Location: Mount Rainier, Chinook Pass
Roundtrip: 3.2 miles
Gain: 600 ft.
Best hiked between late spring and early fall, the loop is approximately 3.2 miles roundtrip with an elevation gain of 600 feet. The Naches Loop is the perfect trail for families and those hikers looking for a quick, easy trek with awesome views.
The Naches Peak Loop is located on State Route 410 in the Chinook Pass area of Mount Rainier. The loop itself straddles the boundary between the Wenatchee State Forest to the north Mount Rainier National Park to the south. This means that if you’re bringing Fido you’ll only be allowed to hike about half of the trail in an out-and-back route starting from the northern parking lot.
Both of the parking areas, one at Tipsoo Lake as well as the parking for the Sheep Lake trailhead to the north, have vault toilets, but only the Tipsoo Lake parking has picnic tables. If you park at the Sheep Lake trailhead you’ll have to backtrack just a bit to the south to join the trail, but, either way, don’t forget to display forest pass!
This week we began at the Tipsoo Lake parking area.
From there you’ll want to head around the back side of the first lake and up the hill to the north. While there is no swimming or wading in Tipsoo Lake, there will be opportunities for water play later on the trail!
After hiking up this small hill you’ll join the Pacific Crest Trail to complete the northern half of the loop.
Here you will find a nice bridge that crosses over State Route 410 below. After crossing the bridge you’ll continue along the northern flank of Naches Peak. This part of the trail is actually part of the PCT and gently climbs up as you traverse the beautiful landscape.
After just over a mile of hiking, you’ll come to a tarn that serves as a perfect spot for either a nice break or as a wonderful location to splash around with Fido and the little ones.
From there, its only about half a mile to the Dewey Lake Viewpoint, which is the best place to stop for a quiet rest and a snack as you look out across the mountains.
If you’re hiking with a pup this viewpoint will be your turn around spot, but if you’re continuing along the Naches loop you’ll progress south from the viewpoint and into Mount Rainier National Park- be careful to keep right at the junction of the Naches Loop and the trail down to Dewey Lake! A trip to the lake would add about 800 feet of elevation gain and two miles to your hike, though if you’re up for it the lake is a beautiful place to visit!
The southern half of the Naches Loop boasts wonderful views of Mount Rainier as the trail slopes downhill through beautiful mountain meadows. If you catch this area at the right time of year it will be bursting with wildflowers. Make sure to help preserve the meadows by staying on the trail!
After a mile and a half on this section of the trail, you will cross back over State Route 410 and re-enter the Tipsoo Lake parking area. There is no crosswalk so make sure to check the road carefully before crossing!
That’s it for the Naches Loop Trail!
Thanks, everyone! Happy trails!
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