Carbon Glacier Trail

Carbonado, Washington 98323

Carbon Glacier Trail

Carbon Glacier Trail Professional Review and Guide

"Though the trail is lovely, it’s not exactly a thrill—not until you reach the end of the route. There, you’ll find yourself swinging on a cable suspension bridge and cooling your heels on an actual glacier. Getting to those highlights, you’ll trek along an old miners’ road paralleling the Carbon River upstream.

This frothy river boasts some serious white water, but it’s not because of the rapids (which are generally small and not too frothy). Rather, the whiteness of the water comes from all the powder-fine silt ground up by the moving glacier. This water, known as “glacier milk,” is deathly cold (remember, it’s melted glacier ice from just a few miles upstream), so regardless of the heat, steer clear of the river itself."

Carbon Glacier Trail Reviews

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The trail is so beautiful at the end of July! My husband and I enjoyed this trail very much and the awesome 1/2 way point of the suspension bridge. However let me warn you that this used to be a 6.5 mile hile to and back. Back in 2006 floods have damaged the roads. So instead of starting at the trail head you have to pretty much park your vehicle by the Carbon River Ranger Station. It is about 5 miles to get to the actual trailhead. The first 5 miles is all flat so not too strenuous until you get to the acual trail head. I see that some of the other hikers used bikes to get to the trailhead faster. My husband I walked the 5 miles and then the 3.5 miles to the suspension bridge so coming back was a total of 17 miles! Whew! We started late around 2pm so we wanted to get back by 8pm. It was a total of 6 hours for our hike because we moving at a brisk pace for most of it. We stoped for breaks to take pics and enjoy the suspension bridge and lovely views of the Carbon Glacier. It is the day after and my legs are still sore. The last mile was tough becuse I wasn't expecting a 17 mile hike but only a 6.5 mile trek. It was a beautiful hike and the trails are nicely maintained. There are tons of log crossings over slow streams and even a raging river! We took over 80 pictures of all the lovely sceneries. It is quite the work-out! We can also tell this trail is very popular because we passed many of the morning hikers coming back.

Carbon Glacier Trail Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
1,000 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
2,250 feet
Trailhead Elevation
3,400 feet
Top Elevation
Carbon River Ranger Station
Local Contacts
Green Trails Mount Rainier West, No. 269
Local Maps