

21 hours ago

7 days ago

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