• 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 »

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

Three Lakes Trail

Trail route from Highway 123 near Stevens Canyon entrance to Three Lakes/ SE.
Map of the Three Lakes Trail route from Hwy 123. Use of a topographic map of the area is recommended.
 

Trail Description:

Distance, round-trip:

12 miles

Elevation gain:

2700 feet

Hiking time, round-trip:

6 hours

Wilderness camps:

Three Lakes

Drive one mile north of Ohanapecosh on SR 123. Park on the west side of the road at Laughingwater Creek. The trailhead is across the highway.

For the first mile the trail has a gentle grade. It then becomes a steady but gradual climb for the next two miles. After these first three miles, the trail ascends steeply for the next 3.5 miles until its junction with the unmaintained East Boundary Trail. Beyond the junction, it descends slightly for a half mile until reaching Three Lakes.


Along the Trail:


The trail follows Laughingwater Creek as it leads hikers through the forest. Stop to enjoy the loud and soothing sound of the creek from its bank. Atop the ridge hikers will find three small mountain lakes. Mount Rainier can be seen by taking a short half-mile hike beyond the third lake and emerging from the forest into an open area.


Backpacking:


The camp at Three Lakes is one of the few in the park where stock is permitted. With or without stock, permits are required for camping. Camp only in the designated sites. Camping adjacent to the lakes is prohibited! 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?

Artist rendering of the Osceola Mudflow releasing from Mount Rainier.

About 5,600 years ago the summit and northeast face of Mount Rainier fell away in a massive landslide accompanied by volcanic explosions. The Osceola Mudflow, a towering wall of mud and rock, thundered down the White River Valley where it deposited 600' of debris eventually reaching the Puget Sound.