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Dewey Lake

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Alpine lakes stir emotions in people, drawing them into their crystalline beauty and stunning wild settings. Most alpine lakes, though, are small affairs. Ponds, really, that can be walked around during an after-dinner stroll. Dewey, on the other hand, stands as one of the monarchs of alpine lakes. This long, broad lake boasts scores of shoreline pockets that offer up the elusive solitude often hard to find in a mountain lake basin. Stunning scenery also awaits, with tall Naches Peak towering overhead and a rich forest cradling the opposite lakeshore. If that isn't enough, Dewey hosts an impressive population of trout for the anglers among us. Indeed, the lake is stocked periodically by plane--fish are emptied from tanks in free-fall dives during low overflights of the lake.

Climb the grassy hillside on the south side of the highway and follow the trail as it ascends gradually to the southeast for 0.5 mile. This small connector trail slices through a few small stands of trees but generally rolls through broad meadows of alpine wildflowers. To the west, Mount Rainier fills the horizon.

The trail levels out after 0.5 mile and then reaches a trail junction at 1.5 miles, where you meet the true Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). To the left, a 1.5-mile hike north to SR 410 meets the highway just 0.5 mile east of Tipsoo Lake.

Turn right instead onto the PCT. It makes a moderately steep descent, dropping some 600 feet in 1.3 miles through a series of gentle switchbacks. You'll pass through old, sun-dappled pine and fir forest to reach a small forest clearing on the northwest shore of Dewey Lake.

Continue another mile along the PCT as it follows the western shore of the lake. For the quietest, most solitary picnic sites, find a location on the southwestern shore to enjoy your lunch. For some of the best fishing, scramble around toward the outlet stream on the southeastern edge of the lake. For a longer hike, continue on to American Lake.
Driving Directions:

From Enumclaw drive east on State Route 410 (Chinook Pass Highway) to Chinook Pass. Park on the north side of the highway in the Tipsoo Lake parking area. Cross to the south side of the highway to find the start of the trail.

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Recent Trip Reports

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There are 55 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Dewey Lake — Sep 10, 2013 — BigButtDon
Day hike
Features: Fall foliage
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Geezer patrol decided we needed a wussy hike after too many ten milers, so we opted for this one ad...
Geezer patrol decided we needed a wussy hike after too many ten milers, so we opted for this one advertised as 6 miles and 600' gain. Of course, we managed to turn that into 10 miles and 1600' gain anyways but no-one cared, for this perfect day provided for a lot of wandering.

We parked in the fine car lot just past the footbridge over the highway on the left side. Two decent poopers and don't forget to hang out your Forest Service Pass lest you get to add $5.80 to the money pipe after the local revenuer slaps a yellow sticker on the windshield. How can I know all this?

The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (whew) is marked right at the lot with a small PCNST wood sign and this takes you back parallel to the highway, above the road, until you hit the footbridge which marks the Park Entrance. This route will take you on the clockwise Naches loop. If you want to reverse that direction, you will shortly see the path to Tipsoo Lake which will allow the CCW route.
Note: The CW route will keep you in the sun the entire day.

Shortly after crossing the footbridge you enter the William O.Douglas Wilderness and a gentle ascent on a fine, well traveled and cared for trail. At three miles, you hit a junction that will take you down 800' to Dewey Lakes on the PCNST. Take the trip! The lake is magnificent and a fine place for wandering (sometimes in the wrong direction) and there are fisherman trails and a "regular trail" all around the lake. We stopped at the south shore for a nice sandy beach and a view of Rainier.

After being voted down for a one hour nap, we humped back up the hill and continued around Naches Peak. Beautiful views of "the mountain" and the foliage is just starting to turn for Fall color. We crossed the highway, walked around Tipsoo Lake (go either way around) and then up and over the ridge back to the parking lot.

The nice part about being on the PCNST is you meet some the real adventurers doing the trail. We met a couple from Oregon with pack mules and one dude who had traveled from the start on Mexico. Get yourself a sunny day and go do this before the snow flies, and, its bug free.
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Three Lakes, Two Lakes, Dewey Lake, East Side Trail — Sep 02, 2013 — Marie
Multi-night backpack
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We started at Ohanepecosh and hiked to Three Lakes. It rained a little that night and we could hear...
We started at Ohanepecosh and hiked to Three Lakes. It rained a little that night and we could hear elk in the distance. The next day started dry as we headed to two lakes. This trail follows along ridge and connects up with the pct. Two lakes was very pretty. No rain today. Wednesday we headed to Dewey lake. We could see most of Mt. Rainier as the clouds moved in and out. Dewey lake is a huge lake with a smaller lake to the one side. We opted for the smaller lake and had the whole place to ourselves. Thunder, lightning and rain at night. Once again dry in the morning. We headed north where we hooked up with the naches loop trail to wind us around back into Mt.Rainier National park. We took the east side trail down to Deer Creek for our last night. There was thunder, lightning and rain all night...most impressive while in a tent. The next day, armed in rain gear, we headed towards Ohanapecosh, our final destination. We stopped at Grove of the Patriarchs. The trees are magnificent.
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Tipsoo Lake-Naches Peak Loop, American Ridge, Mesatchee Creek, Dewey Lake — Aug 29, 2013 — Sir-Hikes-A-Lot
Multi-night backpack
Issues: Blowdowns | Mudholes
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Looking to expose my beloved to a new area, we opted to head south to the William O Douglas Wilderne...
Looking to expose my beloved to a new area, we opted to head south to the William O Douglas Wilderness.

She has never hiked the Naches Peak Loop, so we decided to start at Tipsoo Lake and hike the PCT south to the American Ridge Trail, hike up to the Mesatchee Cr trail junction, hike down Mesatchee Cr to the Dewey Lake Trail, then hike back up to the PCT and then hike back north to complete the Naches Loop. This pleasant loop is ~ 28 miles and excluding the Mesatchee Creek decent/ascent, is fairly mellow as far as elevation gain and loss, and is quite gradual.

Since there are plenty of reports on the Naches Loop, I'll just say that the trail is in immaculate condition and this is a hike everyone should do at least's a magical place!

Once off the Naches Loop and heading south on the PCT to the American Ridge trail junction, the route is in wonderful shape with 1 downed tree.

From the American Ridge trail junction to the Mesatchee Creek trail junction there are ~ 10 downed trees, but none are an issue. Overall this stretch is in really good shape.

From the Mesatchee Creek trail junction to the Dewey Lake trail junction, the trail is in great shape with ~ 2 blow-downs. Definitely a dusty trail, as it gets a lot of horse use.

From the Dewey Lake trail junction back to the PCT, there are ~12 easy downed trees. A few large mud holes created from horse use and a couple of brushy spots, but overall in good shape.

A lot of elk and bear activity on this loop and the berries are ridiculous!

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Dewey Lake, Tipsoo Lake-Naches Peak Loop — Jul 22, 2013 — Aya
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Bugs
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Wow! What a beautiful spot. I've hiked in the Mt. Rainier area quite a bit but never up in Chinook P...
Wow! What a beautiful spot. I've hiked in the Mt. Rainier area quite a bit but never up in Chinook Pass. Such a beautiful spot. World class views, no crowds, no park fee. The wildflowers are awesome right now. The variety is amazing! Just a few tiny spots of snow for the doggies to cool off in. Dewey Lake was perfect for a swim; do not miss out on that! Killer mosquitos though, so get your boots back on and get moving fast! Otherwise, no bugs whatsoever.
Here's my big complaint... We parked at Tipsoo Lake, walked across the road, and the only trail we could find was the Naches Peak Loop. There was also a sign right there pointing the way to the PCT and saying Dewey Lake was 3 miles out, so we thought we were in the right place. Unfortunately, there were several signs saying no dogs. We couldn't really leave the dogs in the car, so we decided to just make sure to keep them close, on leash, and on the trail. We actually ran in to two other parties that expressed the same confusion. Another dog-less couple mentioned that if you drive up the highway another 2 miles or so, you can just get straight on the PCT, which is dog-friendly of course. Oops. Anyway, Naches Peak is NOT DOG FRIENDLY.
We were surprised by the crowds. It was like a weekend! They thinned out after about a mile though.
Trail in excellent shape.
Also, I think there's much more that 600 ft of total elevation gain. You gradually climb up to the top of a hill (see photo#4), then drop down and down to the lake. Not hard though!
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Dewey Lake — Jul 19, 2013 — Lumpy Space Hiker
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Snow on trail
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I sure do love Chinook Pass this time of year, and this is a lovely little walk. Damn, it is just s...
I sure do love Chinook Pass this time of year, and this is a lovely little walk. Damn, it is just so gorgeous up there. It just about overloads your brain.

We may have parked at a different trailhead than described by WTA...please note, if you do park at the big trailhead parking for the PCT at the top of the pass, you do need a parking pass (or to pay the daily $5 fee). Additionally, it says that it is 3 miles to Dewey Lake from that trailhead, and WTA says 2.5 doesn't seem like 3 miles from where we parked, though.

The tread is good. No snow on trail except for a couple patches, just enough to give the dog a good doggie snow cone and a nice roll to cool down. The lake is wonderful for swimming. Wildflowers like whoa.
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Dewey Lakes hike_.jpg
Small tarn east of the junction of Naches Peak Loop and the PCT. Photo by Andrew Engelson.
Dewey Lakes (#968)
South Cascades -- Chinook Pass - Enumclaw or Hwy 410 area
Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Roundtrip 6.0 miles
Elevation Gain 600 ft
Highest Point 5700 ft
Mountain views
Established campsites
User info
Good for kids
Dogs allowed on leash
May encounter pack animals
Guidebooks & Maps
50 Hikes in Mount Rainier National Park (Spring / Manning)
Green Trails Mount Rainier East No. 270 and Bumping Lake No. 271

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Note: the description and driving directions for this Mountaineers Books entry are copyrighted and can't be changed.

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