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Mowich Lake Snowshoe

Mount Rainier Area > NW - Carbon River/Mowich
46.9271, -121.9160 Map & Directions
10.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
1,400 feet
Highest Point
5,000 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty

Mowich Lake Road is closed for the season

Mowich Lake, quiet in winter. Photo by Putz-in-Boots.
  • Mountain views
  • Dogs not allowed
  • Lakes
  • Established campsites
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Mowich Lake is a moderate snowshoe tucked into the northwest corner of Mount Rainier National Park. Continue reading

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Hiking Mowich Lake Snowshoe

Mowich Lake is an easy snowshoe or cross-country ski, with little to no avalanche danger, but you're heading up a road. Luckily, the Mowich Lake road is a scenic one, lined with evergreens laden with snow in the winter. And as you head deeper into the park, you'll notice how quiet it becomes, muted by snow.

From the trailhead at the park boundary, go around the gate and start up the forested, snow-covered road. Along the way, you'll pass beneath towering old western redcedar, Douglas Fir and hemlock trees and be entertained by peek-a-boo views of Martin Peak, Meadow Creek Valley, and Tolmie Peak.

After 3 miles, keep your eyes peeled for red markers high in the trees marking the Grindstone Trail. This is an alternative to staying on the road and provides a shortcut upslope through the trees. In the summer this trail is well marked and easy to find, but winter can prove to be more challenging; be sure to have a map and compass if you decide to go this way, otherwise stay on the road. Green Trails marks this trail on its 2001 revision of map No. 269, and USGS marks it as a ‘pack trail’ on USGS Mowich Lake.

But the real treat is your destination, Mowich Lake, transformed into a winter paradise by snow and enjoying a reprieve from the hordes that drive there to camp in the summer. There, you'll have better views of Tolmie Peak, as well as Paul Peak. Mount Rainier is visible if you continue south a quarter-mile to a ridgetop viewpoint.

WTA Pro Tip: If you are contemplating a winter camping trip, consider Mowich Lake. It's a great destination for a fit snowshoeing group, and at the lake there are plenty of opportunities for exploring. You may even be able to uncover a picnic table. Just remember to stop into the Carbon River Ranger Station to secure a permit before you head out.


Hike Description Written by
Susan Elderkin, WTA Community

Mowich Lake Snowshoe

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 46.9271, -121.9160 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

Mowich Lake Road is closed for the season

See weather forecast

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

Head south on State Route 165 from the intersection of 165 and 410. In 1.5 miles, turn left at an intersection to stay on 165. Continue south on 165 for about 19.6 miles to the park boundary.

More Hike Details


Mount Rainier Area > NW - Carbon River/Mowich

Mount Rainier National Park

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Mowich Lake Snowshoe

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