Date: Saturday September 3
Location: Mount Rainier Nat'l Park
Approx. drive time from home: 4 hours
Distance: 8.5 mi. / 13.5 km (return)
Elevation gain: 2900 ft / 880 m
Max. elevation: 7200 ft / 2200 m
Time on trail: 4 hours
The first mile or so of trail climb very gradually through a lush forest of cedars, pines, and firs. We got our first peek-a-boo view of Mount Rainier about a mile and a half in, when the trail moved closer to the shoreline of the Inter Fork of the White River.
The campground is a beautiful spot right at the edge of a lovely alpine meadow. We took a short break and then ventured onwards, onto the unmaintained section of trail used by mountaineers. Our goal was to get right up to the toe of the Inter Glacier which is tucked between Mount Ruth and The Wedge.
We quickly left the tree line as we climbed along a moraine above the river. It was easy to see the path that the Inter Glacier had taken down the valley. As we got further into the basin the trail veered southward, becoming a bit less defined and a bit more rocky as we approached the glacier.
All in all, Glacier Basin is a great day hike for those of varying abilities, and more importantly for the drearier, wetter days around Mount Rainier. The newer trail is wide and well graded. This trail offers the chance to see a number of different climate zones found in Mount Rainier National Park without exerting too much effort.