Sunday, July 17, 2016

Chinook Pass and Tipsoo Lake, 7/09/2016

At the Packwood Visitor Center, we learned that Tipsoo Lake is one of the best spots to see the sun set over Mount Rainier. We drove north on Highway 123 into Mount Rainier National Park to the Mather Memorial Highway (Highway 410) where we took a right (east) following signs to the Chinook Pass

Chinook Pass is in the Wenatchee National Forest that is adjacent to the Mount Rainier National Park. Below is the view into the Rainier Fork of the American River valley that was formed by glaciers. 

Also, the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail crosses over Highway 410 at Chinook Pass and can be accessed from the Overlook. Clinton Clark worked to unify hiking groups to establish a network of trails from Canada to Mexico over a 25-year period. As a result, the National Scenic Trail Act was passed in 1963, but the Pacific Crest Trail was not completed until 1993. Here are a couple photos of the trail.

I always enjoy seeing these subalpine flowers that bloom during the short (6-8 week) growing season at this altitude.

Western anemone

Alpine Astor and Avalanche Lily

We drove back to Mount Rainier NP and stopped at Lake Tipsoo. There is a lovely loop trail around the lake that provides fantastic views.  

Although the sun was shining in Packwood, alas, Mount Rainier was still shrouded in clouds. The mountain has its own weather system at the summit where temperatures range from 0 to 20 degrees year round. 

There is no admission fee to this area of Mount Rainier National Park. It is definitely worth a visit to this picturesque lake. For additional information about the park, visit their website at

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