Tolmie Peak Trail
Updated: Nov 25, 2018
I've hiked this gorgeous trail three times in five years and it's still by far my all time favorite trail. This 7.5 miles roundtrip trail with a 1100 ft. elevation gain definitely isn't easy but can be done by families. One of our trips included four kids ranging from 5-11 all who made it to the lookout tower at the top.
Why do I love this trail so much you ask? Simple, Lake Eunice, which sits in the middle of the trail and can be a destination all it's own if the peak isn't your thing.
Awe doesn't even begin to cover the emotions I experienced the first time I saw this gorgeous teal lake. I don't know if it was simply because it was the first time in my life, I came face to face with something so beautiful I could walk right up and touch or because it happens to be one of my all time favorite colors or because I felt so much peace just at the sight of it.
To this day just looking at photos makes me want to jump right in the car and rush straight back.
But there's more to love about this trail than just the lake. It starts with parking at gorgeous Mowich Lake, which offers a campground and other trails.
From there you wander through open lowland forest along the west side of the lake before moving onto switchbacks as you climb away from the lake. There are several beautiful rock formations along the way worth checking out. Keep your eyes open for the Pikas who call the home.
Keep left at Ipsut Pass and continue another 0.8 miles to Lake Eunice. Lake Eunice is a great place for a break, exploring and photography, just be careful not to trample the fragile meadows around the lake. It's our responsibility to preserve the beauty we have left.
If grand views of Rainier and the ranger station are your plans, continue past the lake for the final uphill trek. Though only a mile to Tolmie Peak, the climb is steep so take your time and remember the destination is well worth it.
From Tolmie you get views of the northern peaks and the Carbon River Valley but the main attraction is Mt. Rainier to the south. From here the spectacular snowcapped mountain rises sharply against clear blue skies across lush forest valley's and a glimmering Lake Eunice.
Though you can't go in, you can climb to the top of the old fire watchtower for a higher vantage point and great photo opportunities. There's also a trail that leads past the tower if you're still feeling adventurous.
I highly recommend plenty of water, snacks and breaks (there's so much to see along the way, this shouldn't be hard).
I also suggest arriving as early as possible to ensure parking and avoid the crowds since this is a popular trail 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,