The first mile-long stretch of trail travels across the Kautz Creek mudflow, which was formed in 1947 from sediment and boulders deposited by a glacial flood. Another flood-of-the-century charged through in November 2006. After a mile, cross Kautz Creek on a split-log footbridge—clear days reveal 14,410-foot Mount Rainier rising dramatically behind the creek.
The trail steepens at this point and climbs several switchbacks that zigzag above the creek. After five miles, cruise across wildflower-filled meadows beneath Mount Ararat, then head northwest on Wonderland Trail to the Mirror Lakes spur trail. Follow this 0.6-mile path to a small group of lakes tucked beneath South Tahoma Glacier. No camping allowed.
Editor’s Note: Floods in 2006 might have slightly altered the route identified on our map.
INFO For information on permits, current trail and camp conditions, and wilderness guidelines, go to nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/wilderness-camping-and-hiking.htm.
PERMIT A wilderness permit is required for all overnight camping in the backcountry. Reservations requests accepted by fax or mail, starting on March 15th of each year ($20/reservation). Download form at nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/wilderness-reservation-information.htm.
CONTACT Mt. Rainier National Park, (360) 569-2211; nps.gov/mora