Northern Loop Trail

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Elevation Gain9,493ft
Trailhead Elevation5,748ft
Elevation Min/Max2905/5815ft
Elevation Start/End5748/5748ft

Northern Loop Trail

Northern Loop Trail is a hiking trail in Pierce County, Washington. It is within Mount Rainier National Park. It is 11.0 miles long and begins at 5,748 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 22.4 miles with a total elevation gain of 9,493 feet. Near the end of the trail are a viewpoint and an information guidepost. This trail connects with the following: Natural Bridge Trail, Carbon Glacier Trail / Wonderland Trail (Detour) and Carbon Glacier Trail / Northern Loop Trail / Wonderland Trail (Detour).

Northern Loop Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

100 Classic Hikes Washington (The Mountaineers Books)
Craig Romano
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"Consider the Northern Loop as a Wonderland Trail light. It’s a spectacularly rugged and wild loop through Mount Rainier National Park’s northern hinterlands without the crowds and within a lot less distance. Traverse parkland meadows, alpine tundra, old-growth forest, and high passes. And witness raging creeks, placid lakes, and massive glaciers. From Sunrise, you have three choices for starting this hike; all converge at a five-way junction with the Wonderland Trail at Frozen Lake (elev. 6750 ft). For this hike, follow either the old Sunrise Camp Road to the Wonderland Trail junction in 1.5 miles. A third choice, the meandering Sunrise Rim trail, reaches the Wonderland Trail junction in 2.3 miles, adding 0.8 mile to this loop."
Hiking Mount Rainier National Park - 4th Edition (Falcon Guides)
Heidi Radlinski and Mary Skjelset
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"This wondrous loop around the roadless northern section of Mount Rainier National Park involves intense ascents and descents and offers spectacular views of mountain meadows, massive parks, numerous lakes, glaciers and glacial moraines, abundant wildlife, and of course, Mount Rainier. Quite possibly our favorite backpacking trip in Mount Rainier National Park, the Northern Loop offers all anyone could want in the way of scenery. From a massive expanse of mountain meadow to an even more massive expanse of nearby glaciers, this hike traverses nearly all the climatic zones in the park. It also produced the greatest number of wildlife sightings for the authors."
Backpacking Washington: Overnight and Multi-Day Routes (The Mountaineers Books)
Craig Romano
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"A spectacularly rugged and wild loop through the northern hinterlands of Mount Rainier National Park, this trip packs a wilderness wallop! Traverse parkland meadows, alpine tundra, old-growth forest, glacial moraine, high passes, and low valleys. Witness raging creeks, placid lakes, massive glaciers, and unsurpassed natural beauty. And experience much of it without the crowds that usually populate the Wonderland Trail."

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Trail Information

Mount Rainier National Park
Nearby City
Mount Rainier National Park
Skill Level
Additional Use
Views, Wildflowers
White River Wilderness Information Center: (360) 569-6670; Carbon River Ranger Station: (360) 829-9639
Local Contacts