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Northern Loop

Difficult

Trail

16.0 mile 25.7 kilometer point to point
74% Runnable
Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 6,777' 2,066 m
Descent: -3,649' -1,112 m
High: 6,403' 1,952 m
Low: 2,913' 888 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 12% (7°)
Max Grade: 73% (36°)

Dogs

No Dogs
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Map Key

Trail shared by Tom Robson

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

Tom Robson

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.

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Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 5 votes

#5493

Overall
  4.6 from 5 votes
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Trail Rankings

#236

in Washington

#5,493

Overall
21 Views Last Month
1,769 Since Mar 5, 2015
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Photos

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
This was one third of the White River crossing (July 1, 2017). Head upstream once you've crossed the first section and look for shallow areas. Trekking poles and good footing is critical!
Jul 7, 2017 near Buckley, WA
On July 1, 2017 the trail was still beneath snow with no visible foot traffic. Proceed with caution!
Jul 7, 2017 near Buckley, WA
Suspension bridge in Spray Park Loop
Sep 7, 2018 near Greenwater, WA

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