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Wonderland Trail Day 1: Longmire to Devil’s Dream

Looking up at Mount Rainier as we cross Kautz Creek

Your Wonderland Trail permit states where you sleep at night, but not which trailhead you start from. Rather than starting at Longmire, we opted to head up the road to the Cougar Rock Picnic Area where there was plenty of parking. It also meant that our first mile would actually be forested and downhill to Longmire, providing a nice warm-up for the day. Had we been able to start a little earlier, we might’ve even opted to park at Reflection Lake and start from there, to make that last day hike a little shorter.

Day 1: Devil's Dream
Distance: 8.7 miles
Time: 4.75 hours
Difficulty: Strenuous
Elevation +/-: 2,515’/782′
The first 1.4 miles were downhill to Longmire, and the trail had plenty of day hikers. This section of the trail was forested, with peek-a-boo views of the Nisqually River on our left. Having spent enough time in Longmire already, we carefully crossed Longmire-Paradise Road and started our first uphill grind on the eastern flank of The Ramparts. The trail climbs nearly 1,000 feet in a mile, then more gradually before dipping down to cross Kautz Creek.

Looking up at Mount Rainier as we cross Kautz Creek
We are hiking around that?!
The first of about 1,000 bridges on the Wonderland Trail
Jason crosses bridge number 1 of 1000

At about mile five we passed the first camp on the trail, Pyramid Creek Camp, and after crossing the creek, began climbing in earnest again. The trail is forested and the tread perfectly padded with pine needles as you climb another 1,100 vertical feet to our destination: Devil’s Dream Camp.

Perfectly padded tread on the Wonderland Trail
Perfectly padded tread

There are seven individual camp sites and one group site, as well as an outhouse with four walls and a door (a luxury as we learned). Devil’s Dream has a reputation for having a lot of mosquitos, but luckily the weren’t bad when we were there.

Unfortunately, the closest water source is another 1/2 mile up the trail, so after setting up camp, Derek and I took our Sea-to-Summit buckets (highly recommended) up to Squaw Lake, where we discovered an intolerable number of mosquitos. We hoofed it back to camp for dinner, adding another mile to our total for the day.

Longmire to Devil’s Dream Map and Elevation Profile

Download file: day-1-cougar-rock-to-devils-dream-8519-23825pm(cleaned).gpx

Originally hiked on August 5, 2019 with Jason and Derek.

Continue to Day 2: Devil’s Dream to North Puyallup River

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