Wonderland Trail to Panhandle Gap

MODERATE 41 reviews
#27 of 106 trails in

Wonderland Trail to Panhandle Gap is a 11.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Packwood, Washington that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until October.

11.1 miles
3,159 feet
Out & Back





nature trips

trail running







wild flowers



no dogs

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.

1 month ago

Beautiful hike! We hit some pretty bad mosquitoes while down in the trees, but they were absent up in the meadows and higher.
Great views, fun glissading, a chilly polar plunge and very patient Park Rangers made for a very rewarding hike.

2 months ago

Made it to Summerland but be prepared for snow. No good for running shoes right now as what snow is there is melting. Wet wet wet. I definitely plan on coming back after the melt to get the full experience.

2 months ago

This is the summer land trail, lots of snow still in late May. Great workout, great views, would recommend.

11 months ago

Totally worth the steep hike. The views were phenomenal, with a gorgeous field of wildflowers at summer-land and goats and snowy peaks at panhandle gap.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Good amount snow on the last bit on top, poles are extremely helpful. There were a few people on the trail, mostly at the camp however we started earlier and had an overall 'quiet' hike. The view from the very top is worth the entire hike up. We started at 8:30 and it took as about 3.5 hours to the top. It was one of the best hikes I've done so far.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Prepare for decent amount of snow on this trail. Especially during the last part where all you see is snow. I hiked it without ski sticks which isn't something I'd recommend as there are a few dicey spots. Needless to say it's all worth it at the top with the majestic view of Mount Rainer.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

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.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

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...

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Moderate to strenuous. Great trail, great views!

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Views were spectacular! Snowy as trail ascends, but well worth it!

Sunday, May 01, 2016

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 .

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

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.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

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.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

So far this is the longest hike I have done, it was last Autumn. The colors were vibrant and beautiful.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

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.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Beautiful day! The flowers were blooming and the mountain was clear.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

between this and emerald Ridge, my favorite parts of the Wonderland trail.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

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

1 day ago

23 days ago

27 days ago

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9 months ago

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Friday, June 23, 2017

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Thursday, November 03, 2016

recorded Track - Aug 25, 05:58 PM

Friday, August 26, 2016

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

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