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Cora Lake

Mount Rainier Area > SW - Longmire/Paradise
46.6779, -121.8946 Map & Directions
6.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
400 feet
Highest Point
3,800 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Cora Lake on a quiet day. Photo by racheljlp. Full-size image
  • Dogs allowed on leash
  • Established campsites
  • Waterfalls
  • Old growth
  • Good for kids
  • Lakes
  • Fall foliage
  • Rivers

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

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Enjoy this easy hike through massive trees with great views of a lovely lake and an impressive lookout towering over it all. Continue reading

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Hiking Cora Lake

Enjoy this easy hike through massive trees with great views of a lovely lake and an impressive lookout towering over it all.

This is a relatively easy trail hiked through mostly open old growth firs. Kids will love it, since the trail crosses and recrosses Big Creek, though neither crossing has a bridge. You'll want to keep one hand on little hikers, and use caution in times of high water.

Both crossings are fairly easy to do, though you may get your feet wet if you are not careful. There are obvious campsites on the shore of Cora Lake, but they are rarely used. High Rock lookout towers over Cora Lake, with it's white fire lookout cabin visible on clear days.

WTA Pro Tip: There are two ways to arrive at Cora Lake, either using the Teely Trail or the Big Creek Trail. The Big Creek Trail approach is shorter with less elevation gain, while the Teely Creek Trail (nearer the trailhead for High Rock) involves a climb up and through a saddle, then back down to the lake itself. 

Hike Description Written by
Multiple authors contributed to this report, WTA Community

Cora Lake

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 46.6779, -121.8946 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee


WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

For the Big Creek Trail, drive from Packwood, following Forest Road 52 (Skate Creek) north for 18.2 miles and turn left on Forest Road 84. Follow Forest Road 84 for 4.2 miles and turn right on Forest Road 8420. Follow Forest Road 8420 for 1.6 miles and arrive at the trail on your left.

To get to the Teely Creek Trail from Elbe, about 40 miles south of Tacoma along State Route 7, follow SR-706 east for 10.1 miles. When you pass Ashford, it is approximately two more miles to your next turn, a right onto Kernahan Road.  Follow the road 1.4 miles. Here it curves to the left, and becomes Skate Creek Road, which you follow for 3.3 miles. Turn onto FR-84, a smooth dirt road. The sign for FR-84 is not visible coming this way.

After turning onto FR-84, continue on for 6.5 miles. Stay right when it forks, you are now on Road 8440. At 1.8 miles along 8440 is a Creek crossing and the trail location. 

A bit further along, at 2.6 miles along 8440, the road levels off and gets broad enough to park a dozen or more vehicles. This is Towhead Gap. there is good parking here, at elevation 4320 feet. No pass is required. High Rock and the cabin are visible from the east side of the parking area.

More Hike Details


Mount Rainier Area > SW - Longmire/Paradise

Cora Lake (#251)

Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Cowlitz Valley Ranger District

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Cora Lake

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