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Glacier Basin Day Hike

Mount Rainier National Park

Day hike to and from the Glacier Basin Campground—not the full mountaineering ascent to the summit of Rainier.

Hiking Difficult

11 km
524 m
524 m
3-4 hrs
Low Point
1.3 km
High Point
1.8 km
Glacier Basin Day Hike Map

The Glacier Basin Trail begins at the White River Campground and heads straight toward Mount Rainier. In fact, this trail forms one of the primary options for an attempt on the summit of Rainier. However, note that if you plan to summit Rainier, you must be an experienced alpinist and be fully prepared for an alpine mountaineering expedition. Rather, the route mapped here is simply a day hike option on the Glacier Basin Trail that turns around before the going gets too technical.


Despite being a “mere” day hike, this out-and-back route is renowned as one of the best hikes in the stunning Mount Rainier National Park! Along the way, you’ll enjoy stunning views of Mount Rainier and "Emmons Glacier, the largest glacier in the lower 48 states,” according to the NPS. During the summer, the meadows along the trail are filled with vibrant wildflowers!

The turn around point for this day hike is the Glacier Basin Campground, a popular staging point for climbers attempting the summit of Rainier. Take a moment to sit here and enjoy the beauty of this epic mountain valley—it doesn’t get much more majestic than this!

Sources: https://www.planetware.com/washington/top-rated-hikes-in-mount-rainier-national-park-us-wa-114.htm https://www.nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/day-hiking-at-mount-rainier.htm



Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.


2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

between July and October


  • Alpine
  • Wildlife
  • Picturesque
  • Wild flowers

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area