Summerland & Panhandle Gap (Sep 6, 2008)

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panhandle_gap_coverConditions: Day hike
Gear: nothing special
Map: USGS Mt Rainier East
Area: Mt Rainier NP (White River)
Reference: 50 Hikes in Mount Rainier National Park
Stats: 10.6mi, 3243' gain (round trip)

I really like this trip. It's a real MRNP gem. Just as incredible as the Knapsack Pass > Spray Park loop trip. Very different though.

This trip has just about everything. Stunning views. Flowers in abundance. Rock, ice, and water.

The trail starts out on the Wonderland Trail hiking in the deep forest before popping out in the open and crossing Fryingpan Creek over a footlog. Then there are a series of steep and short switchbacks that climb up to the flat basin area of Summerland. There is a shelter here and I've camped here before. Lots of beautiful places to stop and smell the flowers.

We continued up the trail above the trees and into a higher rocky basin area below Meany Crest. Then we continued higher up to Panhandle Gap itself. I don't think there is one place in this park that can beat the views of the mountain than this hike does.

From the gap the trail continues down to Indian Bar. I've never been there...some day I need to go there. But, a day hike up to Panhandle Gap is a good sized day hike. Going further...get a permit and bring overnight gear. I need to do that someday...
Panhandle Gap Slideshow

(click on map to view a larger version)

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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