The hike to Camp Muir is a bucket list destination for any hiker looking to push their limits while visiting Mount Rainier National Park. However, due to how Mt. Rainier is situated, there aren’t too many challenging hikes outside of summiting or doing a multi-day hike on the Wonderland Trail. This is where the hike to Camp Muir comes in and why it’s one of the top Mount Rainier hikes.
Furthermore, it’s also as high as you can get on Mount Rainier without summiting either Rainier or Little Tahoma. Overall, it’s not so much a challenging hike but drains you throughout the trek up. At four miles up and over 4,600 feet of elevation gain – most of it in the snow – the views get better with each tired step on the Camp Muir hike.
What you need to know to Hike to Camp Muir
Quick Camp Muir Hike Details
- Length: 8 miles round trip
- Elevation: 4,660 feet
- Difficulty: Strenuous
- Highest Elevation: 10,060
- Starting Elevation: 5,400
What to bring for your Camp Muir Hike
You don’t need any fancy gear to hike to Camp Muir.
Before beginning your trek up, make sure to get your necessities. First, download the route to your phone. While it’s pretty easy to head up, you don’t want to get caught traveling on a glacier. (It was the most significant thing the rangers told us not to do.)
Next is to make sure you have the proper gear. This includes microspikes, hiking poles (or an ice ax), gaiters to keep the snow out, and something to glissade down on the way back. Lastly, bring enough food and water (though there are spots to fill up after Panorama Point – but you’ll want a water filter).
The Camp Muir Hike
Making your way up to Panorama Point Below Camp Muir
The first half of the hike to Camp Muir will likely be crowded as you’re hiking through the throngs of casual Paradise visitors. Many of those will be going to Panorama Point, a popular two-mile destination with incredible 360-degree views. Once beyond, the crowds will thin, and you can enjoy the views for yourself.
With Panorama Point behind you, your hike will most likely be all in the snow. (Seasonal weather will undoubtedly vary.) However, it’s also where the views will become exponentially better. As you continue up, you’ll begin to be able to make out Camp Muir vaguely, but it’ll seem like Mount Rainier’s base camp never wants to get any closer.
Snow Travel for your Hike to Camp Muir
The snow will determine how fast you move depending on the time of day you go. For example, when I went, we started in the early afternoon in the middle of July, and the snow was slushy as we went up. So if you begin the hike to Camp Muir in the morning, you’ll likely be able to move quicker on the harder snow.
Once at the ‘top,’ you’ll hopefully have unparalleled views toward the south of Mt. Adams, Mt. Saint Helens, and Mt. Hood, while Mt. Rainier will be towering down on you. You’ll also see the tents of those preparing to summit Rainier. We even met a fellow University of Arizona graduate. Such a small world!
Coming down from your Camp Muir Hike
After a long trip up, there’s nothing better than glissading down. I swear it’s why we all hike up in the first place.
Ideally, you’d have some plastic thing to sit on, though you won’t want to lug up a saucer. We saw people with garbage bags and another tandem with a small plastic saucer that folded up – but I’m not sure how it worked logistically.
If you don’t have either, you can get creative or do what we did and slide down on your butts in pants. However, I will note that it got cold really fast.
You know you’re minutes from being done with your Camp Muir hike by the time you hit the pavement.
Wrapping up – The Camp Muir Hike
While you will feel delighted to be done, some of you will miss the feeling of being so close to Tahoma. Don’t worry; it’s a feeling everyone has once they get back to Paradise after their hike to Camp Muir.
Just know the mountain will be there again for a future adventure.
Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.
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