Summerland is one of the nicest places to go in Mt. Rainier National Park. It is accessed via the Sunrise entrance and is not too far from where we hiked last week and is part of the 93 mile Wonderland Trail that encircles the Mountain.
It is also very popular so if you want to go during the high season you need to get there early so as to get a parking spot at the trailhead. We got there at 8:00 am and still had to park in a road pullout as there were no more spots in the lot.
You will be rewarded with a flower-filled meadow view of the Mountain and a dozen or so tame marmots sunning themselves and eating the flowers.
It’s about 4.5 miles to the meadow. There is one bridge down lower about 3 miles in.
Crossing Fryingpan Creek
Above the meadow you can go up further to Panhandle Gap and over to points south but there is usually snow above the meadow.
Snow at our turnaround point
Our day’s track
We stopped at the creek because the bridge had been washed out.
Creek without bridge
It would have been not too difficult to cross and we saw a few groups go across without the bridge. We turned back after getting to about 6100 feet.
We spent a long lunch up in the meadow. Lots of flowers and marmots
While I was taking a picture of this guy there was a rock slide further up the slope. He immediately turned toward the sound and went flat against the rock he was sitting on. I guess this is a familiar hazard for them.
Little Tahoma on the left and Rainier
There is a campground for backcountry hikers up in the meadow which would make a pretty spectacular place to spend a night. You could watch the sunrise light up the Mountain in the morning.