Explore Packwood - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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hiking
1 month ago

Nice alternate hike when the clouds sock in the mountain.

Did this with two kids ages 4 & 8, they loved it. Definitely stop at bench lake first. Lots of bear tracks/scat so be aware.

Alltrails directions took me to the trailhead! Yay! Another rare, warm late October day! Unbelievable! I started out at 9:15, blue sky,sunny. I had to take off my coat about 1/4 mile down, shwuu! Hot! The trail is gradual uphill all the way to sheep lake, parallels 410 mostly. Trails kind of narrow and if you suffer vertigo just hug the inner parts, if you look to your right down on the highway it may give you the “Willy’s” lol, I arrived at the lake 10:30 am ground was frozen, no snow, bugs. Beautiful clear lake. I stayed only 5 minutes as my goal was panhandle gap , crystal lakes. So the trail heads up on the right side of the lake. I didn’t notice any real steep sections, up and up yes but no stair climbing, not like coming up from the other side on 410! I reached the gap 1.5 miles later and little under 2 hours. I stopped several times to feast on the views of Adams and hillside fall colors in the distance. Once you reach the gap consider going thru you’ll see pct, go left stay upper trail only 8 minute walk to another opening and walk down from there another one minute and you’ll be amazed! Mt. Rainier in your face! Crystal lakes down below! Head down to crystal lakes and eat lunch it’s only another 15 minutes down! I was there 2 days ago so I didn’t go down all the way, instead I found some rocks to sit on and ate lunch, beautiful October hike!

hiked mid October. clear skies , perfect hiking weather. stunning views of Mt Rainer,surrounding ranges and Mr Adams.

Such a great little trail. I definitely recommend veering off and visiting bench lake. We were able to see a perfect reflection of Mount Rainier in the lake. We also saw 2 black bears and a lot of moose tracks around snow lake. Would definitely recommend.

hiking
3 months ago

Nice little trail, dotted with meadows & views of Rainier. The “faraway rock” overlook alone, makes this hike worthwhile. This trail is manageable for children 8+.

Beautiful views from every turn. A little ice on trail, happy I had my poles.

Hiked this trail to Bench Lake At the end of September. Absolutely stunning!! We had a beautiful day so the fall colors just popped. There are some decent climbs along the way but the trail is well maintained with built in steps. Our four year old loved it as it was interesting and challenging enough to keep him moving but not so over the top that he gave up. Highly recommend taking the spur trail down to the shore of bench lake-it is a bit of a “scramble” but again, the four year old did it and I had a baby in a frame carrier and made it just fine. About half way down the spur trail it forks-the trail to the right is a bit easier but both do end up on the shore.

hiking
3 months ago

Started at 7:40 am. Clear skies. Temp 48. Distance: 12.1 mi
Final destination was Gobblers Knob via Lake George. Overall a very nice hike. Granted the uneventful 3.5 mile jaunt on the forestry road from the parking to the actual trail head has little to be desired. But once at the T/H, the hike is simple (0.9 mi w/ ~400 ft gain). The lake was very pretty. There is a full campsite with restrooms. After a few photos, I continued to Gobblers knob.

The hike from Lake George to the lookout was 1.6 mi (marked signage). The trail starts off nice and wide, but some points it became narrow with some slight overgrowth around the "fields" areas just before the "dirty brown pond". Don't panic, keep trekking it will shortly open up wide and clear again. As the real incline begins (note in 1.6 miles w/ gain of ~1200 ft. and 9 or so switchbacks) its like any other good trail. Not rooty or rocky....just right. Mt Rainier comes into view as you go higher.
At the top, full 360 as you walk around the lookout (in very good condition I might add). I saw a mountain goat pop up about 75 ft away on a rock ledge to say hello...I was the first up there today so he must have been lonely. lol. Stayed about 20 min and back down. Check out my pics here. Enjoy!

Beautiful fall colors and lots of opportunities for pictures. There are a lot of stair-like steps from 12-24+ inches both up and both directions. We were glad we brought our hiking poles. No bugs and light traffic in a Friday.

hiking
4 months ago

I did this trail on Sept 9th (took about 3 hours), and it was breathtaking despite the cloud cover! Get there early to beat the crowds. I started at 8:30 am and took the little dirt path to Sunrise Rim trail towards Emmons Glacier overlook, inclined via Burroughs Mountain trail to 1st Burroughs Mountain, and came back down via Sourdough Ridge trail. The incline might be a small challenge for beginners since it's on a narrow trail at the edge of a cliff, but more experienced hikers would consider it a piece of cake. Nice weather, no bugs, and no ice on the trail. The scenery is diverse... forests, rivers, lakes, meadows, and at times barren, rocky alpine conditions. Coffee and a black bean burger at the lodge were much needed before the drive back to Seattle. Overall, worth it for the views!

hiking
4 months ago

Too long on the road before hitting the trail

hiking
4 months ago

One of the best hiking for healing mind, soul and body!

Great hike. Beautiful view. Take the little detour to go down to bench lake, so worth it. Both lakes are stunning. No bugs in sept so that was good. The sign outside the hike says 700 feet elevation change and felt more like that vs the 400 this site says.

fantastic out and back day hike!

We were her yesterday. 7yr old had enjoyed the up and down and challenges offered by the trail.70yr mom.had to take some breaks but steadily we we're able to do both bench and Snow lakes. route down to bench lake is bit unsteady , my mom had to literally sit and slide.down and coming up was bit work.Though view of Mount Rainier is awesome from Bench lake bed. Snow lake doesn't have view of mountain.through out the trails we get multiple view of Mount Rainier. we took it easy and took ~4 hrs to go enjoy both the lakes.lot of berries to eat along the way.no bugs.

hiking
4 months ago

We were there today and it was a pretty lake, however, I went with my little daughter and I’d not consider it a kids friendly trail. Or at least not with little kids.
It was absolutely beautiful. No bugs at all. It felt
Longer than 2 miles
But I could be wrong. Totally worth it.

Gorgeous views and beautiful lakes Blueberries abound...we could have picked bagfuls. There were absolutely no bugs when we hiked it on Labor Day weekend. We didn’t even use bug spray. The trail is rather strenuous and hiking poles would have been useful.

Very beautiful lake and trail! Lots of blueberries to eat on the trail very tasty too lol!

Great hike!!!! you are screwed if you aren’t there by 10am. The line is over a mile long just to pay the park fee. Then you have 10 more mile drive up the mountain and there won’t be anymore parking spots. A bit many people for my liking but I’m glad I did it.

on Sunrise Rim Trail

4 months ago

Beautiful hike! In my opinion, better to start from the point where the trail is closest to the service road. This way, you face Rainier for more than half of the hike. 5 miles took us 3 hours which included a lot of stopping for pictures.

I loved this hike! every step was beautiful. Clearly, based on how low the lake was, and the dry (or low) creek beds along the trail, it had been a dry summer. Otherwise it would be too treacherous for me to enjoy the hike. The first leg (~1 mile) is up & down, but ~2/3 is UP. Definitely helpful to have hiking poles (unfortunately I did not bring poles, but made good use of a fallen limb aka walking stick).
As you near the lake there are boulders to climb over and I lost the trail here, but found it at the end of rock climb--and was able to find/follow on return trek.

It was a little deceiving because there was a small pond, then a small lake but much further was Snow Lake. We thought at first the second body of water was Snow Lake.
But we kept going and were greatly rewarded with the Snow Lake. Great view from camp site #1. Not many people on the trail since it was a Monday. On the weekend it would be much more crowded.
Explored the toilet up near site #2. Wow! Interesting.
Do this hike! Beautiful reward.

Loved this trail. A lot of steps but the scenery is worth it all! Will definitely come back.

Great hike for families and young kids used to do hikes. Bring snacks and do a picnic

Easy enough to do, although some uphills in parts - about 1,000 feet increase in elevation. Great views of the mountains, lakes, valleys and some wildlife. Even saw a fox that was not at all afraid of us!

I did this hike with my kids and it was great. we stopped at the lake so the kids could dip their feet. A bit of an up hill at the end that they weren't thrilled about but they did it.

Great hike for all levels... we continued past Sheep Lake and hiked into the National Park above Crystal lake. Lots of bang for your buck.

I hiked this yesterday and it was definitely beautiful. I never got tired of the views. Also, it is a short hike. The whole thing took about an hour and a half with lots of breaks.
I feel like the elevation listed here might be inaccurate because we had to take a lot of breaks and it felt steep. The way there is a little steep. However, I am pretty out of shape and it only took us 50 minutes to reach the lake.
The other issue was BUGS. The flies are miserable. When you are moving they are just a minor problem but as soon as we stopped to take a break they swarmed us. I didn't actually get bit by any, but I had to constantly swat at them. The mosquitos were pretty bad by the shady part of the lake as well.

Beautiful hike. Would love to go back and swim and be more prepared for the bugs. :)

5 months ago

One of the best hikes in the park

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