Recent Trip Reports
Hiked here recently? Submit a trip report!
There are 3 trip reports for this hike.
Mowich Lake Snowshoe, Grindstone Trail — Mar 01, 2010 — Hikingqueen
Expand report text Hide report textRead full report with photos
I've wanted to snowshoe to Mowich for a long time. I thought with the low snow levels everywhere it ...
I've wanted to snowshoe to Mowich for a long time. I thought with the low snow levels everywhere it would be an easy bike/hike. The road up to mowich is fine for the first 5 miles and then the pot holes begin for the rest of the 7 miles. I parked at Paul's Peak TH, no snow anywhere, I got on the bike and probably a bit before 1 mile traces of snow began, so I left the bike there and started walking. I left snow shoes in the car and brought yax trax instead. This was fine till the 3 mile mark and then the snow got really soft and I was post holing every 5th step, I still had 2 miles to go.. it was brutal. I've never post holed both feet at the same time, that's rough! My body is sore today from the beating. But on the good side it was a great workout.
It took me 3 hours to walk the road up, should have only taken 2, but with spring like conditions way longer. Got to the lake and I was suprised by the snow levels more than I expected. I have never been here in winter and it was very pretty. Mountain was out today and sun was filtered but very nice in the 50's. I walked around the lake heard voices and said hello to a couple staying at the ranger cabin. Didn't see anyone else out today. I got smart on the way down and took the grindstone trail, it was in great shape. I did use yax trax on it as it was icy and packed down. It's very well marked too. I'm anxious for spring flowers and can't wait till they start popping out.
Paul Peak, Grindstone Trail — Nov 25, 2008 — Shep Griswold
Issues: Blowdowns | Water on trail | Snow on trail
Expand report text Hide report textRead full report
So I was having a hard time figuring where to go today, I took the easy way out and headed to MRNP. ...
So I was having a hard time figuring where to go today, I took the easy way out and headed to MRNP. I left the house in Kirkland at around 10AM, and was hiking on the Paul Peak trail by a little after 11AM. The Paul Peak trail is not used very much, I guess that most people go up the Mowich road during the summer to go to Mowich Lake and they drive right by the PPT. Now that the gate to Mowich is closed even fewer folks head up that way, the gate closure is right by the PP TH. I didn’t see a single soul all day today…which was FANTASTIC!
I went down the PPT towards the Mowich River; the Paul Peak Trail is so beautiful. It meanders along a ridge and then goes down quite a few switchbacks, down into the Mowich River Valley. You get some incredible views of both Mount Rainier, and of a gorgeous river valley flowing off Mount Rainier. Point eight miles from the Mowich River shelter, is an intersection with the infamous Wonderland trail. I took this turn and followed this trail up towards Mowich Lake, and on the Wonderland Trail. There are already some blown down trees on this portion. It started raining lightly as I climbed. I stopped often, but only briefly as I wanted to complete my loop before it got dark. About two thirds of the way to the Lake I started running into snow. The accumulation varied depending on the forest cover. By the time I had reached the intersection below Mowich Lake there was a bunch of snow to deal with. This intersection below the lake is where you can head to Spray Park/Falls, or you take a left like I did and in two tenths of a mile you are at the Mowich Lake Campground. I had my Katoola Micro-spikes with me but I never needed them. There was maybe six inches on the ground at the lake. They are pretty close to finishing the brand new bathrooms that they are building there near the campground. They look pretty nice! They also provided me with a little shelter, while I grabbed some grub, and re-layered for the trip back down to my rig outside the road closed gate. I tripped around a little looking at the beautiful lake; I did this trip because I have always wanted to see this lake in the off season. It was very quiet and peaceful up there today, and very, very pretty.
I followed the road out of Mowich, and went looking for the Grindstone Trail. This trail is a very historic trail, it was there long before the road was put in and I was really looking forward to using it. It was actually pretty easy to find, some footprints in the snow helped, and I took this trail down through the woods grateful that at least part of my road walk back would be denied. After the trail does a couple of in and outs with the road I was stuck doing the last portion on the closed road back to the Paul Peak Trailhead and my truck. I arrived at the truck just after 4PM, just as the lights started to go out.
I really enjoyed this day of solo hiking in one our most beautiful national parks. I was also using this as a way to check the route for a snowshoe trip later this winter. I will use the Grindstone Trail again at some point and I’m really looking forward to getting back in there. Winter is a great time to see this area. That is if snowfall lets you get to at least the Paul Peak Trailhead. I tried to get in there last winter. But because of the huge snowfall last year, I could only snowshoe a whole day to reach just the trailhead, it was impossible to drive there, as the snow was very deep.
Grindstone Trail — Jun 20, 2008 — Anon.
Issues: Snow on trail
Expand report text Hide report textRead full report
We drove up dusty State Hwy. 165 to the park entrance and found it snow-free, but there were some sn...
We drove up dusty State Hwy. 165 to the park entrance and found it snow-free, but there were some snow patches just inside the park, and the Paul Peak parking area was mostly snow-covered. The highway has been newly graded, and most of the potholes are gone. We hiked up the Mowich Lake road to the beginning of the Grindstone Trail. The road is completely snow-covered beginning at the gate. There is flagging on a tree at the point where the trail joins the road (the sign is buried), and red markers on trees along the trail make it possible to follow this trail to the lake even though it's under 3 to 5 feet of snow. It would have been good to have skis, especially as the snow on the road softened in the afternoon. Wildlife seen: Bear, on road just outside the park. Other parties: None seen, but there were 4 vehicles parked when we left.