Added by John Sunich
Scenic Views of Mount Rainier and Alpine lakesWildflowersWildlifeFall ColorsGreat day hike (7 miles round trip)
Located just south of Mountain Rainier National Park, Tatoosh Lakes and Tatoosh Wilderness area are a great hiking destination to find scenic views, wildflowers, wildlife, and two beautiful alpine lakes.
Tatoosh Trail #161 does not waste any time getting down to business as it ascends almost 3000 vertical feet in the first 2.5 miles before reaching the trail junction with Trail#161B. From there you will follow Trail #161B further up the ridge until you descend roughly 500 feet down to the lakes.
The shorelines of the lakes are surrounded by beautiful wildflower filled alpine meadows which provide stunning views and photographic opportunities alongside the crystal clear lake with rugged cliffs and snowy Mount Rainier as a backdrop. While around the lakes it is not uncommon to hear marmots whistling or spot mule deer, bear, and grouse. Fly fishing in the lake can also produce some nice size trout for those willing to put in the time.
If you hit the timing just right you can snack on wild huckleberries and blueberries while you make your ascent up the trail. Also this area is turns many wonderful shades of orange, red, and yellow as the fall season approaches.
While camping is prohibited in the lakes basin there are camp sites on the ridge above the lake if one chooses. Additionally for those wanting more adventure you can return to the trail junction continue on Trail#161 a couple more miles before finding the another junction with Trail#161A which leads to Tatoosh Peak, a great view point of the entire Tatoosh Ridge and Mount Rainier.
Trail Information: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/giffordpinchot/recarea/?recid=31440
From the east end of Packwood turn north on Skate Creek Road. Go 4 miles, crossing the Cowlitz River, to an unmarked but main junction with FR 5270 and turn right. Go another 5 miles (now on gravel) to a Y with a little used gravel track and go right. Travel for 1.5 miles more to the well marked trail head on your right. Look out for washouts on this last road section .
- Water bottle
- Water Filter
- Trekking poles
- Hiking Boots/Shoes
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