The overlook at Faraway Rock is a short jaunt along the Mazama Ridge Trail up from Stevens Canyon Road and Reflection Lakes along the Wonderland Trail. This viewpoint showcases glistening Lake Louise below and the towering Tatoosh Ridge to the south.
Parking at the east end of Reflection Lakes, take the trail marked for the Wonderland and Lakes Trails at 4880 feet. You will be greeted by brightly-hued paintbrush and columbine as you descend slightly on a wide, well maintained path.
After 0.1 miles, keep left at a signed junction for Faraway Rock (Mazama Ridge Trail). Climb through evergreen forest and meadows populated with Pacific lupine, Arrowleaf groundsel, cow-parsnip, and subalpine daisy. Gravel filled steps help ease the gradual climb.
Cross the occasionally unbridged and seasonal stream that flows between Reflection Lakes and Lake Louise at 0.3 miles. Glance downstream for tumbled footbridges that haven’t lasted through early spring surges. From here, the trail continues on a series of check steps, some of them requiring high stepping.
After gaining roughly 300 feet in elevation, the trail levels out and approaches a jagged outcropping covered with clinging tentacles of Bearberry or kinnickinnick at 5220 feet and .65 miles from the road. Watch park visitor traffic flow between the arrow-shaped Lake Louise and Bench Lake nestled in the slope of the Tatoosh Ridge.
Tatoosh, Stevens, Plummer, Unicorn, Foss and Pinnacle Peaks are the dominant summits that make up this commanding ridgeline, you may be able to squint and see eager mountaineers traversing their slopes. The more austere Stevens Ridge lies to the east forcing Stevens Canyon Road to make its famous hairpin turn.
The Mazama Ridge Trail continues past the overlook to a tranquil tarn and soon intersects the High Lakes Trail providing access to Panorama Point or the Paradise Visitor Center. You can also make a 2.8 mile loop on the Lower Lakes Trail back to where you started your hike. A sunrise arrival may mean competing with hopeful photographers for parking at Reflection Lakes but your chances at solitude are more likely at Faraway Rock.
WTA Pro Tip: It is not possible to drive to the trail for Faraway Rock during the winter as the Stevens Canyon Road is closed. However, you can snowshoe from the Paradise Visitor Center for a round trip of about 5 miles.