Summerland Hike

Another hike at Mount Rainier Park and again at the Sunrise entrance. The last time we did this hike back in 2012 we saw a bear (or bears) on the trail. I also got a video.

When were at the Sunrise entrance last week we left the South Renton Park and Ride at about 6:30 and the Summerland lot was already full so we’ll need to leave earlier. It is the most popular time to be at a most popular trail.

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.

Summerland meadow

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.

Did I mention this was a relaxing place to spend a sunny afternoon?

Me in my natural state