• 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 »

Owyhigh Lakes Trail

Trail route from White River to Owyhigh Lakes/ NE.
A map of the Owyhigh Lakes Trail from White River entrance. Use of a topographic map of the area is recommended.
 

Trail Description:

Distance, round-trip:

7 miles

Elevation gain:

1350 feet

Hiking time, round-trip:

3.5 hours

Wilderness camps:

Tamanos Creek

Drive through the White River Entrance and proceed two miles to a parking area on the right. The trailhead is located across the road.

The trail climbs steadily for 3.5 miles through the forest on a series of switchbacks. For hikers traveling beyond the lakes, the trail continues uphill a short distance to the pass then drops 4.8 miles along Kotsuck Creek to a junction with the East Side Trail. A final .4 mile uphill section leads to SR 123.

According to legend, these lakes were named after Yakima Chief "Owhi," who loaned horses to Theodore Winthrop (after whom the Winthrop Glacier was names), when Winthrop was on a trek across the cascades in the mid-1850s.


Along the Trail:


Although this hike offers no views of Mount Rainier, it does offer an array of secluded mountain lakes and meadows aglow with wildflowers in mid-summer. The jagged cliffs of Governors Ridge rise high above the lakes to the east while Tamanos Mountain lies directly west.


Backpacking:


Tamanos Creek Camp is located among the trees three miles from the trailhead, and .5 mile short of the lakes. Although the creek is often dry by late summer, Owyhigh Lakes provide a reliable source of water. Treat water before drinking. 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.

Did You Know?

Volunteers from Japan working on the Kautz boardwalk accessible trail.

Mount Fuji in Japan is Mount Rainier's sister mountain. Visitors from Japan have noted a strong resemblance between the two volcanoes. Mount Rainier is honored to have a contingent of volunteers from Japan come to the park each year for two weeks to work on a project.