Hiking to Camp Muir at Washington's Mount Rainier

by Kimberly Turtenwald, Demand Media

    Mt. Rainier, one of the highest peaks in the state of Washington, offers hikers and climbers magnificent views of the wilderness around them. On clear days, a hiker on this mountain can see all the way to Oregon. Camp Muir is a rustic campground found not far below the peak of Mt. Rainier.

    Hike Difficulty

    The hike up Mt. Rainier to Camp Muir is not an easy hike meant for beginners. This hike is meant for those with a little more experience and the endurance to hike up steep inclines. The trail is meant to be a day hike, but some hikers spend the night at Camp Muir before heading back down in the morning. This means hikers must also carry the gear they need to sleep overnight on the mountain.

    Weather Conditions

    The trail leading up Mt. Rainier to Camp Muir is typically free of snow from the middle of July until September, making for a short hiking season. Those who don't mind some snow can hike the trail in summer, fall and winter. It is important to understand that the weather on Mt. Rainier is unpredictable and a storm can arise with very little, if any, warning. Therefore, it is important for hikers to bring food, water and warm clothes in case of a sudden storm.

    Trails

    At the base of Mt. Rainier, several different trails all lead to Camp Muir. Each of these trails leads to the same place and become one trail further up the mountain, so it does not matter which one you choose. During the hike, there are viewpoints where hikers can enjoy the spectacular vistas around Mt. Rainer. At each point where the trail splits, the separate trails will combine further up the mountain.

    Things to See

    The first viewpoint,located about one mile and one-half up the trail, is called Glacier Vista. About one-third mile beyond that, hikers can choose to hike to Panorama Point on the way to Camp Muir. After you leave Panorama Point, the trail weaves another two and one-half miles to Pebble Creek. Hikers must cross the creek to pick up the trail on the other side. The trail at the other side of the creek isn't much more than a boot path and is often covered in snow.

    Shelter

    Once hikers reach Camp Muir, hikers will find two rock shelters. One shelter was built in 1916 and houses professional guides who help hikers in trouble, and the other larger shelter is for campers. The larger stone structure is a communal bunkhouse that is open for anyone to use. If it is full, campers have been known to pitch their tents on the snowy field instead.

    About the Author

    Kimberly Turtenwald began writing professionally in 2000. She has written content for various websites, including Lights 2 You, Online Consultation, Corpus Personal Injury and more. Turtenwald studied editing and publishing at Wisconsin Lutheran College.

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