Three Peaks Trail is a 7.6 mile out and back trail located near Packwood, WA that offers scenic views and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible from May until October.
This hike was a solo out/back from the Three Peaks TH to Lost Lake and back for a total of 14 miles in 9 hrs, counting stops. The road to the trailhead narrows considerably at the trailhead and there is limited parking. Lower clearance vehicles may have to park below the trailhead to avoid a washed out area.
What can you say about this trail? Steep and blow downs, although after the first elevation gain, you find yourself cursing along a forested ridge top and wonder where the blow downs are. Views come sparaticly and they don’t disappoint and get even better as you get closer to the Packwood Lake trail or at Lost Lake. The blow downs are in the mile before the Three Peaks trail/Packwood Lake trail 78 junction.
Three Peaks Trail is steep right from the get-go. Early on you start hiking on an overgrown road. A cairn marks where the trail leaves the road. The grassy road continues and looks fairly well used. Follow the cairn to continue on Three Peaks trail. Follow the road on a gentle arc opening up to a 180 degree view of Mt. Rainier. However, the road ends after a bit and a short scramble trail that meets Three Peaks trail (near the end of the road) is easily missed. Once back on Three Peaks trail, turn left and go up.
After cursing the ridge top there is a steep downhill into a younger growth forest where some places are overgrown. From there it’s a steady uphill hike to Lost Lake. Views of Beargrass Butte are visible half-way to Packwood Lake trail. There are no water sources (this year anyway) on Three Peaks trail so plan accordingly.
Lost Lake is clear and beautiful and no snow on the lake. There is some snow on a few of the surrounding shaded slops entering the lake, but nothing to worry about. This is in sharp contrast to last year. A couple at the lake who were there last year at this time said there were feet of snow and it was difficult to find the trail. Ridges around the lake are beautiful with Packwood Lake trail following them.
I must admit, the way back was much easier and didn’t take as long. Even the blow downs seemed easier to navigate. Granted most of the way back is downhill with a couple good elevation gains. All and all if you want to go to Lost Lake, Starting at Packwood Lake would be much easier. Doing this hike as an out/back takes all day. When I do it again, it will be an overnighter at Lost Lake with day hikes along the ridges above Lost Lake.