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

    Mount Rainier

    National Park Washington

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  • Expect delays due to road construction.

    Road construction is underway from the Nisqually Entrance to Longmire. The road has very rough areas. All vehicles should proceed with caution. Mon to Fri expect up to 30 minute delays and slow travel for 7 miles. 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 »

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?

Northwest face of Mount Rainier and Emmons Glacier as seen from Sunrise.

Mount Rainier is the most heavily glaciated peak in the lower 48 states at 35 square miles of snow and ice with Emmons Glacier being the largest by surface area with 4.3 square miles of ice. The Emmons is best viewed from Sunrise on the NE side of the mountain.