This long route connects the subalpine environs of Chinook Pass and Tipsoo Lake with the deep, lowland forests of the Ohanapecosh area. It is part of the East Side Loop trail, a long loop that hikers can enjoy in lieu of the Wonderland Trail.
Many hikers begin at the trail’s upper end and thru-hike this, though the logistics of a car shuttle for that can be tricky. Another option is to do this as a key swap.
Starting from the upper section, you'll be impressed by a prime example of a subalpine ecosystem as the trail winds through the meadows and patchy forest surrounding Tipsoo Lake. Once out of the Chinook Pass area, the trail follows Chinook Creek and the Ohanapecosh River.
Along the way, you'll enjoy outstanding examples of old-growth forest. These trees live in subalpine, mid- mountain, and lowland forest ecosystems, all of which you'll pass through on your hike. Enjoy the refreshing sights and sounds of numerous waterfalls cascading down the canyons, and the stunning alpine views of Rainier. Late-season hikers might hear elk bugling in the forest amidst colorful fall foliage.
As you near Ohanapecosh Campground, take the spur trail into the Grove of the Patriarchs to view a gorgeous grove of ancient trees -- some of them are more than a thousand years old.
If a thru-hike doesn't do it for you, it is possible to access the Eastside Trail using a variety of trailheads at several locations along its length. Grab a map and plan your outing, whether it's one, two, or multiple days.