Facts About Historic Glacier Basin Trail


The Glacier Basin Trail is a reasonable outback hiking trail that leads to Mount Rainer which is located in Washington. It begins at the upper end of the campgrounds of White River and snakes a path via the deep glacial valley. It is bordered by Burroughs Mountain and Mount Ruth, which are 7,828 feet and 8,690 feet respectively. It all culminates after moderately climbing for a couple of miles, at the base of Inter Glacier. This can be found on the northeast side of Mount Rainer.

Hikers are blessed with views of the largest glacier in the United States, Emmons Glacier, waterfalls, expansive fields of wildflowers. Plus, they also get to see Washington’s tallest mountain, once they continue to follow a half-mile spur path.

The Glacier Basin Trail Is Roughly 3.5 Miles Long

Starting at the head of the trail to the base of Inter Glacier it is approximately 3.5 miles. This makes the hike to be an even seven miles going and coming. The initial half of the hike is gentle with a moderate incline, however, around the 2.5-mile marker, it gets interesting. At the point where the Burroughs Mountain Trail intersects, the climbing starts to narrow occasionally and becomes steep. Even so, the trail is regularly hiked by families. Around four hours is the average time for the average hiker to make the trek.

It Follows An Abandoned Mining Road

The National Park Service states that during the late nineteenth century, the Glacier Basin was subject to the mining of copper. However, nothing of value commercially was mined and the efforts were eventually abandoned. The trail follows the abandoned road that once took the miners into the valley. As documented by Mount Rainer Tourism, the basin at one point had forty-one mining claims. The largest claim being Starbo Mine, which had its very own hotel and power plant. The mining company, Mount Rainer Mining continued operating up until 1984. This is an entire century after the park was officially established. As hikers trek along the trail, they can see rustic relics of the mountain’s mining history.

Mountain Goats Inhabit The Glacier Basin

Mountain climbers are not the only things clinging to the slopes of Mount Rainer and the peaks surrounding them. Utilizing their characteristic climbing capabilities are Mountain Goats foraging for lichen and moss. Hikers are able to spot them any time of the year, due to their undercoats equipping them for the high-altitude winters and cold. Also spotted on these peaks in the White River region are American dippers, black bears, deer, and Marmots.

A Range Of Ecosystems Are Traversed By The Trail<

The Glacier Basin Trail has been reported to experience each of the four seasons in one single day. This is all due to the changes in elevation. It starts among a dense floodplain woodland, then proceeds through damp, shady sections along the river, before opening up to vast subalpine meadows. The meadows are sprawled out across hillsides which explode with color during the springtime and summertime with wildflowers. Ahead a bit further on the trail, volcanic rock and ancient glaciers create another diverse ecosystem that has a total contrast.

Best Hiking Times Are June Through September

Mount Rainer National Park receives a vast amount of snow, sometimes hundreds of inches each year. This means that the condition of the trail could become very hazardous. The road taking hikers to White River Campground or the trailhead has a tendency of being closed during winter. The log footbridges regularly get washed away and the trail becomes dangerous and icy. Several of the low elevation hikes in the park remain practically free from snow through July to October. Making June to September the safest and best time to hike the Glacier Basin.

The Highest Point Of The Trail Is 5,590 Feet

On the whole, the Glacier Basin Trail involves the gradual climbing of hills. There is no crawling on all fours or scrambling up dangerously steep areas. However, the elevation gain of 1,700 feet in just seven miles is still comparable to Angels Landing. This legendary trail located in the Zion National Park is considered to be strenuous. Slightly less than the average height of the Appalachian Mountains is the highest point of the Glacier basin Trail at 5,950 feet.

Located On A Battleground

During the year 1854, prior to Washington becoming a state, the Nisqually people were stripped of their land. This happens as a treaty by then territory governor Isaac Stevens, negotiated this action that stole the farmland from the people. This treaty led to armed battles between the United States military and the Indigenous tribes in the area. The war lasted until 1956. It was referred to as Puget Sound War and took place where the glacier Basin is located in the White River Valley.