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Lakes Loop

Mount Rainier Area

Location

Mount Rainier Area -- SW - Longmire/Paradise
View map below

Length

5.25 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 1550 ft.
Highest Point: 5800 ft.

Rating

3.86 out of 5

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WTA worked here: 2015
 

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

National Park Pass
 
 

Explore this loop that begins and ends at the popular Paradise Ranger Station on Mount Rainier. Hike a little more than five miles around and through a myriad of delightful lakes at the base of Washington's tallest volcano.

Begin by heading downhill on the Lakes Trail, away from the Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center. At .57 mile you will come to a junction with the Narada Falls Trail. At just 1.2 miles round trip, Narada Falls offers a nice add-on if your group wants to add some mileage. If not, the falls are accessible from the Paradise-Longmire Road if you want to visit it on the way out of the park.

Continue past the Narada Falls trail junction and soon cross the Paradise Valley Road. Just 0.3 miles after crossing the road, arrive at another junction, this one for the High Lakes Trail. This shortcut meets up with the Lakes Trail at its west end. Taking the shortcut shaves off nearly a mile of trail, but hikers who elect to take this route miss out on intimate views of Reflection Lake. Take the right fork to stay on the Lakes Trail, and drop down 200 feet over about half a mile, meeting up with the Wonderland Trail and then the Stevens Canyon Road.

Hiking along the road, you'll be on the shore of Reflection Lakes for half a mile before turning sharply away from the road and beginning a mile-long climb through forest and across creeks to Faraway Rock. Note that just after leaving the road, a junction with the Wonderland Trail peels off to your right. Proceed straight to stay on the Lakes Trail. Faraway Rock offers an overlook for the lake just before you arrive at a junction with the west end of the High Lakes Trail.

Continue straight on the Lakes Trail for 1.21 miles before arriving at the junction with the Skyline Trail. This is a more challenging route that heads up to Panorama Point on the flanks of Rainier. It is possible to continue up this route and return to your car on a longer loop, but it adds more than 4 miles to your hike.

Turn instead onto the trail that branches off to the left, and switchback down Mazama Ridge. Pass the junction with the 4th Crossing Trail, and continue on, traversing the slope and passing several creeks until you arrive at Myrtle Falls. You have just a quarter mile to go back to your car, and it's all downhill from here.

 

Lakes Loop

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 46.7858, -121.7372 Open map in new window

Trailhead

Mount Rainier Area -- SW - Longmire/Paradise

Mount Rainier National Park

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Guidebooks & Maps

Green Trails Paradise No. 270S

Getting There

From the Nisqually entrance to Mount Rainier National Park, drive east along the Longmire - Paradise Road 16 miles until you arrive at a fork. Take the left road and proceed two miles toward the Paradise area.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

National Park Pass
 

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Lakes Loop

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