Trail Description Distance, round-trip: Approximately 16 road miles + 5 trail miles = 21 miles Elevation gain: 1700 feet on the trail itself + much more on the road Hiking time, round-trip: 2 days Wilderness camps: Klapatche Park This high meadow is a favorite for many hikers. It is surmised that the name Klapatche is of Indian origin but the exact meaning has been lost. The trail climbs steadily for a mile and a half through mature forest to the crest of Klapatche Ridge. Following the crest, the trail ascends from the forest into the open meadows of Klapatche Park and Aurora Lake at the Wonderland Trail junction. To the right, the Wonderland Trail climbs gradually .75 mile to St. Andrews Park and more spectacular views. Along the Trail A serene mountain lake, meadows abundant with subalpine wildflowers, slopes dotted with mountain goats, breathtaking views of Mount Rainier and incomparable sunsets - such is the scene along the way to Klapatche Park.
Trailhead Location One mile east of the Nisqually Entrance is the Westside Road junction. Turn here and continue up the Westside Road to where it ends (approximately 3 miles from the start of the road). Hike up the closed portion of the road to the trailhead (approximately 8 miles) at St. Andrews Creek. Also at this trailhead is a short (.5 mile round-trip) hike to beautiful Denman Falls. Backpacking The campsites at Klapatche Park are some of the most popular in the park and are often full on summer weekend nights. The camp is in the forest along the edge of the meadow just north of Aurora Lake. When Aurora Lake dries up in summer, St. Andrews Lake, located .75 mile east along the Wonderland Trail, is the closest water source. Permits are required for camping. Permits and current trail conditions are available park-wide from Wilderness Information Centers, Ranger Stations, and Visitor Centers. Fires are prohibited. No pets on trails. Treat water before drinking.