This backpacking trip through Mt. Rainier National Park is 2 hours away from Seattle. On the trail, take in towering rock formations, scenic scree and talus slopes, and enjoy spectacular mountain views.

Park at the Sunrise Point parking lot and find the Palisades Trail at the northeast corner of the parking lot. If you bring along a pair of binoculars, you can stop at the first overlook on the left and scan the adjacent mountain slopes for the white dots of mountain goats. Continue down the trail as it descends about 300 feet to Sunrise Lake in the first 0.5 miles. A mile later you will reach Clover Lake, followed by another mile to the trio of lakes known as Tom, Dick, and Harry. Follow the trail as it climbs up the pass between the Palisades (southwest) and Brown Peak (northeast).

Descend down again and follow the path as it meanders through grassy meadows and lush forests. Soon you will near the lake basin and its sparkling, turquoise waters will be contrasting brightly with the Palisades that loom above it. If you hike out around sunset, you’ll not only be able to see the sunset over Sunrise Point, but you might also be able to see and hear elk calling and other wildlife (pikas, marmots, black bear, and more) thriving in the basin.

Spend as much time as you’d like here and enjoy the view, with fall (late August to mid-September) being one of the best times to visit as the vivid fall colours stand out among the evergreens. Camping is permitted here at Upper Palisades Lake as well as at Dick Lake.

Note:
  • There is a $15 per vehicle fee to enter Mount Rainier National Park or the $80 annual Interagency Pass can also be used.
  • Free camping permits (available at the ranger station) are required for camping by Dick Lake and Upper Palisades Lake.

Pack List

  • Map of the trail
  • Water
  • Cellphone
  • Camera
  • First Aid Kit
  • Food
  • Lighter
  • Flashlight
  • Sturdy shoes
  • Compass
  • Light jacket
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Binoculars
Show More
RT Distance 6.6 Miles
Elevation Gain 1200 Feet
Activities Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Forest
Lake
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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