Trail Description Distance, round-trip: 15.8 miles Elevation gain: 3900 feet Hiking time, round-trip: 9 hours Wilderness camps: Yes Visiting Professors J. B. Fleet and H. H. Garretson named Mystic Lake after reportedly seeing a mysterious whirlpool near the lake's outlet. The Wonderland Trail toward Mystic Lake climbs gently for the first three miles. After crossing the Carbon River on a suspension bridge near the snout of the Carbon Glacier, the trail becomes steeper. It parallels the glacier, then zigzags up through the forest until it emerges from the trees into the narrow subalpine valley of lower Moraine Park. At 6.2 miles, the route enters the large open meadow of Moraine Park. Beyond the park the trail climbs up and down over two small wooded ridges.
After climbing the second ridge, the trail descends a short distance to Mystic Lake. Along the Trail This trail offers hikers a close-up look at the terminus of the Carbon Glacier, the lowest elevation glacier in the contiguous 48 states. From Moraine Park the views of Mount Rainier's precipitous north side are spectacular! Marmots, pikas and wildflowers abound in Moraine Park. Trailhead Location The trailhead is located at the road end at Ipsut Creek campground, five miles inside the northwest Carbon River Entrance to the park. Backpacking In a effort to preserve the shoreline of Mystic Lake, the camp is located along the Wonderland Trail in a forested area .3 mile downhill from the east end of the lake. The Mystic Lake patrol cabin is generally staffed by a ranger all summer, though not necessarily every day. Permits are required for camping. Permits and current trail conditions are available at park-wide from Wilderness Information Centers, Ranger Stations, and Visitor Centers. Treat water before drinking. Fires are prohibited. No pets on trails.