Hike Bearhead Mountain
Washington › Summit Lake Trail 1177
Added by John Sunich
Hiking Bearhead Mountain offers great views of Mount Rainier and a chance to see beautiful wildflowers. This is a great hike for families in the summer and fall with the option to camp/backpack from the same trailhead.
Formerly the site of an old fire lookout, Bearhead Mountain located in the Clearwater Wilderness, provides great unobstructed views of the north side of Mount Rainier, Little Tahoma, and many other surrounding Cascade mountain peaks. In the summer months you are likely to encounter great wildflowers such as Lupine, Paintbrush, Columbia Lily, Avalanche lily, Glacier lily, and Beargrass. Later in the fall the foliage turns to a beautiful mixture of red, orange, and yellow and provides great photographic opportunities with Mount Rainier as the backdrop.
The trail to Bearhead mountain starts at Summit Lake Trail 1177 (another popular destination). At about half a mile on the trail you will enter the Clearwater Wilderness and begin hiking through wonderful old growth forest and cross a couple of creeks cascading down the mountain. Then at roughly a mile on the Summit lake trail you will arrive at Twin Lakes and find the junction with the Carbon Trail #1179. You will take a right and follow the Carbon Trail #1179. The trail traverses south along the west side of Bearhead Mountain to the junction with Bearhead Trail #1179.1, which cuts back to the left and follows a ridge into some open alpine meadows, which offer great views of Rainier and wildlflowers. After a few switchbacks you reach the broad summit of Bearhead Mountain and are greeted by spectacular views of Mount Rainier and surrounding peaks.
This location also offers more options for exploring should you want to investigate Summit Lake, or continue further along the Carbon Trail to the eastern summit of Bearhead or Hurricane gap. Additionally if you are willing to walk on the road for a bit you can virtually climb or snowshoe to the summit of this peak every season of the year depending on the snow conditions and weather forecasts.
The trailhead can be accessed by heading towards the Carbon River entrance to Mount Rainier National Park. Just before entering the park take a left on to Forest Service Rd 7810 (Cayada Creek Road) which crosses the Carbon River. Follow this road for 6.7 miles to the end of the road and you will find the trailhead. The road can be rough if it hasn’t been graded in a while but many cars do make it to the trailhead.
- Trailpark Pass
- Hiking boots/shoes
- Water Bottle
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Backpacking, Fishing, Hiking, Running, Snowshoeing
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A winding hike with several steep narrow points with plenty of viewpoints gazing upon Mt Rainier. The peak offers a 360 view and on a clear day you can see Glacier. At the peak you can also see the lake at the summit lake trail. Highly recommend for a half day trip and relatively beginner hike.
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