Reaching the summit of Suntop can require considerable energy (a 16-mile hike), or it can be a simple 2-mile walk, depending on whether or not the 2 gates are open. Wide views of Mount Rainier and the White River valley below are worth it either way.
When the 2 gates on this access road are both open, it's possible to drive to the summit of Suntop. Hiking is always an available option.
The shorter approach allows hikers to switchback up from the parking area just one mile to the summit, crossing Forest Road 73 on the way.
This crossing can be confusing, so note that at it, the trail to the left (south) heads through the forest, along a beautiful ridge and back down to the valley trailhead for the longer route to Suntop. The trail to the right (north) heads to the lookout. This makes for a short, sweet little hike, but be sure to keep a close eye on your map, since signage can be confusing here.
For the longer hike, start on level ground, hiking through old-growth timber, gradually climbing before crossing road 7160310 at the first mile point. Climb into an old tree harvest unit, then join up with Forest Road 7160 at mile 2.4 and follow it to the left. Switchback for 0.1 miles to the trail on the right.
Continue on to a junction with Doe Falls Trail at mile 2.5 and cross Buck Creek at mile 3.7. Climb to the ridge top and follow it to Forest Road 7315 at mile 7.5.
To the left is the junction with spur Forest Road 7315510. Continue to hike from the northwest to the lookout. From this point, the trail may be hard to follow.
At mile four, cross Forest Road 7315510 and continue to climb to the lookout. Once you reach it, enjoy a commanding panoramic view of the area. On a clear day the view is superb, with Mount Rainier, the central Cascades, Olympic Mountains and Mount Baker. Total mileage for this route is 16.6 miles and 2800 feet of elevation gain. The elevation and mileage for the shorter route is listed in this hiking guide entry.
- 2.0 miles, roundtrip
- Elevation Gain
- 473 feet
- Highest Point
- 5,238 feet
Hiking Suntop Lookout
Map & Directions
Co-ordinates: 47.0360, -121.5961 Open in Google Maps