Carbon Trail to Bearhead Trail is a 5.7 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Carbonado, Washington that features a great forest setting and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and snowshoeing and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length5.7 miElevation gain1,709 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashHikingSnowshoeingForestViews
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The road leading to the trailhead is very rocky. 4WD and good ground clearance is recommended.

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Reviews (73)
Photos (209)
Activities (55)
Completed (123)
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Alexandra Shumway
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarDecember 6, 2020
HikingSnow

Even Jeeps and trucks were struggling to reach the trailhead yesterday. We parked about 2 miles back from the trailhead and set out with every intention of reaching Bearhead. However, when we reached the fork for Summit Lake, it was clear that Bearhead was the path less traveled, and it looked to be snowshoe traffic only. We opted for summit lake as we didn’t have snowshoes and that path was much more packed. I drive a Honda CRV with AWD and was not comfortable driving closer than 2 miles. Plan to add some mileage to your trip, and wear snowshoes!

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Ashley Wilson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 2, 2020
Hiking

***WARNING*** If you do not have a truck/SUV, or at least 7 inches of clearance with your auto, DO NOT GO!! Lol, I was able to make it up to the parking/trailhead in my Honda civic, but it was not enjoyable at all!! Heads up, there is about 3 miles of rocky road until you even get to the parking. BUT, with that said, BEAUTIFUL hike!! absolutely worth it when you get to the top if you take Bearhead trail! I stayed at the top for over an hour because it was just so breathtaking. Definitely the reset I needed.

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Chris Vanek
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 27, 2020
HikingIcyMuddy

combined with summit lake, couple inches snow easy hike watch icy off camber roots, nice view if u explore

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Frances Shi
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 8, 2020
HikingGreat!

It’s a quite trail and we saw about 10 parties of people during our afternoon hike. Mt Rainier is never appeared so close with her stunning almightiness! Wild flowers have almost done with the peak blossom. The dusty & narrow trail is mostly in shade. Be aware that the road to the trailhead is really bumpy, with loose gravel, pointy rocks and potholes, for about 4-5 miles. AWD/SUV/high clearance vehicles are recommended.

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Debbie Darling
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 31, 2020
HikingGreat!

make sure you get there early. the parking get filled up fast.. very popular hike. the trail was very rocky, and very root bound, very dog friendly. other than that, the hike was well worth getting to the top. it is differently a cardio work out. The bearhead trail is very popular.

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Andrea Hu
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 29, 2020
Hiking

The view is fantastic! Mt Rainier looks so close! Trail is narrow all the way. But it worth it.

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Abby June
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 29, 2020
HikingGreat!

The road drive up to the trail is terribly rough, low clearance vehicles would suffer, newer and nicer ones will get scratched up. The trail is pleasant, the view it worth is at the top! Amazing!

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Dr. Pepper & Nurse J
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 26, 2020
Hiking

Amazing views! Nice trail and hardly passed anyone after Summit Lake. Road is pretty rough the last 3 miles, it may be doable without high clearance if you go very slow. No cell service on entire trail (Verizon or ATT).

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Tara McCray
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 25, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful!! Probably my new favorite! Really nice mix of forest and stunning views, some tough sections and some flatter sections. We went on a Sunday and started around 2, got back to the car by 5. As others said, the summit lake trail portion is crowded and only about half the people had on masks. Once we were on Bearhead we only saw about 3 groups they all wore masks. I’m guessing that people who don’t shy away from heavily trafficked trails are also the ones who are less concerned about COVID, while hikers seeking a lightly trafficked trail are more likely to also respect distancing and mask guidelines. Our dogs loved the trail and we didn’t have any problems with the happy bees pollinating the wildflowers. The road isn’t that bad compared to Pilchuck, but there is a stretch about a mile before the trailhead where only 1 car can easily fit at a time, so some cars had to maneuver backwards.

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Anna Taylor
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 24, 2020
HikingGreat!

Got to the trailhead around 7:30 Sunday morning and the parking lot was full, mostly backpackers I’m assuming. We only saw one other couple on the way up to Bearhead Mountain. Beautiful wildflowers, lots of happy bumble bees and stunning views of Tahoma. Passed a few more people on our way down but still pretty quiet, until the trail merges back with the Summit Lake trail, then there were a ton of people. Most wearing masks.

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Julie Bissell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 10, 2020
HikingGreat!

Co-sign what other people say about the road and going on a clear day. Challenging and spectacular. Tons of wildflowers and happy bees out (August)

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Charles N
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 9, 2020
Hiking
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Albert Cho
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 8, 2020
Hiking
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Natalia Wojcik
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 6, 2020
HikingGreat!

Go on a day with crystal clear skies! We went when it was a little cloudy and it was still beautiful but I’m going to come back on a clear day because the top of Rainier was hidden by clouds. Still a very beautiful fun hike! It’s really steep for the first 30-45 minutes and then levels out and is easy after that. Then you get all the good views! The last 30 minutes of the drive up was really rocky so drive an SUV, thankfully there wasn’t a steep drop off next to the road so you feel very protected, just have to dodge some rocks on the road.

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James Sant
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 27, 2020
Hiking

Phenomenal views of Mt rainier once you're a little over halfway up. Trail is a constant but gradual uphill, so it's not too difficult to climb. About 4-5 hour round trip. The forestry road up is VERY Rocky and bumpy, I'd recommend a vehicle with high clearance. It's also very narrow in some spots. Very low traffic after you go off the summit lake trail up to bearhead.

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Korri Baird
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 26, 2020
HikingBugs

Beautiful views from the top! The road going up to the trailhead can be pretty rough, and since this area is popular there’s a lot of cars one a one lane gravel road... Bearhead isn’t as popular as Sunmit Lake so it was a pretty quiet hike until I was coming down to go back to the car.

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Julia Funderburk
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 26, 2020
Hiking

Fantastic hike - enough distance and altitude gain to get your heart rate up without feeling wasted. After splitting off of summit lake trail - we saw no one on the remainder of the outbound hike. 360 views for days. On the return - only passed one pair on the bearhead trail and maybe 3 other small groups on the lower portion near the lake. 95% with masks 100% honored social distance protocol. Few bugs (mostly bees that were busy focusing on the beautiful wild flowers). Road there is “doable” for no 4WD or high clearance, but do reconsider. We were stuck behind a few subcompacts with a taste for adventure that far exceeded their ability to deliver ;) We were almost dissuaded by the parking situation - lots of cars and very slow coming and going as the road only accommodated one car at a time, but - turns out they were they were mostly campers, never saw most of the humans attached. Northwest Forest Pass required ... no pay station.

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Trevor Beal
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 23, 2020
HikingGreat!

One of the best views of Rainier I've seen - the last half of the trail is quiet (most people split off to Summit Lake) and the views are great if you go on a clear day

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Drew Bell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 19, 2020
Hiking

First of all you need to drive an SUV or truck. It is on a road that is incredibly rocky and a one lane road. Hopefully you don’t mind your car getting scratched up a little bit. But once you get to the parking lot it is a great hike. It is a nice easy incline all the way up to the top to the lake. There was still some snow up there but not much. Some people seem to be taking a dip in the lake sounds cold to me. Also there was tons of people with their dogs!!! Even the pups enjoyed themselves!

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Deisury Lopez
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMay 15, 2020
Closed

the road leading up to the trailhead is closed. Gave it a one star because it's making me rate it haha.

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Justin Himes
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 4, 2020
HikingIcyMuddyScrambleSnow

4wd truck/suv required to reach parking lot. Lots of snow. We turned around after the carbon trail split in the upper snowfields. I would suggest ropes. Crampons, and climbing gear to go past the carbon trail split across the snow fields. Very steep and icy terrain. We turned around. But very beautiful.

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Jessica Velez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 6, 2019
HikingMuddy
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Stephen Battey
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 6, 2019
HikingMuddyRockySnowWashed out
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