Seattle Washington is famous for grey skies and drizzling rain all year around. But is it so? Nah! Visit to Naches Peak Loop will make you rethink again about that. Summer Blue Skies in Pacific North West are the best time to enjoy the hiking, backpacking and camping adventures with family. Summer and early Falls is the perfect time to see natural colors of wildflowers and alpine vegetation.
Naches Peak Loop trail is popular among visitors and hikers for wild flower bloom in July, August till Late summers. The eye-catching carpet of purple lupines, white purple chamomiles, huckleberries and other colorful flowers among green vegetation is breath taking. Naches Peak Loop trail stands out among other trails at Mount Rainier because of the scenic vistas with epic view of snow capped Mount Rainier, meadows, streams and sub alpines lakes.
Where is Naches Peak Loop Trail Head?
To reach Naches Peak Loop trail head, you need to drive to Tipsoo Lake near Chinook Pass on Mather Memorial Parkway that’s on eastern boundary of Mount Rainier National Park. Tipsoo lake is famous attraction at Mount Rainier that is most photographed landscapes in Washington all year around.
May it be fully covered with white snow in Winter or booming with greenery in Summer or popping with colors in Falls, it is Photographer’s Paradise. Visitors spend most of the time taking pictures around crystal clear water of Tipsoo lake enjoying the scenic beauty.
For hiking Naches Peak loop trail, you can park at Tipsoo lake picnic area parking lot. As the trail is a loop you need to decide whether you want to do it clockwise or anticlockwise.
Last year during Falls, We hiked the Naches Peak Loop trail for first time from Tipsoo Lake in anti clock wise direction. So we know we had view of Mount Rainier on our shoulders every time. Below two photos from last year memories.
It is recommended to hike the trail in clockwise direction to get the best views of Mount Rainier along the trail for most of the time. So this time we were careful to start the trail in clockwise direction. From Tipsoo Lake, Follow the uphill trail towards Chinook Pass and cross a wooden bridge over SR 410 and continue on the Pacific Crest trail.
In summer it is hard to find parking spot at famous attractions in Mount Rainier unless you arrive early or wait some time to find one. Second option is to drive on SR 410 ahead to Chinook Pass and park at Sheep Lake and Sourdough Gap Trail head parking lot and walk over a quarter mile back to wooden bridge entrance of Mount Rainier.
Hike to Naches Peak Loop
The trail starts by crossing the wooden bridge and you will notice sign board for Pacific Crest Trail. You are on right trail. Pacific Crest Trail takes to the Naches Peak and then intersects with Naches Peak Loop trail.
We hiked this trail in our recent visit to Mount Rainier in month of August. By this time the snow melts away leading the way for wildflowers to grow. The trail starts with easy going tons of scenic views of valley, SR 410 road and wonderful sub alpine greenery.
Trail Head: Tipsoo Lake Picnic Area or Chinook Pass or Sheep Lake and Sourdough Gap Trail head
Trail Feature: Wildflowers, Alpine Meadows, Lakes, Views of Mount Rainier
Elevation gain: 660 feet
Difficulty Level: Easy
Distance Round trip: 3.5 miles
Best time to go: July – Early November( Peak Falls)
Going little uphill, you get to see the views of wildflowers bloomed. In no time you reach the lake that has no name but the view across the lake is pretty. This spot is famous among visitors looking for short walk to scenic and photogenic sub alpine lake. For families with small children or older grand parents, this is popular point to take a break, enjoy the beauty and then turn around back to trail head.
Visitors love to take a dip in to lake water on sunny days. Moving ahead on the trail, you gain some elevation and you reach famous lookout point for Lake Dewey with mountain ranges in background. This is beautiful point to enjoy a short break to have a snack while viewing the blue waters of the Dewey lake.
After Dewey lake view point, The Pacific Crest Trail splits in to two trails. One trail goes down to Dewey Lake and the second trail up towards Naches peak loop. If you are looking for more adventure, you can take Dewey Lake trail.
We continued on Naches Peak loop trail. The trail crosses some rocky sections and you are on elevated ground. The dazzling view of snowcapped Mount Rainier comes in to sight and continues to remain in sight for rest of the trail until you reach trail head.
Proceeding on the trail, there is one more lake that is unnamed but is famous for photographers to capture the reflection of Mount Rainier into lake waters. By the time we reached there the clouds were covering up the beauty – Mount Rainier.
On Sunny day with clear skies, this view is blessing to the hikers and visitors. Sometimes Mount Rainier Lovers like me have to wait for hours to get this view. If you don’t get the view of Mount Rainier then this trail won’t disappoint you. Bloomed colorful Wildflowers, sub alpine lakes and green valley make the place vibrant with scenic views. We were feeling like having a walk in to the kingdom of flowers.
Remember to bring some sandwiches or snacks to sit and enjoy the mesmerizing view of Mount Rainier. Naches Peak Loop is perfect for day trip to Mount Rainier for an easy hike with stunning scenery that can be done with family with young children.
Mount Rainier National Park is one of my favorites park that I love visiting number of times. The Park has got thousand of trails that features various hiking trail options of Waterfalls, Fire Lookout Towers, wildflowers alpine meadows, wooden log bridges, rivers, valleys, stunning scenic vistas with panoramic views of snow cloaked Mount Rainier and surrounding glaciers.
There are many famous attractions to see in Mount Rainier National Park during first visit. If you are planning for day trip to the Park, then do read on “Must Visit Places at Mount Rainier National Park”
Entry to Mount Rainier National Park is not free except few days in a year. Do check the site for Free Entrance days in the National Park . If you are a National Park lover like me, then I would suggest getting the Interagency Annual pass “America the Beautiful” that lets you visit multiple destinations across the country for unlimited visits.
Have you been to Naches Peak Loop in Summer season or in Falls? Feel free to comment below to tell your experience hiking the trail.
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