Hike Bearhead Mountain

Summit Lake Trail 1177

Distance

6 Miles

Elevation Gain

1800 Feet

Activities

Fishing, Running, Snowshoeing, Backpacking, Hiking

Skill

Intermediate

Season

Year Round

Type

Out-and-Back

Added by

John Sunich

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Forest
Picnic Area
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations.

Nearby Lodging

From $400/night

LOGE at The Pass Life

Snoqualmie Pass, Washington

From $55/night

LOGE Leavenworth

Leavenworth, Washington

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Rainier's Ghost

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.

Distance

6 Miles

Elevation Gain

1800 Feet

Activities

Fishing, Running, Snowshoeing, Backpacking, Hiking

Skill

Intermediate

Season

Year Round

Type

Out-and-Back

Added by

John Sunich

Nearby Adventures

Adventure

Hike to Summit Lake

Adventure

Hike to Rainier NP's Ranger Falls

Adventure

Hike around Mowich Lake

Adventure

Hike to Eunice Lake in Mt. Rainier NP

More Nearby Adventures

Related Stories

how-to

How to Pack for Adventure Travel

Pack light, pack smart, and always give yourself some breathing room.

family

10 Amazing Family-Friendly Trips around the World

The best family memories are made outside.

chillin

Patagonia's "Treeline" Is a Celebration of Our Dependence on Trees

Patagonia's newest release featuring the importance of forests all around the world. Follow skier...

activities

"Far Away" - Climbing in LiMing, China

Jenny Fischer and Kat Whipple traveled to Liming, China to attempt a first ascent in one of climb...

More Stories