Mount Rainier National Park: Tolmie Peak Trail


The Best Hike in Mount Rainier

That’s it, the final vote is in and we decided our utmost favorite hike in Mount Rainier National Park is the Tolmie Peak Trail. Why you ask? Because the views at the top left us fantastically flabbergasted! Hands down, the best view of Mount Rainier. Our car took a bit of a hit on the way in, but it was all worth it.

Mount Rainier National Park

Tolmie Peak Trail at Mowich Lake

The Tolmie Peak Trail is located on the west side of Mount Rainier National Park near Mowich Lake. The 17-mile gravel road to the trailhead is a dusty and rough ride, but we pretended we were off-roading.

Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park

The trail is approximately 6-miles roundtrip, out and back, with an 1,100-foot elevation gain. It took us a little over three hours with picture stops and a lunch break at the fire tower. The trail begins relatively flat at Mowich Lake where it wanders through a wooded forest before slowly climbing to the stunning Eunice Lake. It’s here we saw the first glimpse of our final destination, the fire lookout tower. We then meandered through meadows of wildflowers and bear grass ascending to the gentle switchbacks that lead to one of the one of most commanding views of Mount Rainier. We joined a few other hikers and ate our lunch while sitting on the lookout tower in a hypnotized state of wonder.

Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park

And so our epic 80 day summer road trip continues – 12 U.S. states, 1 Canadian province and 11 national parks. For the upcoming months, I will be sharing with you our highlights, lowlights, adventures, favorite spots, best tips and our thoughts on three months of road tripping and living in a pop up.  I’ll try to answer any and all of your questions too!  You can also follow our journey via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Miles Driven: 212

Total Road Trip Miles Driven: 7,378

Average Gas Price per Gallon: $2.69

State: Washington

All States Visited: Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, British Columbia & Alberta Provinces

If you would like to see our full itinerary, start at the beginning here. And Start at Day One here.

Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National ParkMount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park

 Know Before You Go

  • Park entrance fee is required at a fee machine at the beginning of Mowich Lake Road.
  • Park either at Mowich Campground or along the road at the trailhead.
  • Two bathroom stops are available. Near the fee machine and the campground.
  • High clearance vehicle is recommended for the non-paved road leading to the trailhead, but we did see low suspension cars make it safely.
  • Pack a lunch or a big snack to eat at the lookout.
  • Wear bug spray.
  • Plan accordingly, hike takes 2 – 3 hours.
  • The trail does not end at the fire tower, you can keep hiking a few hundred yards to the true summit.
  • Bring a bathing suit if it is a hot summer day. You may want to jump in Mowich Lake at the end of the hike.

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Do you like to hike? What are your favorite types of hikes to take?

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Angela E. is a travel writer from the Chicagoland area who has visited all 50 states in the US and has traveled extensively around the world. She is passionate about exploring the great outdoors and hiking in particular. Her love for nature has taken her to some of the most beautiful locations on the planet. She has written extensively about her travels on her own website, Dang Travelers, and has been published in collaboration with other travel websites and multiple visitor bureaus around the country.

22 Responses

  1. Claire

    I think this would be my favourite too! Your pictures are amazing and the tips for hiking are great. I’ll hopefully get round to this one day!

  2. rik aka tapirtales

    Absolutely breathtaking. I really gotta visit that national parks.
    rik aka tapirtales

  3. Llamateurs

    I love the picture of the car… 😀 It looks it had a good drive! 🙂 Photos are amazing, we would like to go there!
    And the type of hike… Anything that includes a little bit adrenaline (scrambling, walking on the edge, , meeting stubborn sheep on the way… :))

  4. Chris Travels

    Your pictures are sooo incredible. Each time I read a new post, I am amazed that the natural beauty to be seen in our own country is so outstanding! We are blessed indeed to live in the U.S…I think I will be taking Australia off my future bucket list!

  5. Stephanie

    I am stunned by the photos you got from this trek. It honestly makes me want to book a flight to Seattle right away!

  6. Norbert Micus

    It is so nice and breathtaking. Thanks for the pictures! I missed this when I was in Washington. Too bad.

  7. anneklien meanne

    Wow that 6 miles hiking and driving to a muddy road if that beautiful scenery is waiting for me at the peak.

  8. Elisa

    I wish I could read more “hike-posts” through these FB groups! This is the kind of info that I want to find when I read about hikes. A pity that next time I travel I am heading East instead of West but anyway thanks for sharing

  9. jasmine@makingrestorations

    Somehow I missed this post. We planning a trip to Mt. Rainier (but only have a day). Our accommodations have us set up to enter the Nisqually entrance, but I discovered the Tolmie Peak hike and was thinking we’d love to do that. Then immediately changed our mines when we saw how much driving we would have to do. Your pics and post have us rethinking things. Thank you!

    • Dang Travelers

      Ooh that’s a hard one since you only have a day. Tolmie Peak is my favorite, but it’s away from everything in the park. With limited time, I would suggest going to Sunrise or Paradise so you can see and do a few different things not just one hike. Then maybe put it on your list for next time. 😊

  10. Rob Taylor

    Shhhh! Why are you telling people about the best hike in Mt Rainier National Park that only locals are supposed to know about?!?!?!?!?!?!??! Seriously though, the scenery on the way up is amazing and the view of the mountain from the trail is just the best in the Park.

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