Tatoosh Ridge Trail

HARD 55 reviews
#43 of 131 trails in

Tatoosh Ridge Trail is a 11 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Packwood, Washington that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking and horses and is best used from July until September. Horses are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 11.0 miles Elevation Gain: 4,081 feet Route Type: Out & Back

hiking

horseback riding

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

over grown

snow

no dogs

From Packwood, drive north 4 miles on Skate Creek Road (Forest Service Road 52) to Forest Service Road 5270. Turn right and drive 6 miles to the signed trailhead on the right.

hiking
12 days ago

Ok

hiking
bugs
17 days ago

An amazing hike, one of the best in the area. Hard but worth it.

hiking
no shade
17 days ago

Beautiful hike and the trail is in good condition right now. There are a few very short rocky sections and most of the trail is very narrow, but easily done as a day hike. My watch clocked 12 miles round trip, not 11. The climb up is hard and even harder on the legs going back down. The views are OUTSTANDING so save this hike for a clear, sunny day. Not a lot of shade once you hit the saddle so bring sunscreen. Very few bugs for us. STUNNING HIKE!!

hiking
29 days ago

Make sure to have clear weather so you get to see the magnificent view at the top.

hiking
1 month ago

Very beautiful. Great views of St. Helens, Adams, and Rainier!

hiking
1 month ago

On the backside of the first ridge, the trail is eroded a bit and overgrown. But absolutely worth the unreal view at the end. Camped at the smaller lake at the top of the ridge (where it’s legal), and was treated to an amazing sunset and sunrise. Found signs of mountain goats (shed fur) by the lake tough 2.5 ascent, but the downhill coming back was brutal.

hiking
bugs
rocky
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

always been our hideaway hike . but words out . never seen more then 2 cars at trailhead . 21 cars this weekend. Flowers are rocking

hiking
2 months ago

At the signage, we went up to the lakes, and did not continue on to the ridge and beyond, so my review is only for that segment. Tough from the get-go! Elevation gain was 3,400 and about 7 1/2 miles round trip. It was misty day so not much visibility but oh, those meadows and wildflowers!! So so pretty!! Lakes were gorgeous as well! This was a unique and special hike with its terrain, in my opinion! I’d love to come back in the sunshine but know it would be so much tougher this way on the exposed trail. We welcomed the cooler weather today. Road was good condition too.

hiking
bugs
off trail
scramble
snow
3 months ago

6/2/2019. Beautiful trail, although 2.3 miles in, it was extremely difficult to move on. I scrambled off trail a bit where there’s no snow to see if I could make it back to the ridge line, but after doing that and seeing that the ridge line was completely covered in snow, I decided to make the disappointing decision to turn back. I did see tracks of people in the snow making it to the intersection that connects to the lake. I may need some better crampons. I was at 5440 ft when I got a clear and beautiful view of Mt St. Helens, hence the 5 stars. I would recommend waiting until late June or early July to hike this trail.

hiking
muddy
scramble
snow
3 months ago

Trail was steep so expect a good work out snow st the 5200 elevation I stopped there because I forgot two important things a coat and GPS

hiking
11 months ago

The road in is very good, only thing to add is it’s 7 miles instead of 6 to trailhead on 5270. Definitely don’t need your morning coffee on this hike as it gets your calf’s screaming and lungs pumping from the get-go. Trail is in good shape other than a few spots where runoff has eroded parts of the trail. A few frozen areas on the trail as the temperatures are dropping and very little sunlight reaching parts of the trail. I enjoy hiking for the anticipation of whats around the corner or over a hill and this hike had several. When you crest the small saddle towards Tatoosh lake and all you see is sky and then it opens up to a vast wilderness, rocky peaks, glaciers and Mt Rainier. Not much else needs said. There may not have been any colorful wild flowers but the colors of autumn were pretty awesome. Made it to the last lake and took a short break and headed back. Definitely a hike you can do in a day but plan on the entire day. I started at 9 and was out by 6. Nearly 14 miles if you do the entire trail and climb down to both lakes. Next trip, I’ll camp 1 night.

11 months ago

This hike is tough. The switchbacks really do not seem to help. The views are nice once you clear the tree line. Be sure to only do this hike on a clear day so you can see the scenery to include Rainer. Once you crest the Ridgeline apx 2.5 miles in , there is a foot path to your left; leading up to a small summit that gives you great views of the tatoosh lake and glacier. This is the closest I got to summiting the ridge. The remainder of the 2.7 mile trail is great if you can comfortably scramble. I wasn’t able to find the way up the tatoosh Ridgeline once the clearly marked trail ended and risking a fall could be catastrophic for the remainder of the .7 mile trail. It was also getting cloudy and late in the afternoon so I opted to turn around. It’s okay though, since I was able to view the scenery from a supplementary Ridgeline as mentioned earlier.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

This is a brutal hike. Straight up. Switchback after switchback. Wear good shoes, I hike in my Nikes, not my hiking boots. They gave me blisters for two weeks last time. A walking stick would be helpful coming down. It’s steep. The view, flowers and wildlife are worth the haul. You can get up to the top and poke around without doing the whole 11 miles. Enjoy!

backpacking
Saturday, August 25, 2018

My first venture into the Tatoosh Wilderness, I used the north trailhead. I hiked in about 3.5 miles to only the 2nd campsite I'd seen along the way, as there is almost no flat terrain on this trail! But I wasn't disappointed. It's a nice but small single tent campsite with an unobstructed view of Mount Rainier. "But why only 3.5 miles?", you might ask? Well, the guidebook says that the initial 2.5 mile climb is "relentless," but I think this is a generous description. The word I would use to describe it is BRUTAL! There were moments when I began to question my capacity to make it to the top...... but then I popped out of the trees into steep open meadow and I knew that the climb was worth it. Beautiful!

Friday, July 27, 2018

The view at the top is amazing! The reason I don't rate this hike a five star: 1. The horse flies are terrible! 2. The hike up to the top isn't as beautiful as I have seen in most other hikes. 3. The trail is a bit over grown. This hike is worth doing for sure but I don't think I will do it again.

hiking
Monday, July 16, 2018

Stunning hike, one of the best hikes I have ever been on. The hike is hard for sure, especially the first few miles. You can get to the Tatoosh Peak now. Be careful of the trail about 4 miles in, it has washed out, very slippy on the hill sides, use poles.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Hiked 6/26. Easy drive to trailhead, last 7 miles are gravel/dirt but the road is in great condition. This is a difficult and strenuous hike with constant elevation gain most of the time. Past the split to the lake there were a few remaining snow patches covering sections of the trail. Some we were able to walk across and 2 ended right at the trail so we were able to walk right below the trail. After we got our first view of Rainier we hiked around the corner and then had one last scramble with excellent views. Could not have continued past that point even if we wanted to due to snow. The views were excellent and definitely worth the effort!

hiking
Saturday, June 16, 2018

June 15- absolutely beautiful hike. Very strenuous but definitely worth the views from the top, even on a partly cloudy day. Once we got to the sign where the trail splits to go off to lake/peak, snow got pretty bad. Completely covered the trail beyond that point and we had to turn around. Definitely a later-summer hike. But definitely worth it, regardless!

backpacking
Monday, May 28, 2018

May 26 2018: Decided to give this trail a try for Memorial Day weekend and it turned out to be too early in the season to hike. We got about 2 miles in and the trail disappeared underneath a blanket of snow! We had to turn around and camp along the forest road. Hoping to come back in summer and give this trail another try. Also the previous comments weren’t joking when they said the beginning of the hike is a ton of butt kicking switch backs.

backpacking
Thursday, January 25, 2018

Last June (2017), we decided end our two week long rode trip with a mini backpacking trail, and this is where we ended up! It was definitely not a trail for beginner hikers, as it took me three and a half hours to go up, and then two hours back down. But it sure was worth it! The views were STUNNING! The lakes were perfect and there was just the right amount of snow that it cooled off the heat from the June sun. We hiked to a little ridge to watch the sunset over the Cascades and damn was it beautiful! We just brought out our little tents and camped off the trail a bit and had a great night. Amazing spot to hike in the summer.

hiking
Thursday, July 28, 2016

very beautiful view at the top. great views of mt adams, mt st. helens and of course mt rainer. a steep hike at first then starts to get less steep. lots of flys and bugs and overgrowth on the trail overall a tough but rewarding hike

hiking
Sunday, October 19, 2014

I hiked Tatoosh Peak on Oct 4. 2014 using the Tatoosh North trailhead for a 12 mile RT hike that took 8 hours counting stops. Accessible from road 5270, 10 miles from Packwood. Tatoosh Peak can also be accessed from the Tatoosh South trailhead for a 16.4 mile trailhead to trailhead hike. At the north trailhead, parking is on the one-laned road with small pullouts that can accommodate a fair amount of vehicles. Steps greet you right from the get-go. Shortly you’ll enter the Tatoosh Wilderness and gain 300ft before you start 12 or so strenuous switchbacks that add to its difficulty. You’ll have the forest view for a bit that soon opens up as you start cresting the ridge. You’ll switchback across a spring which is a good water source. If you don’t stop by the lakes, there is no other water source in October on your way to the peak. As you’d expect in October, wildflowers are dead and meadows are changing from greens to browns, yellows and reds. The vistas are still amazing though. Once out of the forest, the rest of the hike traverses the ridge at about the 5600ft mark and is among the meadows. Soon the junction to Tatoosh Lakes appears. Continue straight if heading to the peak. In a mile or so the contour crosses a ridge where views of the back side of Tatoosh Peak and the Packwood Valley can be seen. Follow this along for another mile or so to a saddle where you can continue on to the South Tatoosh trailhead if you like. It’s a 180 degree view with distant views of the Goat Rocks and Mt. Adams to name a few. Just before the saddle is the junction to Tatoosh Peak. Turn left and climb 400ft following the ridge where the trail can be seen leading to the peak. Up until now, parts of Mt. Rainier have only been seen a couple times and it comes into full view at the peak. Now, Mt. Rainier is in your face and although it was cloud covered and getting darker, it’s still amazing. Atop the peak Mt. Adams, The Goat Rocks, Mount St. Helens and in the distance Mt. Hood can be seen as well as parts of the foundation of an old lookout. The view isn’t quite 360 degrees as a few trees block the view, but almost. They can be avoided by moving along the peak a few yards. Below the peak is a small glacier fed pond still mostly covered in ice. To the left you can see that the ridgeline continues. After a 15-20 minute lunch I continued along the ridgeline in an attempt to view Tatoosh Lakes, however, was abruptly stopped by a developing storm that traveled from Mt. Rainier to me in no-time. It poured and I found myself with no place to hide and quickly headed back to the peak and down the ridge to the saddle as it continued to rain for 30-45 minutes. By the time I made it back to the lakes junction, I was dry again. I hiked this 10yrs ago and remember that Mt. Rainier was in your face. I’ve wanted to do it again ever since. Today the timing was a bit off but all things considered, I’d do it again in a heartbeat… albeit during wildflower season.

hiking
Tuesday, August 05, 2014

I started at the north TH as described in the driving directions but I'm pretty sure you can also start from a south TH as well. This is a really pretty hike with huge green slopes and wildflowers galore. It was a really hot day out and the climb is fairly steep, so I was warn out by the time I made it to Tatoosh Peak. Plenty of bugs to keep me company too. There is not much shade at the top so I recommend getting an early start and bring sunscreen. The views are worth it and even if you can't make it all the way to the peak there is a well defined short trail up a ridge that you come to about 1/2 mile after turning right at the Tatoosh Ridge/Tatoosh Lakes junction that offers some excellent views.

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