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Tipsoo Lake-Naches Peak Loop

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The loop trail leaving Tipsoo Lake meanders through meadows that offer some of the best views of Mount Rainier found anywhere. The route is relatively flat--it rolls up and down but has no ridiculously steep sections and only a few real climbs. The route takes advantage of the Pacific Crest Trail, as well as some of the heavily used tourist trails around Tipsoo Lake. Don't expect quiet solitude here, though the beauty of the terrain you pass through offsets any worries about crowds.

We recommend completing the loop in a clockwise direction in order to get the best views of Mount Rainier during the hike. Therefore, from the parking lot, follow the trail northeast around Tipsoo Lake and then descend through meadows to the Pacific Crest Trail parking lot on the east side of the pass. Cross to the south side of the highway and follow the PCT east, then south along the eastern flank of Naches Peak. As you stroll down the trail, enjoy masses of western anemone, beargrass, lupine, paintbrush, and more.

At 1.5 miles, stop for a rest or a leisurely lunch at the wide bench overlooking Dewey Lakes. The trail splits here. Our loop route goes right (west) around the southern flank of Naches Peak.

You'll soon see Mount Rainier thrusting skyward before you, while more meadows open up at your feet. In another 1.5 miles, you'll have looped back around the south and west side of Naches Peak and be back at the highway, opposite Tipsoo Lake. Cross the highway to return to your car.

For a longer hike, at the trail junction on the bench above Dewey Lakes, continue to your left down the Pacific Crest Trail to reach Dewey Lakes in 1.5 miles, descending gradually at first, then losing 650 feet in the last mile. At Dewey Lakes, bear to the left. Backcountry campsites are located on the north side of the lake.
Driving Directions:

From Enumclaw, drive east about 47 miles on State Route 410 to the junction with SR 123. Stay left to continue east on SR 410 another 3 miles. Park in the Tipsoo Lake parking lot on your left just past the footbridge marking Chinook Pass.

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Recent Trip Reports

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There are 174 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Tipsoo Lake-Naches Peak Loop — Nov 23, 2013 — Yasobara
Snowshoe/XC Ski
Issues: Snow on trail
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Road is bare and snow-free with some icy patches across the pass. We parked at the parking lot near ...
Road is bare and snow-free with some icy patches across the pass. We parked at the parking lot near Tipsoo Lake. The restrooms at the parking lot were open. We walked by the lake and across the road and up to the trail on the south side of Naches Peak. The snow was about 3 feet deep, and the trail was packed from skis and snowshoes. The south side of the Naches peak was sunny and warm and had a great view of Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, and Dewey Lake. The north side was in the shade and the view was not as interesting. It was difficult to walk on the north side because of incline. We should have taken "out and back" route instead of the loop. If you, like us, prefer sunny and warm trail with a view, I recommend "out and back" on the south side of Naches Peak loop trail.
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Tipsoo Lake-Naches Peak Loop — Nov 23, 2013 — SanGaek
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail
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I think this Naches Peak Loop is better in Winter time. We did the loop clockwise. There are mul...
I think this Naches Peak Loop is better in Winter time.

We did the loop clockwise. There are multiple ski and snowshoe tracks that were easy to follow. It hasn’t snowed for a while, so the surface snow was a bit hard. Still, you definitely need snowshoes.

There was a delightful icicle falls formed on rocks before we hit the junction. After the junction and a short steep climb, we got the first view of the mountain on the loop. Then we saw a trek going up to the Naches Peak ridgeline. This is not part of summer loop trail, but the snow made it possible to go up there, so we headed up. The climb was hard, but the view (including Rainier, Adams, and even the tip of St. Helens) at the top was marvelous.

We had our lunch there, enjoying the million dollar view, then we came down, finding our own path to Tipsoo lake. It took us 4 ½ hours to do the loop (via the ridge route). It was one of my best winter hiking experience.
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Tipsoo Lake-Naches Peak Loop — Nov 11, 2013 — NobleHikers
Snowshoe/XC Ski
Issues: Snow on trail
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Road is bare and snow-free across the pass. We parked on the road just below the PCT bridge and walk...
Road is bare and snow-free across the pass. We parked on the road just below the PCT bridge and walked up to the trail there. The snow was about 3 feet deep, and the trail well packed from skis and snow shoes. Hiking without snow shoes would have been possible, but difficult, especially after the first mile. We started in dense fog that lasted almost to the PCT cutoff to Dewey Lake. But once we rounded the corner and broke out of the fog, it was clear with fantastic views of Mt. Rainier. The snow on the south side was only about a foot deep with some bare spots, but so soft in the sun and crusty in the shade, walking without snowshoes would have been difficult.
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Tipsoo Lake-Naches Peak Loop — Nov 04, 2013 — Cascadian Kim
Snowshoe/XC Ski
Issues: Snow on trail
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We nailed the weather! The recent snowfall on Chinook Pass, a gate that remained open, plus sunny sk...
We nailed the weather! The recent snowfall on Chinook Pass, a gate that remained open, plus sunny skies and big, puffy clouds which offered no weather threat, made for a perfect 1st snowshoe of the season!

We walked in about 5" of fresh powder almost the whole route, beginning on the east side of Naches Peak and returning on the west side by Tipsoo Lake. The temps were cold enough (mid 20's), keeping the snow on all the tree branches, leaves, berries, and rocks. The tarns were covered in a thin layer of ice and snow and the otherwise weeping walls on the east side were replaced with thick icicles.

The views were lovely! The hills to the east were highlighted with snow. Dewey Lake was skirted with snow and snow-covered trees. Mt. Rainier remained elusive, only a brief glimpse of a ridge now and again, but we never enjoyed view of the entire mountain. Best of all, we never enjoyed view of a single solitary other person! Absolute quiet... save for the trickling of water beneath the snow.

It won't be long before Hwy 410 is closed. It's a treat to indulge in a day like today, when all the conditions agree.
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Tipsoo Lake-Naches Peak Loop — Oct 26, 2013 — NWphotographer
Day hike
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Although this trail isn't through one of the entrances of Rainier, it's still in the park and so no ...
Although this trail isn't through one of the entrances of Rainier, it's still in the park and so no dogs allowed. I didn't realize that so the pup had to remain in the car which didn't make either of us happy!

Nice, simple loop although the first part is quite icy.
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Naches Peak Loop.jpg
Mt. Rainier from the Naches Peak Loop - photo by Alan Bauer.
Location
Mt. Rainier -- SW - Cayuse Pass / Steven's Canyon
Mount Rainier National Park
Statistics
Roundtrip 3.0 miles
Elevation Gain 600 ft
Highest Point 5849 ft
Features
Lakes
Fall foliage
Wildflowers/Meadows
Mountain views
User info
Good for kids
Guidebooks & Maps
Day Hiking: Mt. Rainier National Park Trails (Nelson & Bauer - Mountaineers Books)
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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