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Tolmie Lookout via Eunice Lake Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Fay Peak and Mowich Lake (bobcat)
Lupine and Eunice Lake (bobcat)
The Tolmie Peak Lookout above Eunice Lake (bobcat)
Mt. Rainier from Eunice Lake (bobcat)
Trail to the lookout shown in red (bobcat)
  • Start point: Mowich Lake Trailhead
  • Ending Point: Tolmie Peak Lookout
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 6.6 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1640 feet
  • High Point: 5,930 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Mid-summer to early Fall
  • Family Friendly: Yes, for older kids
  • Backpackable: Yes
  • Crowded: Somewhat

Contents

Hike Description

This hike out of the Mowich Lake Trailhead in Mt. Rainier National Park is the little sister to the popular and crowded Spray Park Hike. After walking through slope forest from the limpid shores of Mowich Lake, you switchback up to Eunice Lake, a quiet alpine expanse nestled below steep crags. From here, you can continue another mile, switchbacking up to Tolmie Peak Lookout and its spectacular view of Mount Rainier.

From the parking area, take the Wonderland Trail around the west shore of Mowich Lake, getting views of Castle Peak across the lake and Mount Rainier through the trees. Little peninsulas jut out into the glassy waters and lush meadows blooming with heliotrope, lousewort, groundsel, lupine, lovage and magenta paintbrush set off the mountain hemlock woodlands. Keep close to the shore of the lake. Several spur trails lead left to the road. Switchback up to a low ridge and then make two switchbacks down. There’s a long traverse in mountain hemlock, silver fir and noble fir woods to the Wonderland-Tolmie Peak Trail Junction. Go right here about 70 yards to Ipsut Pass and a view down the rugged Ipsut Creek valley before returning to the junction.

Take up the Tolmie Peak Trail, which is sometimes rather rubbly as it drops below basalt cliffs. The trail then begins to rise below an andesite formation and you make five big switchbacks. At one, you may get a glimpse of a seasonal waterfall early in the summer. The trail rises to Eunice Lake, snuggly ensconced below the cliffs and scree of Tolmie Peak. Smooth, glaciated boulders lead to its shores. Several spur trails lead right to the shore. Among the boulders, lewisia blooms, and lupine, partridge foot and paintbrush thrive in small meadows. There are only partial views of Mount Rainier from the lake although as you get higher on the main trail, the views get better.

Reenter woods and make three big switchbacks up. The trail takes you up along the ridge above Eunice Lake to the Tolmie Peak Lookout, from which the view to Mount Rainier is spectacular. Also look straight across to Mt. Howard, east to Tolmie Peak, and down the Carbon River valley and take in Mount Saint Helens, Mount Baker and Glacier Peak among the jumbled summits of the North Cascades. The lookout is rarely staffed, but if it is you may get to enter. Camping is not permitted up here.


Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • $25 National Park 7-day pass
  • No dogs on trails
  • Designated campsites only

Maps

  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • National Park Service: Mount Rainier
  • Green Trails Maps: Mount Rainier Wonderland #269S
  • Green Trails Maps: Mount Rainier West #269
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this destination

  • 50 Hikes in Mount Rainier National Park by Ira Spring & Harvey Manning
  • 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Seattle by Andrew Weber & Bryce Stevens
  • Day Hike! Mount Rainier by Ron C. Judd
  • Best Easy Day Hikes: Mount Rainier National Park by Heidi Schneider & Mary Skjelset
  • Best Short Hikes in Washington's South Cascades & Olympics by E.M. Sterling & Ira Spring
  • Washington Hiking by Scott Leonard
  • Pacific Northwest Hiking by Scott Leonard & Megan McMorris
  • Day Hiking: Mount Rainier by Dan Nelson & Alan Bauer
  • Washington: The Creaky Knees Guide by Seabury Blair, Jr.
  • Best Hikes With Kids: Western Washington and the Cascades by Joan Burton
  • Exploring Washington's Wild Areas by Marge & Ted Mueller

More Links

Page Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.