Mount Rainier Adventures 2018
Klapatchie Loop at Mount Rainier
In late August of 2018, Kenny Janosko, a good friend and former teammate at Baldwin Wallace, came out to Washington for a visit. We decided on a long run in the southwest corner of Mount Rainier National Park, the Klapatchie Loop. The total distance amounted to 25.21 miles with 7359 vertical feet. The opening miles ascend a wide gravel Westside Road which parallels Fish Creek up to Round Pass (mile 3.9). This is followed by a fast descent down to the South Puyallup River (mile 6). From there, the road turns upward toward Denman Falls (mile 8.1) and eventually Klapatchie Point at mile 9.5.
The road finally switches to trail at Klapatchie Point and becomes the North Puyallup Trail. This trail is clearly an abandoned road which is slowly being reclaimed by nature. However, ornate stone walls are still visible, particularly at bends in the trail. After a gradual descent to the North Puyallup River at mile 12.2, there is a junction with the Wonderland Trail. The path continues upward to Aurora Lake at mile 14.7 and then through Klapatchie Park to St Andrews Lake (mile 15.5) where the elevation tops out at about 5800 feet.
Unfortunately due to cloudy conditions, Kenny and I missed many of the Mount Rainier views, but we enjoyed our time in the alpine none-the-less. In the descent from St Andrews Lake, we encountered Marmots, Black-tailed Deer and even a distant Black Bear. After about three miles of switchbacking through forested mountainside, the Wonderland Trail intersects with the South Puyallup Trail (mile 18.6). The South Puyallup Trail follows the Puyallup River back to the Westside Road completing the loop (mile 20.1). However, there are still four miles retracing the Westside Road back down to the parking area to finish out the full lollipop loop.
Burroughs Loop at Mount Rainier
On the last day of summer, Apryle and I made a trip down to Mount Rainier in search of a moderate effort day on the trail, and the Burroughs Loop proved to be the perfect option! The loop totals 10.41 miles and 3323 vertical feet and starts and finishes in the White River Campground. The trail begins on the Wonderland and climbs for 2.3 miles to the junction with the Shadow Lake Trail. From here the terrain levels as the trail passes by Shadow Lake, and then ascends gradually to the Burroughs Mountain Trail at mile 4.
The Burroughs Mountain Trail offers astounding views of Mount Rainier along its entire course and tops out at 7444 feet at the summit (mile 5.4). After descending off the peak, at mile 5.8, the Sunrise Trail continues southwestward, switch backing out of the alpine and into the forrest. The Glacier Basin Trail junction at mile 7.5 begins the final leg of the loop when the trail heads eastward back to White River Campground following the Inter Fork.