Explore To Do - 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
2 hours ago

This is a great hike. I went yesterday with my husband, our 7 year old and 3 year old and a couple friends. The drive up is pretty rough for about 5-6 miles. You will need a vehicle with good ground clearance or take the drive up very slow. The trail was very Icey in some parts. We ended up busting our butts on the trail a couple times. If you are taking a little one this time of year, I recommend putting them in a hiking carrier. Beautiful views from the trail and definitely an incline on the way up. We were feeling the burn. Snow and ice on parts of the trail and at the top. The view of Summit Lake was beautiful. The lake is so clear. The hike was worth it just to see the scenic view from the overlook and to see the lake. It was breathtaking. This wasn't a very busy trail. We saw only a couple people during our hike an this was during the morning to afternoon.

hiking
16 hours ago

High clearance and decent tires are your safest bet getting to the TH, I made it in my Chevy Cruze though, so make good judgment calls before heading to this trail. Beautiful day on the trail and amazing views at the lake and above! Compact snow is very icy!

hiking
1 day ago

Great trail, plenty of switchbacks to help break up the incline but plan to go earlier in the day if you want the trail to yourself because it’s pretty popular and the trail can get pretty packed.

One of the best hikes I’ve ever done. Challenging but worth it. Road is washed out so it’s 2 miles to trailhead. From trailhead you climb 3000 feet in right over 3 miles. At 3.2ish you’ll reach virgin lake, it was frozen over today (11/17). From virgin lake it’s all downhill to Blanca lake, about 0.82 miles. Snow was packed down but yactracks and poles were super helpful.

Wow!! That will be the reaction of 99.99% of people who do this hike, the other .01% are most likely crazy people. The magical, towering mountains around this mountain lake are simply breathtaking. It was a cold day with ice and a little snow in the higher elevations of the trail. The lake isn’t frozen over yet and the water still shows the bright blue color it’s known for. We clicked it at 8 miles round trip. Took us about 3 hrs up and 2 hrs back down. There is a few spots with fallen trees that you will need to go over or under. But overall the trail is very well maintained and easy to navigate.

Great as long as you go early

Insanely crowded. I felt like I was in a single file line going up.

hiking
5 days ago

Stunning hike! Highly recommend. The drive up is pretty rough but it’s worth it.

hiking
6 days ago

Really beautiful hike around this time of the year, this hike offers some of the best views Washington trails has to offer. The lake is starting to freeze up and theres lots of snow and black ice once you start getting to higher elevations so be cautious! I would say this trail falls more on the moderate side than hard, it took us 3 hours to get to the top and 2 hours going back down. Would recommend this hike for everyone!

6 days ago

The trail itself is great, but it's heavily trafficked

The only reason I am taking a star off is the lack of signs this trail has. Towards the end my friend and I took a major detour because there were fallen trees and the trail was hidden with snow. We found the lake though! So worth the hike we did it round trip in 4 hours and a half. Very icy towards the end so be careful.

The trail is nice. It’s a good scenic trail with lots of cool places to stop and take pictures. The only bad thing is it’s a popular trail. Once you get to the top, you’ll be fighting for places to stop and take a break or pictures. We went on a Saturday morning and we were at the top with about 50 other people who had the same idea as we did today. The parking lot fills fast and people started parking on the street before the parking lot. So, we’ll definitely go back on a Wednesday morning or something so it won’t be so crowded.

trail running
14 days ago

Great hike for all age groups. If you’re not a beginner, I’d recommend trail running as well. Breathtaking views from the cliff. You can continue further if you wish as the trail continues further. Took us 3 hours from car to car including breaks. Would highly recommend for sunrise.

hiking
14 days ago

My friend and I, who I'd classify as novice hikers, were able to complete this hike in 7 hours. It took us 4.5 hours up and 2.5 hours down.

We went on Nov. 2nd the conditions were muddy at most. No ice on the trail that we experienced.

There are some seriously beautiful viewpoints on the way up and was well worth it at the end. Unfortunately it was cloudy and rainy so we hope to go back again in the summer to see it all again.

We persevered but I wouldn't recommend this to someone who is totally inexperienced. It was very hard for us. However, a great hike for any seasoned hiker.

In addition, we both recorded approximately 10 miles, not the the listed 7.7 miles.

hiking
15 days ago

This is one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen in my life! The trail is tough but not as hard as some other hikes I’ve done. The views at the top are absolutely worth it, take a day trip and go here. You won’t be disappointed! Also, lots of Chipmunks!

Steep for kids, but amazing views and great lookout at the top. Mountain stream just over halfway up.

hiking
17 days ago

Hiked this trail for the 2nd time yesterday. And as always it was awesome. Trail was dry, had mud in spots but nothing to worry about. Brought a fishing pole up and managed to catch a few rainbow trout. All in all it was a great hike, ass kicker for sure. But worth every bit of it!

Perfect and easy little hike!

Hiked up today, there was a fair amount of snow & ice on the trail, but still manageable without any equipment or microspikes. Beautiful views ! I’d read peoples recommendations about high clearance vehicles but I drove to the trailhead just fine in a regular car, so don’t let that deter you.

Seemed further than the 7 miles listed. Hiked the trail 10/29/18 very went and muddy with quite a bit of snow and ice halfway up. Views were well worth the pain in the butt.

Exactly what we expected, easy hike. Our favorite parts were the lower river crossing and Cedar Swamp.

I've always found the hike a little boring up until the viewpoint. There are a lot of switchbacks and not a lot to see until the end. However, the view is definitely worth it! Be careful at the top!

I havent hiked in 25 yrs.this was my 2nd hike in a few months an it kicked my butt.i do have some lung disease.but it was so beautiful an the scenery was breathtaking..

hiking
22 days ago

So amazing! Lake was clear and gorgeous! View of mountain was breathtaking! Already thinking about going again.

hiking
22 days ago

Wonderful hike with an amazing view of Mt Rainier at the peak.

However, the main road to the trailhead is closed for the season. We did not know this. So it was an additional 5 miles from the parking lot to trailhead.

All in all an extra 10 miles, but it was worth it.

hiking
23 days ago

Went this morning (Saturday 10/27). Glad we got there early (~8:15) not too many people on the trail yet, but they were steadily streaming in as we left. We took ~2.5 hours with breaks at the view points. The lake isn’t really there at the moment, so the views weren’t as great, but still nice mountain shots. We thought the first big viewpoint was just as good or better than the one at the top (this may change when the lake is actually there).

Did this hike on 10/20 just before they closed the road to Sunrise. I think this is now my favorite hike to date. The trail was very well maintained and easy to follow. It does have quite a bit of gain, especially going to third burrough but it's definitely worth all the blood, sweat and tears! (ok maybe no blood). I loved that the terrain was so different, not at all what I expected, being so close/in the mountains. I believe there was a sign saying it was similar to the Tundra landscape. Either way, bring lots of water as there are no places to re-fill, hat, sunscreen (depending on when you go) because there is NO shade, poles and food. It took us about 6 hours with lots of breaks and PLENTY of stops for pictures.

Enjoyed

hiking
26 days ago

10/19 (Fri midday): Picture perfect views at the peak and all along the way. We had a clear, sunny, warm autumn day with no wind. Not one, but two clear blue lakes along a mostly flat trail to a short, steep climb to the peak/fire lookout and stunning Mt Rainier looming super large, so close you could almost touch. Big wow for my east coast guests. Popular hike but not overrun. All mountain hikes I know require driving a long gravel road like this route in, so not sure why everyone is so freaked out by it? Road is in great shape and well maintained, as you would expect with a back road in any National Park. Handled it in a rented Impala no problemo.

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