Trails for everyone, forever

Home Go Hiking Hiking Guide Carbon River to Ipsut Falls

Carbon River to Ipsut Falls

Mount Rainier Area

Location

Mount Rainier Area -- NW - Carbon River/Mowich
View map below

Length

10.8 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Rating

3.50 out of 5

(8 votes) Log in to rate
 
WTA worked here: 2019
 

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

National Park Pass
Trailhead access limited: The Fairfax Forest Reserve Road is closed just before the park entrance due to winter damage. Cars can park at the barrier and walk in.
 
 

Due to the permanent closure of the Carbon River Road, hikers can now park at the closure and venture to the end of the road to the viewpoint for Ipsut Falls. Along the way, marvel at magnificent old-growth forest, listen for the trilling of birdsong, and pause to take in the power of the Carbon River.

Just past the Carbon River Ranger Station, at the northwest entrance to Mount Rainier National Park, park your car and make your way along nearly six flat miles of old road, surrounded by greenery and the rushing of the river.

After hiking for just over three miles, a trail branches off to the right, leading to Green Lake. This is a nice 3.4 mile roundtrip hike offering a slightly steeper incline than the road you're currently hiking on, worth the side trip if you have the time.

On the Carbon River Road, continue straight on, and after another half-mile, come to a 0.2 mile spur trail for Chenius Falls. There is a good spot to stop for lunch here, if you're getting hungry.

From the junction for Chenius Falls, it's another one and a half miles to the Ipsut Creek campground. Pitch camp here, and then make the short 0.3 mile jaunt to view Ipsut Falls.

From the campground, it's possible to access Ipsut Pass and Tolmie Peak via the Wonderland Trail as it heads southwest. Another fork of the Wonderland heads southeast for 2.7 miles to a crossing of the Carbon River. Cross a large suspension bridge here and proceed another mile to set foot on the enormous Carbon Glacier.

WTA Pro Tip: Formerly a car campground, Ipsut Creek is a marvelously appointed backcountry camp, including bear boxes.

 

Carbon River to Ipsut Falls

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 46.9949, -121.9123 Open map in new window

Trailhead

Mount Rainier Area -- NW - Carbon River/Mowich

Mount Rainier National Park

See weather forecast

Getting There

From Puyallup, drive 13 miles east on State Route 410 to Buckley, then turn right onto SR 165. Proceed to the bridge over the Carbon River Gorge and then bear left to Mount Rainier National Park's Carbon River Entrance. Due to 2006 flood damage, it is now necessary to walk the road just inside the park boundary.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

National Park Pass
Trailhead access limited: The Fairfax Forest Reserve Road is closed just before the park entrance due to winter damage. Cars can park at the barrier and walk in.
 

You can improve or add to this guidebook entry

Carbon River to Ipsut Falls

257 Trip Reports

Hiked here recently?

Submit a trip report!
 
Trip Reports