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Northern Loop

Difficult
 4.6 (5)

Work your way through the most pristine wilderness in the park on this long distance trail.


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Map Key

16.0

Miles

25.7

KM

Point to Point

6,403' 1,952 m

High

2,913' 888 m

Low

6,777' 2,066 m

Up

3,649' 1,112 m

Down

12%

Avg Grade (7°)

73%

Max Grade (36°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildlife

Permits are required for camping. Permits and current trail conditions are available at park-wide from wilderness information centers, ranger stations, and visitor centers.

Description

From Wonderland Trail, head north along the shores of the Carbon River. Eventually you'll reach a junction with Northern Loop Spur, turn right here. Then begins a series of steep switchbacks, climbing 3,000 vertical feet, mostly in cool forest. Pass Yellowstone Cliffs campsite, with views of Tyee Peak and the Yellowstone Cliffs. Continue onto to Windy Gap, at an elevation of 5,600 feet.

A few hundred yards beyond the top of Windy Gap, a side trail leads to Natural Bridge, a short 1.75 mile round trip.

The Northern Loop trail descends 1,400 feet in two miles from Windy Gap to a camp at Lake James, at 4,370 feet.

From Lake James, the route drops to a crossing of the West Fork of the White River, then climbing 2,500 feet towards Grand Park. Along the climb at 4.5 miles, a side trail leads to Fire Creek Camp. At 6 miles from Lake James is a junction with Grand Park Trail. Continue right for another 3 miles to a camp in lower Berkeley Park. From Berkeley Park Camp, climb 1 mile through meadows to a final junction with the Wonderland Trail.

Contacts

Shared By:

Tom Robson

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 5 votes

#5698

Overall
  4.6 from 5 votes
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Trail Rankings

#253

in Washington

#5,698

Overall
51 Views Last Month
1,872 Since Mar 5, 2015
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Photos

Carbon River Suspension Bridge – Wonderland Trail to Carbon Camp (from the north) is closed due to a trail washout (July 2017).
Jul 7, 2017 near Buckley, WA
In the early summer, this can often be the best way to cross the White River.
Jul 7, 2017 near Buckley, WA
Mount Rainier really shines from the Northern Loop just past the Lake Eleanor Trail junction.
Jul 7, 2017 near Buckley, WA
Mount Rainier stands upstream of the Wonderland Trail-Northern Loop intersection.
Jul 7, 2017 near Buckley, WA
Heading up to Windy Gap, enjoy this phenomenal view!
Jul 7, 2017 near Buckley, WA
Enjoy gorgeous views along the Northern Loop.
Jul 7, 2017 near Buckley, WA

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Current Trail Conditions

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Minor Issues 4 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Jun 30, 2017
Alex Kauer
Northern Loop from Sunrise, up Sourdough Ridge, entire northern loop, plus backtracking, getting lost in Windy Gap, Wonderland back to Sunrise 37mi — 84h 00m
Apr 20, 2016
Badbad Leroy Brown