Explore this loop that begins and ends at the popular Paradise Ranger Station on Mount Rainier. Hike a little more than five miles around and through a myriad of delightful lakes at the base of Washington's tallest volcano.
Begin by heading downhill on the Lakes Trail, away from the Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center. At .57 mile you will come to a junction with the Narada Falls Trail. At just 1.2 miles round trip, Narada Falls offers a nice add-on if your group wants to add some mileage. If not, the falls are accessible from the Paradise-Longmire Road if you want to visit it on the way out of the park.
Continue past the Narada Falls trail junction and soon cross the Paradise Valley Road. Just 0.3 miles after crossing the road, arrive at another junction, this one for the High Lakes Trail. This shortcut meets up with the Lakes Trail at its west end. Taking the shortcut shaves off nearly a mile of trail, but hikers who elect to take this route miss out on intimate views of Reflection Lake. Take the right fork to stay on the Lakes Trail, and drop down 200 feet over about half a mile, meeting up with the Wonderland Trail and then the Stevens Canyon Road.
Hiking along the road, you'll be on the shore of Reflection Lakes for half a mile before turning sharply away from the road and beginning a mile-long climb through forest and across creeks to Faraway Rock. Note that just after leaving the road, a junction with the Wonderland Trail peels off to your right. Proceed straight to stay on the Lakes Trail. Faraway Rock offers an overlook for the lake just before you arrive at a junction with the west end of the High Lakes Trail.
Continue straight on the Lakes Trail for 1.21 miles before arriving at the junction with the Skyline Trail. This is a more challenging route that heads up to Panorama Point on the flanks of Rainier. It is possible to continue up this route and return to your car on a longer loop, but it adds more than 4 miles to your hike.
Turn instead onto the trail that branches off to the left, and switchback down Mazama Ridge. Pass the junction with the 4th Crossing Trail, and continue on, traversing the slope and passing several creeks until you arrive at Myrtle Falls. You have just a quarter mile to go back to your car, and it's all downhill from here.
- 5.25 miles, roundtrip
- Elevation Gain
- 1,550 feet
- Highest Point
- 5,800 feet
Paradise Valley Road is closed for the season. The road from Longmire to Paradise is closed Monday through Friday until further notice.
Hiking Lakes Loop
Map & Directions
Co-ordinates: 46.7858, -121.7372 Open in Google Maps