Our final day required a four-mile climb out of Stevens Canyon, a stop at Reflection Lakes, the descending almost exactly the elevation we climbed to the Nisqually River and the Cougar Rock Picnic Area to complete our loop on the Wonderland Trail.
About a mile up the canyon we reached Sylvia Falls, though the forest was thick and it was difficult to get an unobstructed view of the falls.
We managed to navigate the washout section in Stevens Canyon — arguably the sketchiest part of the entire Wonderland Trail when we hiked it. There was a detour available that involved road walking, but we managed just fine with our trekking poles to help.
At two miles we reached Martha Falls at Unicorn Creek.
We crossed the creek and climbed another 1/2 mile to Stevens Canyon Road. The trail crosses the road (watch for cars) and continues climbing to Reflection Lakes.
The “trail” skirts the parking area and then follows along the shore of the lake before crossing back over Stevens Canyon Road and starting our final downhill, dropping 1,800 feet over three miles to the Nisqually River.
There were a lot of day hikers exploring along the Nisqually. We had to wait (patiently?) to cross as a family took multiple selfies on the bridge that stood between us and the end of the trail. Once we crossed, it was all smiles and a short walk to the Cougar Rock Picnic Area parking.
Our 13-day thru-hike of the Wonderland Trail was complete! We experienced a little bit of everything on this trail, and after changing into some clean clothes, we headed to the nearest town for a well-earned pizza.
Maple Creek to Cougar Rock Trail Map and Elevation Profile
Originally hiked on August 17, 2019 with Derek and Jason. Also note that Longmire is technically 1.5 miles further down the trail. We were thankful that we hiked that mileage on Day 1.
Rick Nelson says
Hi Jeff, I did the WT in ’01 with 4 Teacher collegues in 11 nights. Great views; not easy; memorable. It was more strenuous than my 2 summit climbs. Son, Jeff, completed WT last year in 9 nights. Thanks for sharing ! Wonderful photos!!!