Carbon and Mowich
Carbon River, named for coal deposits found in the area, is located in the park’s northwest corner. This part of Mount Rainier National Park receives consistently high amounts of rainfall so the climate and plant communities found here resemble that of a temperate rainforest.
The Carbon River road was washed out by the 2006 flood and is open to vehicles only to the Carbon River Ranger Station at the park boundary. Bicycle and pedestrian traffic are permitted on the remainder of the road inside the park. Carbon is reached via the Carbon River road, off of State Route 165.
Mowich Lake is set in a glacial basin surrounded by fragile wildflower meadows, and is the largest and deepest lake in Mount Rainier National Park. The road is unpaved after the first three miles and may be rough. It is generally open mid-July to mid-October. Mowich is reached via State Route 165.
Check the road status prior to visiting the Carbon & Mowich area.
The Ipsut Creek Campground is located 5 miles (8 km) from the Carbon River Entrance. Due to the 2006 flood the road is closed to vehicles; the campground is open to hikers with a backcountry camping permit.
The Mowich Lake Campground and Paul Peak Trailhead/Mowich Lake picnic area are located 6 miles (9.5 km) from the Mowich Entrance. Both the Mowich Lake campground and picnic area are open midsummer to early fall.
The Carbon River area includes old-growth forest and inland temperate rain forest. The Carbon Glacier is the lowest elevation glacier in the lower 48 states.
The Mowich area provides a gateway to spectular sub-alpine lakes and meadows. Sub-alpine meadows are very sensitive to disturbance, so please stay on the trails at all times.
Rain Forest Nature Trail (0.3 mi/0.5 km)
Chenuis Falls Trail (7.4 mi/11.9 km roundtrip)
Green Lake Trail (9.6 mi/15.4 km roundtrip)
Carbon Glacier Trail (17 mi/27.4 km roundtrip)
Tolmie Peak Trail (6.5 mi/10.5 km roundtrip)
Enjoy other day hikes in the Carbon & Mowich area.
Biking at Carbon & Mowich
While the 2006 flood closed the Carbon River Road to motor vehicle traffic, the approximately 5 mile (8 km) road is still accessible to mountain bikers, up to the Ipsut Creek Campground and trailheads. Biking is not allowed on any trails.
More information on bicycling at Mount Rainier.
Did You Know?
The Paradise meadows were once home to a golf course, rope tows for skiers, an auto campground, and rows of tent cabins. All of these activities damaged the meadows, as does walking off-trail. Management practices have changed over the years, and we now protect and restore our precious subalpine meadows.