Hike to Upper Palisades Lake

Sunrise Point Parking Lot - Search Nearby - Added by John Chau

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.
Distance

6.6 Miles RT

Elevation Gain

1200 ft Gain

Type

Out-and-Back

Activities

Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

Forest
Lake
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Nearby Lodging

Seattle / Tacoma KOA

Kent, Washington

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From $55/night

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Leavenworth, Washington

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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