The bloom of wildflowers on Naches Peak Loop is the #1 draw to this trail. An extraordinary carpet of purple lupines and other colorful flowers appearing along this trail each summer. The fact that Naches Peak Loop stands out among other trails in Mount Rainier National Park, which has lots of great places to see wildflowers, tells you that this trail is something special. The 3.75-mile hike with 575 feet of gradual elevation gain passes more than just flowers. There are streams, subalpine lakes, and views of snow-capped Mount Rainier. Loop it up!
Make your way to the eastern boundary of Mount Rainier National Park and begin hiking along the banks of Tipsoo Lake, a crystal clear pool so alluring some hikers never make it up the trail. Naches Peak Loop is best attempted in a clockwise direction to avoid hiking with Mount Rainier over your shoulder.
Take the single track north up the grassy slope to the left of the lake. Pass through a belt of trees to reach a trail junction alongside Route 410. Turn right and cross the road, joining the Pacific Crest Trail as it heads east out of Mount Rainier National Park. The trailhead is also along Route 410, below a horseshoe bend in the road. The trail crosses the road above the bend at Chinook Pass.
Follow the Pacific Crest Trail into Wenatchee National Forest and William O. Douglas Wilderness. Streams pour over the trail throughout the next mile as you cross a mountainside with loads and loads of bright flowers like western columbine, indian paintbrush, subalpine daisies, pasqueflower and the almost omnipresent broadleaf lupine.
Beyond a pond bordered by boulders and pines, the trail progresses southward, climbing around Naches Peak for a view of Dewey Lake, cradled in an evergreen valley to the east.
The loop swings west and reenters the national park as Mount Rainier appears. The snow-topped volcano hovers on the horizon for the rest of the loop. Look at the mountain or look at the flowers, it’s your choice over the final 1.75 miles. Descend back to Tipsoo Lake, cross Route 410, and walk down the lakeside path to return to the trailhead.
The trailhead has picnic tables and bathrooms. Wildflower picking is prohibited. An entrance fee may be charged to access Naches Peak Loop in Mount Rainier National Park, but no permit is required to hike the trail.
To get to the trailhead: Take Route 410 (Mather Memorial Parkway) to the picnic area on the north side of the road half a mile southwest of Chinook Pass. From Sunrise, drive 15 miles down the mountain on Sunrise Road, turn south on Route 140 and drive 3.5 miles to the junction with Route 123 at Cayuse Pass. The intersection is 11 miles north of Stevens Canyon Road for those coming from Paradise or Ohanapecosh. From the intersection with Route 123, Continue east for 2.9 miles on Route 410 to the Tipsoo Lake Picnic Area on the left.
Trailhead address: Washington Route 410, Mount Rainier National Park, Enumclaw, WA 98022
Trailhead coordinates: 46.869727, -121.520033 (46° 52′ 11.01″N 121° 31′ 12.11″W)
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|Camping in and around Mount Rainier |
Information on the developed campgrounds in Mount Rainier National Park as well as places to camp in the surrounding national forest.