Tolmie Peak Trail

MODERATE 326 reviews

Tolmie Peak Trail is a 5.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Ashford, Washington that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October.

DISTANCE
5.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1522 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

snow

no dogs

Tolmie Peak Trail is a beautiful hike past alpine lakes and subalpine meadows to a fire tower lookout with great views of the surrounding peaks and a commanding view of Mount Ranier. The two-story structure houses a lookout station on the upper level and storage at ground level. With an elevation gain of 1000 feet, this lake trail takes hikers up to Eunice Lake, Ipsut Pass - part of the Wonderland Trail, and up to Tolmie Peak Lookout. The trailhead is located on the north side of Mowich lake in historic Mount Rainier National Park just southeast of Seattle and Tacoma in Washington state. An active volcano, Mount Rainier is the most glaciated peak in the contiguous United States, spawning six major rivers. A National Park Pass is required to access hiking trails in the park. NOTE: Check current trail conditions before heading out. Log footbridges frequently wash out during the winter and other conditions could be affecting the trail. For additional resources on Washington trails check out the Washington Trails Association.

Went here about April 21, 2018
The snow was so bad that you had to park 5 miles from the trail head. We tried to charge ahead but as the day got warmer it was much easier to break through the snow and was difficult to progress. We didn’t make it to the trailhead because our feet were so wet and even the dog didn’t really want to go further.
I am not going to write a bad review for a place that I didn’t get to see but I’m definitely going to come back. Very long road before trailhead (note there was 5 Miles we would’ve had to walk) and had a fair amount of potholes.
Have fun!

hiking
2 months ago

An incredible trail that is well worth the hike. I was a bit out of shape so it was a little harder than I expected. We got up early so we could beat everyone onto the trail which is a great general rule if you want to keep at your own pace.

The views are incredible. One of my absolute favorite hikes.

hiking
2 months ago

so gorgeous...

hiking
5 months ago

Hiked it in July 2017. Beautiful views. Beautiful hike. The last mile is basically straight up. Pack a lunch and enjoy it. Took the kids with us (almost 4 and almost 2 at the time) one in a hiking pack and the other on foot. Older one hiked all but the last mile up to the look out. Would do it again. Wish clouds hadn’t covered Rainier once we reached the top. But still stunning non the less.

hiking
7 months ago

SNOW UPDATE...ROAD CLOSURE
Hiked this 10-14-17
Road closed 4.2 miles from the trailhead/Mowich Lake so be prepared to hiked 4.2 miles in snowy conditions. The snow levels will change obviously with the temps going up and down but here is what we expericed on 10-14-17
-Parked car at gate closure and hiked 4.2 miles in
-First 2-3miles was packed snow approx 3-4", you will walk in one set of tire tracks the first couple miles.
-At approx 3-4 miles in the snow is deeper 4-8" and the snow is no longer packed and you just have one tire track to walk in to keep feet dry.
-Last little section, maybe 15-20min, the tire tracks stop and you are just left with footprints to walk in to stay dry.
-When you get to the lake we expericed 1-2ft of snow around the lake basin. The actual trail to the lookout was completely snowed in and unaccessible (at the time of hiking this).
- We were bummed we couldnt do the lookout but were satisfied with Mowich Lake...its was AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL with the fresh snow and crisp air. Totally worth hiking 4.2 miles up to the lake. We had clear sunny skies and about 40 degrees so it was enjoyable since we dressed accordingly.
Get out and do this hike BUT be ready for snowy conditions and a long hike in the snow. We pretty much power walked it up and it took us 2hrs and a pretty fast rate we hiked.
ALSO the last 10-20 min of the road up is an absolute pot hole nightmare. No snow on this part but just a ton of pot holes. Any car can make it up (we had a tiny car) just take your time and try to serve around them.
Get out there and see it with the snow its amazing!!!
I'll have photos in in the coming weeks of the hike on IG if anyone is interested @m_packmore

8 months ago

Awesome time! A little harder than I thought but so worth the sweat!

hiking
8 months ago

The 16 mile gravel road was jarring and scary at some points, but once you get there, it was all worth it. The trailhead gives you a beautiful glimpse of Mowich Lake through the trees. About 1 mile in, the trail descends for about 0.3 mile, then starts really going up. The last mile was pretty steep and muddy at point points, but very fun- especially when you start seeing Eunice Lake. The view at the top is phenomenal and takes your breath away for a different reason. Beware: the chipmunks are clearly too used to people and will climb on you to beg for food.

8 months ago

I'm going to review this a little differently:
The trail and the brilliant views at the fire lookout makes this one my top favorite! I've hiked the paradise and sunrise ... but this beats them both within the Mt. Rainier NP.
About the road to get to the trailhead, what a misery :( 15miles of dirt road, of which 9miles have some serious damaged road with potholes and no neon/radium indicators or even road fences! So if you skid off of the dirt road, well you will either make it to heaven or hell. Never back to earth :/ I rate this drive 2 ⭐️
Please make sure to drive at least a 4x4, carry a swimsuit if you want to jump in one of the 2 lakes, they are both clear and quite pleasant.

I posted a few pics of the potholes :D so you know they ain't not no tiny easy puddles!

hiking
8 months ago

Awesome Trail ! Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see much @ the top of the peak due to the fog but that comes with the season. It was still so beautiful ! I was definitely blindsided by the hour worth of potholes on the drive up & the $25 entry fee .. but still WORTH IT

hiking
8 months ago

Definitely worth the 10mi round trip hike! The 2nd half of it has been very slushy from the recent snow melting. I'd recommend hiking boots for traction coming down!

Amazing view at the top. Could see Mt. St. Helens clearly as well as Mt Baker in the far distance.

8 months ago

It was a great short hike and perfect for beginners. I took my little sister there for her first hike. I did not expect so much snow though and was not prepared. Overall, the view point and the view was all very worth it.

8 months ago

Fantastic trail! Was a far easier trail than was initially explained to me. Yes there are steep areas, but there are several places that are flat that you can get through fast to make up time spent on the steep areas. The steepest park was the last mile up to the fire lookout.

hiking
8 months ago

Highly recommended! An AWD or a 4x4 is also recommended due to the 20 mile dirt road you'll travel on to get up to the trail head. I went at sunrise and it was the most beautiful view of Mount Rainier Ive seen so far.

This trail starts off very easy, it's almost flat for most of the trail until the last .9 mile and then it's straight up to the lookout. Worth it, though.

9 months ago

First time in Mount Rainier National Park did not disappoint! The hike in challenging in spots, but so worth it once you get to the top! We even saw deer on the way up, which didn't seemed bothered by us. The view is stunning of Mount Rainier. Glad the weather was good too!

hiking
9 months ago

We can see why this hike is rated so highly! Unfortunately, we had some residual smoke which limited our visibility of Rainier. The dirt road going up certainly jars your insides for about an hour, but you forget that instantly. It was such an enjoyable hike that you don't realize how much ground you cover in a short period of time. We combined this with Spray Falls. Recommend as a must for Rainier NP.

hiking
9 months ago

A super interactive and non boring trail but it was a lot harder after you hit the Lake toward the top. There are lots of people along the trail as well so if you need to hike alone you don't feel unsafe

9 months ago

I would say moderate is a good judgment for those who are considering this without a ton of hiking background, like me! Actually pretty short but some good uphill parts. Plan to spend time at the peak, bring lunch and take in the views.
Very happy with my first Mt Rainier trail choice!

hiking
9 months ago

This trail was hard. I feel like it's moderate if you already hike all the time and do cardio every day. I had to stop a ton, because my heart rate got so high. I would not bring my young children, though I saw people with theirs. There are roots in the middle of the trail, nearly the whole length of it. There were rocks that were very unstable so you have to be careful. Due to the lack of rain, the dirt was very loose and you can easily slide on it. There were also rocky parts where you had to climb up a bit.
It was definitely not a stroll through the park.
The lake was wonderful and peaceful though and refreshing. Definitely bring food! And lots of water!
It's worth it, but be safe in planning your trip and don't over do it.

I feel accomplished having done it, but I know I definitely wasn't ready for it.

hiking
9 months ago

Hands down my favorite hike. Pictures just don't do it justice

hiking
9 months ago

Fairly challenging hike, but the views made the hike easy and worth it. There were PLENTY of opportunities to stop and "enjoy the view". :) This I'd hands down my favorite hike in Washington thus far.

9 months ago

nice challenging hike for the family.

hiking
9 months ago

Beautiful hike. Was a bit harder than I anticipated , but still intermediate all in all. The 10 ish mile road to the trailhead is a pain in the butt to drive.

9 months ago

I'm planing on doing a sunrise hike this Saturday. Can anyone tell me their experience with sunrise hikes here. Any tips? Thank you in advance

Loved this hike!! A great workout both directions but so worth it!

hiking
9 months ago

This is a wonderful trail and the view from the top is absolutely worth the effort. We hiked on 8/23. The bugs weren't terrible, I think that there is a bee hive somewhere near Eunice lake. No mosquitoes the day we hiked. This is definitely a moderate trail past the lake. Good stable switchbacks with lots if places to take pics and rest. Hiking out past the Ranger Station was great, nice thin ridge trail with no other hikers. I definitely recommend doing this trail. Go early morning though, it gets hot. We swam in Eunice lake on the way back to cool off.

hiking
9 months ago

Rates high for payoff to mileage ratio! Enjoyed every moment of it.

Arrived at the trailhead by 745am and there was only one other vehicle. As others have mentioned, road up is washboard and a park pass is required. The trail itself is well marked, follow the signs and you will be fine. Trees covered most of the trail and bugs at this time of year weren't biting.

The last 0.8 mile ascent to the fire lookout may look daunting but it was surprisingly gradual. And oh, the crystal blue lakes were amazing!! We jumped in. It was cold but not unbearable. Be on the lookout for bears! We saw what looked like bear feces several times and a gal we ran into said she heard there were sightings by Eunice Lake yesterday.

hiking
9 months ago

Before heading out to this incredible trail, be sure to check the weather forecast for the Trail area (hike most worth your time on a clear day!), the applicable road conditions, park alerts, and current Trail conditions. Most of these things can be found at https://www.nps.gov/mora/index.htm
This Trail area requires you to have a National Park Pass. If you're active duty military, you get a pass card for free, but I highly recommend going to the carbon river ranger station on your way to this trail to get it beforehand. On the way to the Tolmie Peak Trailhead, there is a fork in the road with a sign showing to the left is the way to get to the ranger station. It is 5 miles from that fork. If you need to pay, I'd still recommend the ranger station if you have any questions for the rangers, but otherwise there is a pay booth (no attendant) "fee station" on the road to the trailhead (about 11miles out from it). Not far past the fork the road turns to a gravel road that is pretty bumpy at parts and very dusty. You will be on that gravel road for 16miles.
We had to park .5mi from the trailhead due to how many cars were there (parking is just parallel parking on the side of the gravel road), but it wasn't a bad walk up to the trailhead other than it being a bit dusty.
The only bathrooms are: one at the fee station, and one at the Mowich Lake Campground (.5mi away from main trail near the trailhead). There is no water sources on the trail unless you purify water from the lake. Pack in some snacks too to eat at the top!
Trail was 5.5-6miles round trip (6.5-7 for us though counting getting to and from our car). If you aren't used to hiking fairly steep inclines/declines, this hike will be a bit of a challenge. It is definitely doable though as long as you pace yourself, and is absolutely worth any effort required! The trail is just a dirt trail with some roots sticking out in parts and some rocks. Ipsut Pass is also a beautiful view and is only 200ft off the main trail - just keep an eye out for its sign.
I believe you can swim in either lake, I swam in Eunice Lake in the afternoon on the way back down, and it was beautiful and extremely refreshing! The water was chilly, but worth it! You can check the approx water temp ahead of time at https://www.fishingnotes.com/fishing-report/wa/Eunice-Lake The water was approx 64degrees when I went.
Some people posted that they had an issue with bugs, but we did not. Maybe take bug spray just in case, and don't forget sunscreen. Also, you may not have cell service once you get into the park, so save any internet information you need for your day ahead of time.
We took our time hiking, and with the stop at the top and time to swim, we were out for a total of 5-6hrs.

Nice weather for our hike to Tolmie Peak Lookout. We arrived near the trailhead around noon. Needless to say we ended up parking .5 miles from the trailhead. Not bad for our arrival time. The hike was moderate but we'll worth the efforts for the spectacular views.

hiking
9 months ago

Absolutely amazing! Switchbacks are pretty hard but it's worth it!

9 months ago

Easy hike and beautiful views. Worth the drive on the washboardy road up.

Load More