Reflection Lake is one of my favorite places to stop while visiting Paradise. It's a gorgeous destination all its own and offers stunning views of Rainier when it's visible.
While exploring the lake on one of our trips my twin sister, her four kids, ranging from 5-11, and I stumbled upon the Lakes Trail. Since we'd never been this way we decided to give it a try.
The short 2 mile (roundtrip) trail with a 300 ft. elevation gain was a bit steep with several tall steps and biting horse flies along the way. The trail itself wasn't very impressive but stepping out of the tree line and coming face to face with a small lake at the top was beautiful.
If you hook a right at the top your reward for the hike becomes obvious when you step out onto the cliff-face. The view from here is spectacular. The Tatoosh peaks stretch out before and Louise Lake sits calmly below your feet. You can watch cars snake along the road far below, completely unaware of what they are missing.
The sense of freedom is exhilarating. I don't know about you, but for me it's extremely humbling to stand before God's magnificent creation in marvel.
This is a great spot for tons of photos and a well deserved rest break before you return to Reflection Lake or continue up the mountain on foot to Paradise. A word of caution, especially for those with children, the cliff-face is unprotected and covered in loose rocks. Slipping is easy and a fall straight down from this height would surely be disastrous.
I highly recommend plenty of water and snacks for this venture.
I also suggest arriving as early as possible to ensure parking and avoid the crowds since the lake and trail are popular in the summer.
Rules to be aware of:
1. Dogs aren't allowed on national park trails and should be left at home.
2. Feeding the wildlife is illegal and can lead to a $1500 fine. And before you think you won't get caught, you'd be very surprised by how many rangers are out and about and seem to pop out of thin air.
'til next time,