About this site

Thanks for stopping by.

As a Washington State native, I count myself fortunate to have spent much of my life in a place so rugged and worthy of exploration. Guidebooks and maps were always an integral part of my life. During the cold and wet winters of the Olympic Peninsula, I often found myself feasting on trail guides and methodically planning the next summer’s backpacking trips.

This site began unintentionally when I took my first photograph of Mount Rainier's Wonderland Trail in 1998. Over the next ten years I grew to know the Wonderland Trail well and built up what was becoming an excessive collection of photographs and trail notes. Hiking Cowlitz Divide early one morning in 2009, the idea hatched for this site. I intended it to be a simple tour of the Wonderland Trail, but what resulted amounted to a guidebook instead. After six years of correspondance with readers, I realized that there are a lot of people here with similar interests and also unique perspectives and experiences to contribute. In 2015 I decided to open up this site to allow more community input.

Not all of the visitors here are looking for info on the Wonderland Trail but have come here to read about backpacking. Because of this I've begun publishing some of my notes on other epic trails and the practice of backpacking in general. To reflect this broader focus, I've changed the site name from WonderlandTrailGuide.com to simply WonderlandGuides.com.

WonderlandGuides.com is dedicated to the community of backpackers and friends of trails that explore the wild spaces of great American wonderlands.

I hope you find it useful in learning more about backpacking and planning a trip. I want this site to be the best resource possible for you and the community and I invite you to help me make this an even better place. You can contribute by sharing your trip reports with other readers, joining in the coversation, providing feedback on articles, and notifying me of any factual errors or mistakes you find.

This site is largely a volunteer effort. I would love to dedicate more time to building outstanding resources for the community here, but I'm restricted by the time I have and the costs of web and content development. I'm working on a few things that can help me to afford spending more time here though. I've built Blue Moon Deals which finds hidden overstocked inventory deals on Amazon. If you enjoy this site and want to support Wonderland Guides, please check out Blue Moon Deals. I think you'll be surprised at some of the deals it uncovers and the money it can save you. If you think it's as great as I do, share it with your friends and family. Your help will go a long way in making Wonderland Guides a better place. Thank you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Many of the questions I get from this site are on the same topics. Please review these frequently asked questions and answers before writing.

I missed the deadline for early reservations.  Can you help me get reservations? How likely is it that I can get a walk-in permit?

I can’t help with reservations or most questions about reservations. In years past, walk-in permits were often easy to come by, but now the Wonderland Trail is an increasingly popular destination, and permits are in high demand. Contact Mount Rainier National Park for the best information on permits.

I’m flying to the Pacific Northwest.  How can I get to Mount Rainier without renting a car?

In a nutshell, you’ll either need to arrange private transportation with a cab, negotiate a ride with a private party, or rent a car for the entire period of your hike.  It is quite challenging to get to the park without a car. If this situation changes, I'll update this as soon as I find out.

I’m trying to reach someone who’s currently hiking the trail. Can you help me get someone a message?

Contact the Mount Rainier National Park service if you need to reach someone on the trail due to an emergency. The department has systems in place for dealing with all types of situations, including reaching hikers in the backcountry. The author of this website does not have any ability to help with this or any other emergency situation in the park.

Can I reuse your photos?

Please contact me. Explicit permission is required before repurposing my photos on the web or in print.