Hike description: This multi-lake hike at Mount Rainier National Park offers several options depending on the ages and stamina of your group. Each lake beckons you to drop your pack, enjoy the view and even dip your toes. The trail is worth doing early in the season when the wild flowers are out and again toward the end of the season when fall is in the air.
From the parking lot, cross the road and head northeast along a short ridge. The trail immediately drops down and at 1/2 mile passes Sunrise Lake. In another mile is Clover Lake. About two more miles brings you to Tom, Dick and Harry Lakes and the signed side trail to Hidden Lake. Continue one last mile to Upper Palisades Lake, a great lunch and wading spot as you admire the Palisades rock formations. One fall we sat by the lake eating lunch, watching a bear ambling along the hillside above us, having its lunch, watching us eating our lunch, watching. Another time bugling elk were heard in the meadows. Marmots and picas can also be seen or heard in this area. Take your time, enjoy the wildflowers on an early hike and come back later for a hike with fall colors. You’ll gain 700 feet on the way in and 900 feet on the way out on this trail.
Directions: Drive Highway 410 about 43 miles east of Enumclaw. Turn right at the park’s White River entrance. Take the road 10.5 miles to the Sunrise Point parking area and viewpoint and the trailhead for this trip. The trailhead is across the road where it makes a hairpin turn.
Difficulty rating: 3 (1 is easiest, 5 is most difficult)
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Miles round-trip: 8.5 Elevation: 900 feet Best time of year: July to October
Map: Green Trails 270 - Mount Rainier East Pass: Mt. Rainier National Park annual or day pass
Also: Elevation at the trailhead is 6,100 feet; start out slowly to give your body a chance to adjust to the thinner air. Restrooms are at the White River entrance and further up the road at Sunrise. Camping at Dick Lake or Upper Palisades Lake requires a backcountry permit, obtainable at the White River Entrance or online. Cute as they are, as close as they will come to you, it is important to resist the temptation to feed the wildlife (it is a ticketable offense) or even get close to them. Their survival depends on their remaining wild and not getting accustomed to human food or humans. Always carry the 10 essentials and adequate food and water for your hike.
Info: Mount Rainier National Park, www.nps.gov/mora; “Day Hiking Mount Rainier,” Mountaineers Books
Hike of the Week is presented by The Mountaineers Tacoma Branch Hiking/Backpacking Committee. For other hikes, visit www.thenewstribune.com/hiking.