• Mount Rainier peeks through clouds, viewed across subalpine wildflowers and glacial moraine.

    Mount Rainier

    National Park Washington

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  • Nisqually to Paradise delays and Kautz Creek area closure.

    Road construction from the Nisqually Entrance to Longmire. Expect a 30-minute delay, Monday through Friday. Beginning May 29 to mid-July, all services at the Kautz Creek parking and picnic area are closed through the week. Limited parking on Sat & Sun. More »

  • Melting snow bridges and high streamflows create hazards for hikers, skiers, and snowshoers

    Be aware of hidden- and potentially fatal- hazards created by snow bridges and high streamflows on Mount Rainier. More »

Golden Lakes Trail

Trail route from Westside Road, near Nisqually entrance, through Klapatche Park to Golden Lakes/ SW.
A map of the Golden Lakes Trail route from Westside Road, Nisqually Entrance.  Use of a topographic map of the area is recommended.
 

Trail Description:

Distance, round-trip:

34.5 miles

Elevation gain:

1500 feet

Hiking time, round-trip:

22.5 hours

Wilderness camps:

Golden Lakes Camp

This area of fifteen or more small lakes was so named because of the golden sunset colors reflected from the lakes' surfaces. The length of this hike, however, makes it a two-day experience.



One mile east of the Nisqually Entrance is the Westside Road junction. Turn here and continue up the Westside Road to where it ends (approximately 3 miles from the start of the road). Hike up the closed portion of the road to the trailhead (approximately 9.5 miles to the old road's end). The trailhead can be located at the upper end of what was the parking area.

The hike begins gently by following an abandoned dirt road for the first 2.75 miles. From the end of the old road the trail is relatively level at first, then climbs steeply out of the valley into Sunset Park. Atop the ridge in the Silver Forest the trail peaks, then gradually descends .8 mile to Golden Lakes.


Along the
Trail:


Created by a rampant fire in 1930, the area of Sunset Park known as the Silver Forest remains a picturesque land of silver snags. The meadows of Sunset Park are abundant with wildflowers in mid-summer and are host to black bears foraging on the plentiful supply of huckleberries early in the fall. Spectacular views await hikers who choose to explore this trail!


Backpacking:


Some of the campsites at Golden Lakes provide good views and easy access to the lakes. An historic ranger cabin is located near the camp. Permits are required for camping. Permits and current trail conditions are available park-wide from wilderness information centers, ranger stations, and visitor centers. Fires are prohibited. No pets on trails. Treat water before drinking.

Did You Know?

Visitor exploring the former Paradise Ice Caves.

For many years, the Paradise Ice Caves were a popular attraction at Mount Rainier. Until the 1980s, visitors could explore passages within the Paradise Glacier which had formed due to seasonal melting of the ice. By the early 1990s, climate change had melted away the last traces of the caves. More...