Route: Wonderland Trail – Westside Section – Mowich Lake To Longmire (Plus Side Trips)
Distance: 38.5 (Around 35 Miles On The Wonderland Trail)
Longest Day: 11.3 Miles
Campsites: Mowich Lake, Golden Lakes, Klapatche Park, Devils Dream
Update (8-10-2014): Due to high temps and melting snow there has been reports on NWHikers that the Mowich Bridges may be out possibly adding a sketchy ford. Please always check trail conditions with a Backcountry Ranger before attempting any hike.
Dad and I were lucky once again this year and got a permit for the section of the Wonderland Trail that we wanted. Even better we got the camps we requested. We left a car down at Longmire and then Mom drove us up a couple of days later and dropped us off to camp at Mowich Lake so that we could get an early start on the first day of our hike.
Night Before (7-15):
We camped the night before our trip at the Mowich Lake Campground. It was a hot night and the campground is like camping in a parking lot, but it meant we could get a early start the next morning.
Mowich Lake to Golden Lakes (7-16):
The trail from Mowich Lake to Golden Lakes was in a good shape. All bridges were in and the trail was snow free. The weather was HOT. Once at the lakes we took a swim in the lakes and then found an old trail down to one of the lower lakes. We then went up to a open spot between campsites 4 and 5 and watched the sun set over the Olympic Mountains.
Golden Lakes to Klapatche Park (7-17):
The trail from Golden Lakes to Klapatche was mostly in good condition and it was another hot day. However, the climb up from North Puyallup River Camp to Klapatche Park was steep and a good deal of the trail was overgrown with brush. Snow covered the trail for the last 100 yards coming up the hill into Klapatche Park. We were the only ones in Kapatche Park for about 3 hours until another pair of hikers showed up. We took the time to go swimming in Aurora Lake which was surprisingly warm. Before dinner we made a trip up to St. Andrews Lake which has not melted out yet.
Klapatche Park to Devils Dream (7-18):
The trail up from Klapatche Park was mostly covered in snow. In fact there was snow for around another mile past St. Andrews Lake. Some minimal route finding was required as footprints had melted out since the last hikers had gone through. The climb out of South Puyallup River Camp to Emerald Ridge seemed to never end, but the view was stunning. The suspension bridge was… interesting. The best part though was running into Lee Jacobson (@onewhohikes) at Indian Henry’s Hunting Ground and getting to spend some time with a fellow hiker from twitter. He camped with us and hiked out with us on our final day.
Devils Dream To Longmire (With Paradise Side Trip) (7-19):
We woke up in the morning and hiked out. The trail from Devil’s Dream to Longmire was in perfect condition except for some bugs. Sadly, The Mountain hid from us as we walked out. As soon as we got into Longmire though we could see it poking through the trees so we decided a “short” trip up to Paradise was in order. Naturally, The Mountain showed itself almost the whole way up, but from Paradise it was completely blocked by clouds. After getting a good laugh from Lee Jacobson (@onewhohikes) we said goodbye and walked around the visitor’s center for a few minutes and then headed back down the road. 1 mile from Paradise we were greeted with an amazing view of The Mountain in all it’s glory. A perfect ending to a great trip.