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Summerland-Panhandle­ Gap

Time-frame for Summerland|Panhandle Gap: 6:30AM-5:30PM

(later for any post-hike activities)

Meet at 512 P&R: 6:30 (depart 6:45)

ETA at trailhead (Fryingpan Creek): 8:45

Current forecast (Mt Rainier-Sunrise): High of 72. 0% chance of precipitation. [updated 8/21]

Required Pass: National Parks Pass|Senior Pass (also can use America The Beautiful-see link below)

Interested in the ATB Pass? Go here:


RT Mileage: 10-12 Strain/Skill Level: Moderate-Difficult+ Elevation Gain: 1,950' (add 900' if heading to Panhandle Gap) Highest Point: 5,900' (6,800' at Panhandle Gap)  Hike time: 5+ hours  Trail Conditions: Well-Maintained Trail  Hike Type: Out-and-back

Features: Old Growth, Wildflowers, Meadows, Mountain Views, Wildlife


(Lat:[masked] Lon:[masked])

Please bring:

Water (2+Qts)10 Essentials (see link below), emergency contact number(s), lunch/energy snacks, sturdy/comfortable footwear + bag for soiled/wet pairs + a spare pair for post-hike activities [I advise against tennis shoes and non-hiking sandals!], sun preventatives, bug repellent, hat w/ brim, clothing according to the forecast (layers!), trekking poles, $15 for fuel (if a carpool passenger), binoculars and a camera!

Microspikes will be helpful [but optional] when crossing the permanent snowfields up near Panhandle Gap. [Prepare for some glissading fun!!]

{ The 10 Essentials-and then some! } Go here:


Hike Description (WTA)

PLEASE NOTE: The trail starts on the left side opposite the parking area. Get a spot early as they fill up quickly!

Head up the cushy Wonderland Trail, where old growth, a roaring river and snow capped peaks will keep ones interest for the first three miles. You’ll then begin to switchback and gain elevation steadily until you reach Summerland Camp after 4.3 miles of hiking, which depending on the season, may be covered in snow or wildflowers. More adventurous types may wish to climb easy slopes 2,300' higher to Meany Crest, which features a gorgeous bivy site, large enough for 6-8, sheltered from the winds, and offering amazing views of Little Tahoma, Rainier and the Cowlitz Chimneys area and a look at the Stuart range, Glacier, Baker and a hundred others in the distance. You may see mountain goats grazing in Summerland meadows. Gaze up at Tahoma’s FryingPan Glacier and enjoy your time in this high meadow. 

Further exploration: Panhandle Gap is reached in another 1.4 miles from Summerland. Here, large meadows sit at the base of dramatic waterfalls. With climbing equipment and glacier travel skills, it is possible to continue on even further, following a well trodden slope up to the Whitman Crest, elevation approximately 9,000'. Be aware of crevasses on the Frying Pan Glacier. [we will probably not go further than Panhandle Gap]



Driving Directions:

From Enumclaw, take Highway 410 east 43 miles to the White River Entrance of Mt. Rainier National Park. Veer right on Sunrise Road, then follow this 4 miles to the trailhead near Fryingpan Creek.



Dogs allowed? NO

a National Parks Pass is required for trailhead parking

(day and annual passes can be purchased at the White River Entrance Station on Sunrise Rd)

Carpooling encouraged

{Be sure to give your driver $15 for fuel BEFORE leaving the P&R}

Drivers: Have a full tank of gas for this trip

Bring $$ for coffee, ice cream and/or possibly dinner


Mike's cell|[masked]

[call or text]


Disclaimer: Trailside is not a professional guide service. Our leaders function, as facilitators only, to enhance your outdoor experience. Reports of trail and weather conditions are based on best available information, are subject to change, and are no guarantee of fitness for any particular purpose. You may join us on this hike at your own risk. Keep in mind that hiking involves risks and weather changes quickly in the mountains. You are responsible for your own safety and the more prepared you are, the better the chance you will remain safe.


Some reminders: [IMPORTANT]

1] If you are going to be late and cannot make it by departure time, you must meet us at the trailhead or back out [make sure your RSVP reflects this!]. Otherwise, if you anticipate being late within a couple of minutes of departure time, PLEASE call or text the Organizer's contact number. We will more likely wait for you.

2] Please anticipate splitting up into 2 groups if over 12.

3] PLEASE change your RSVP at least 2 hours prior to meeting up if you cannot make it and/or have other plans. If we don't see you or hear from you, it will result in a NO-SHOW. 3 no-shows in a year's time-span could mean termination of membership, so please don't risk it--make sure you communicate!




Current drivers:

Mike Trygstad - room for 4 [5 total incl driver]

Dale W - room for 3 [4 total, incl driver]



Join or login to comment.

  • Mike T.

    A wonderful day of wildflowers, water, wilderness and wildlife! Summerland never disappoints! Thank you Dale & Hugh for driving!

    August 22, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    The view was fantastic! It was a difficult hike for me personally, but I was encouraged to keep going. Didn't want to miss the view.
    And, of course, all the hikers were very nice. Good conversations along the way.

    August 22, 2013

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