Scramble to Tamanos Mountain

Rate this Adventure Washington Owyhigh Lakes Trailhead

  • Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    10 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    3000 Feet


Traverse an expansive field of wildflowers for breathtaking views of Mt. Rainier and a fun scramble to the summit of Tamanos Mountain. 

Soon after entering Mt. Rainier National Park via the White River Entrance, pull into the Owyhigh Lakes Trail parking area. From the parking lot, walk across Sunrise Road to the Owyhigh Lakes Trailhead to begin an exceptional hike to the summit of Tamanos Mountain.

Start by hiking 3.5 miles on the well-maintained Owyhigh Lakes Trail through old growth forest to the Tamanos Creek Campground. Beyond the campground, the forest opens up to views of Owyhigh Lake beneath the towering spires of Governors Ridge to the east. To the west, you can begin to see the ridgeline with Tamanos Mountain through the trees.

Continue past Owyhigh Lake for approximately a quarter of a mile to a defined junction in a grassy meadow with views of the Cowlitz Chimneys to the west. If you take the left fork, you can continue on the Owyhigh Lakes Trail toward Deer Creek Campground. However, you will take the path to the right to begin climbing up the mountainside to Tamanos.

As you rise above the scattered trees, the trail traverses through grassy fields filled with wildflowers in the summer months. The path will become increasingly faint as you continue to climb toward the saddle between Tamanos Mountain and the Cowlitz Chimneys. Though it may seem like the path disappears as you approach the saddle, continue climbing upward. As you ascent, make sure to glance back to appreciate the views of Mt. Adams in the distance.

With your last steps toward the flat saddle, stop to enjoy closeup views of Mt. Rainier. Take some photographs and relax as the cool winds blow off the Emmons and Fryingpan Glaciers below. From the saddle, hikers can choose to turn around or continue to the summit of Tamanos if comfortable with class 2/3 scrambling. 

Once rejuvenated, begin climbing north on a clear bootpath until you reach the false southern summit of Tamanos Mountain. Drop down on the western (left) side of the mountain to traverse past the spires of the false summits. After making it past the three false summits, gain the main ridge to scramble toward the final summit block. At the base of the true summit, scramble up the rock to attain the main summit. 

Take it the incredible views of Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, the Cowlitz Chimneys, and Summerland.  

Pack List

  • Hiking boots
  • Compass
  • Daypack
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Camera
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Alex Murray

Mountaineer and researcher living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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