The Naches Peak Loop is a true gem nestled within the majestic Cascade Range. This 3.3 mile loop trail takes you through alpine meadows, dense forests, and panoramic vistas in the beautiful Mount Rainier National Park. From the vibrant wildflowers to the inspiring views of mount rainier and surrounding peaks, this extremely accessible trail has it all.
In this blog we will cover how to access Naches Peak Loop, a trail guide, and will determine if Naches Peak Loop should be a 100 Classic Hike of Washington.
Table of Contents
Map of Trailhead
Naches Peak Loop is located on the ancestral lands of the Cayuse, Umatilla, Walla Walla, and Nisqually tribes. We are grateful for the stewards of this land past and present. We are honored to be and recognize that we are guests on this land.
Region: Mount Rainier National Park
Distance: 3.3 miles
Elevation Gain: 600 ft
Time: 2 hours
When to go: Jul – Oct
Pass/Permit?: National Park Pass
Dogs Allowed?: No
How to Access Naches Peak Loop
To embark on the Naches Peak Loop adventure, you’ll need to make your way to Mount Rainier National Park. Here’s some essential information to help you access the trail:
The Naches Peak Loop trailhead is located near Tipsoo Lake, which is easily accessible from State Route 410. If you’re coming from the west, drive east on State Route 410 from Enumclaw. If you’re coming from the east, drive west on State Route 410 from Chinook Pass. Look for the signage indicating the Tipsoo Lake/Pacific Crest Trailhead. This is the starting point for the Naches Peak Loop.
Parking can get crowded during peak seasons, so it’s advised to arrive early to secure a parking spot. The Tipsoo Lake parking area is the designated parking lot for the Naches Peak Loop trailhead as well. However, if the lot is full, you may need to park along the shoulder of State Route 410. Be sure to park in designated areas only and follow any parking regulations to avoid any issues.
When I completed the hike, I started the trail around 4:00pm which is after peak time, so the parking lot had plenty of open spaces!
National Park Permits:
As the Naches Peak Loop is located within Mount Rainier National Park, you’ll need to obtain a national park permit. The park requires an entrance fee, which can be paid at the park entrance or online in advance. Alternatively, you can also use an America the Beautiful Pass or any other valid national park passes for entry. Make sure to have your permit or pass displayed visibly in your vehicle.
By following these access guidelines, you’ll be well-prepared to start your journey on the Naches Peak Loop. Before long, you’ll be experiencing the wonders of Washington’s classic hike amidst the stunning landscapes of Mount Rainier National Park.
Hiking Naches Peak Loop
The Naches Peak Loop is a truly spectacular hike that takes you on a journey through some of Washington’s most stunning landscapes. As you make your way along the 3.3 mile loop, you’ll encounter a variety of natural wonders that will leave you breathless.
You’ll begin by starting in lush forests. There is an initial small ascent to begin the loop. Mount Rainier slowly comes into view along the right side.
There are several scenic overlooks along the Naches Peak Loop that offer perfect spots to rest, take in the view, and eat a snack. It also provides a great opportunity to look back to see where you came from. These vistas are also where you will come across panoramic views of Mount Rainier.
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After viewing the beauty of Mount Rainier, you’ll come across Reflection Lake. These serene, mirror-like lakes perfectly reflect the towering mountains and clear blue skies.
There are a couple of stream crossings in this area with bridges under construction when I completed this hike. Be sure to cross streams carefully if any bridges are down!
After Reflection Lakes you’ll reach a rocky outcropping with a waterfall. Early in the hiking season, this area will still have snow on the trail due to how little direct sun-light reaches this side of the trail. If you’re crossing significant snow patches, be careful with each step and check trail conditions beforehand to ensure that it is safe for recreation.
Should Naches Peak Loop be a 100 Classic Hike?
There are hundreds of miles of beautiful trails in Mount Rainier, but Naches Peak Loop is easily accessible for all while still maintaining some of the most spectacular views in the park.
Hiking the Naches Peak Loop is an incredible experience that showcases the diverse and awe-inspiring landscapes of Mount Rainier. From the colorful wildflowers to the majestic mountain views, every step of the trail unveils a new marvel of nature. For this reason, I believe that Naches Peak Loop should be a 100 Classic Hike of Washington.
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What to do After Your Hike:
Mount Rainier National Park offers a plethora of incredible day hikes to explore its stunning landscapes. Here are five other hikes to do in Mount Rainier National Park:
- Skyline Trail: This iconic trail takes you on a 5.5-mile loop through meadows, alpine vistas, and the Paradise Glacier. It offers breathtaking views of Mount Rainier, wildflower displays, and a chance to spot wildlife.
- Fremont Lookout: The Fremont Lookout trail is a 5.6 mile round trip trail that rewards hikers with breathtaking panoramic views of Mount Rainier, glaciers, and surrounding peaks. The trail features alpine meadows, wildflowers, and the opportunity to spot wildlife along the way.
- Grove of the Patriarchs: This family-friendly hike is a 1.5-mile loop that takes you through a mesmerizing old-growth forest filled with colossal Douglas Fir and Western Red Cedar trees. The highlight of the hike is a suspension bridge over the Ohanapecosh River.
- Tolmie Peak: The Tolmie Peak trail is a 7.5-mile round trip hike that leads to a historic fire lookout with stunning views of Mount Rainier and Eunice Lake. The hike showcases alpine meadows, wildflowers, and serene forested sections.
- Burroughs Mountain: This challenging 9-mile hike offers extraordinary views of Mount Rainier and the surrounding glaciers. The trail takes you to three different viewpoints on Burroughs Mountain, providing views of the expansive vistas of the dramatic landscape.
These hikes offer a range of experiences from wildflower-filled meadows to breathtaking mountain views. They showcase the diverse beauty and natural wonders that Mount Rainier National Park has to offer. Remember to check trail conditions before you go and prepare accordingly before embarking on any hike in this park.