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Summerland Trail Professional Review and Guide
"This is a moderate five-hour day hike to one of the most spectacular subalpine and alpine regions within the park.Heading south from Fryingpan trailhead, the trail climbs gradually to moderately through woods. The path heads straight, with only a gradual incline for the first 1.5 miles. The trail then steepens and starts to switchback.The southernmost end of two long switchbacks provides a good look at Fryingpan Creek below. The grade remains moderately steep for another mile, at which point you cross Fryingpan Creek. Just beyond the creek, a gap in the forest allows a good glimpse of Mount Rainier.The trail then gets steeper. When the trail turns south, there is only 1.0 mile of switchbacks to go until you reach Summerland, 4.2 miles from the trailhead."
--Heidi Schneider & Mary Skjelset, Hiking Mount Rainier National Park (Falcon Guides).
A lot of bang for the buck! The first 3/4 of the hike to summerland is fairly easy! The last mile or so is fairly difficult but well worth it. Once you get to summerland, you have an unrestricted view of the northeast face of Mt. Rainier and Little Tahoma. I wish we had time to get to Panhandle Gap but it was getting late and time to get back. Late August and the trail was clear and dry.
This is one of my most favorite hikes to do over the summer. It's usually best in August though, as that's when the snow is off the trial and the meadow flowers are out in full bloom too. The trail also starts off slow so to gradually warm up your muscles for the hike later on. Bring a lunch and snack to snack on at the top, cause you'll want to enjoy the views for a while. Happy trails everyone.
This is a great day-hike along the Wonderland Trail. There are waterfalls to see on Fryingpan Creek. The trail is wide and well graded. From Summerland, you have views up the valley, but the best views come from Meany Crest (7500') which is another hour or so up above Summerland. From there you can see nearby ridges, Little Tahoma, and the surrounding region. On June 10th, the snow level was low so bring gaitors. Bring an ice axe if continuing up to Meany Crest. Enjoy.
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