Camp Muir and Snow Chutes

Peak Summited2020 Camp Muir
Type of HikeDay hike
EncounteredWildflowers blooming
Hiking CompanionsHiked with a partner
Road ConditionsRoad suitable for all vehicles
Bug StatusNo bugs
Snow ConditionsTrail snow-covered at times - Gear and expertise recommended
Trail ConditionsTrail in good condition

Started at sunrise (5:45am) on Sunday, July 26. There were a handful of cars in the parking lot and sunny weather forecasted for days.

Within the first ½ mile, the trail was at least partially covered in snow.  Microspikes not necessarily, but they were helpful. My husband and I both wore running shoes covered in Scotchguard to make them waterproof and they worked fine. I used YakTrax from the first onset of snow, and my husband climbed 3/4 of the ascent before putting them on.

30 minutes into the hike you’ll see a beautiful waterfall cascading from Mt. Rainier’s glaciers.  Best viewpoint is at “Glacier Vista”, approx. 30-45 minutes into the ascent.

The trail splits at a point where we saw signs for “Camp Muir”, to the left and up, or “Skyline Trail”, straight. We look the Camp Muir route and detoured up the mountain at “Pebble Creek Trail”.  We missed the view at “Panorama Point”, but still saw incredible vistas the whole way.  Ultimately, you can go either way.

Passed the creek 1.5 hours in and climbed the Muir snowfield from there. We looked for previous footprints to avoid some hard ice sections but you can climb anywhere. Trekking poles help. It was slow and steady from there.

Warning: with 1 mile to climb, we really started slowing. The climb gets steeper and it felt like it was taking forever, and then we saw the bunks of Camp Muir.  I was ELATED at that point.  Seeing them really helped us finish strong and arrive after a 4 hour and 15 minute climb.

On the way down, we found as many chutes as possible to glissade and even made our own when it was steep enough. That was a highlight for me, as was seeing a glimpse of Mt. Rainier’s summit and expeditions leaving that day.

Our total time on the mountain was 7 hours and 20 minutes, although we stopped for 30 minutes at the top.

Felt so accomplished after this hike and can’t recommend it enough!!!!

Pro Tips:

• Bring a durable trash bag for glissading down
• Bring YakTrax and Trekking Poles (no crampons needed)
• Download your preferred Camp Muir trail map – we used the AllTrails topo file – and use GPS to ensure you’re staying on the right course (the only place you’ll get cell service is at Camp Muir, once you reach the top)


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