Summit Lake


Day Hike - Summit Lake

Experience a beautiful alpine lake, alpine meadows, a nice view of Mt. Rainier. and an opportunity for a swim, weather permitting.

  • Easy/Moderate
  • Easy
  • Mileage: 5.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,100 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 5,400 ft
  • Pace: 2.0 mph

Meet at 8 AM at Wally's Restaurant, 282 WA-410, Buckley, located by the last traffic light at the north end of town.

Wally's Drive-in opens at 8 AM and has both breakfast food and restrooms.  We can consolidate cars at a nearby school parking lot.  From there we will caravan  on SR 165 to  the Carbon River entrance to Mt. Rainier National Park to use the restrooms there, since there are none at the trailhead.  From there we will continue 7 miles on Forest Road 7810 to the trailhead parking lot.  That road is in poor condition, requiring cars with high clearance to navigate chuckholes along the road.  Participation in the hike will, of necessity, be limited to no more than the number of people who can ride in the high clearance vehicles whose owners volunteer to drive on the hike.  If there is inadequate rider space for all participants in the cars driving to the trailhead, riders will be selected in the order of signup.  In past years, everyone signed up for this hike has had a ride to the  trailhead, but we were only saved from a shortage of cars by late offers to drive.  Riders on this hike are encouraged to compensate their drivers generously to encourage future offers to drive on this hike.  A Northwest Forest Pass, or the equivalent, must be displayed by each car parked at the trailhead. 

The 2.5 trail to Summit Lake starts out somewhat rocky, but soon improves to a nice dirt trail.  After .8 mile, we take a rest break at scenic Twin Lake, where a trail junction facilitates a party separation for a bathroom break.  The entire trail is well switchbacked to create a uniform grade for pleasant hiking.  Summit Lake is a fascinating sight, with no visible inflow or outflow, a miniature version of Oregon's Crater Lake.  If the weather permits, we'll have time during the lunch break by the lake for a swim.  There is an outhouse near the lake, but not on the hiking route.  We'll return by the same route we hiked in.

On the drive home, we'll have the option for a refreshment stop at Wally's Drive in, which has a 50's theme, good service and good food.  My favorite is the Wallyberry milkshake. 




Summit Lake

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials

  1. Navigation
  2. Sun protection
  3. Insulation (extra clothing)
  4. Illumination
  5. First aid supplies
  6. Fire
  7. Repair kit and tools, including knife
  8. Nutrition (extra food)
  9. Hydration (extra water)
  10. Emergency shelter
Trip Reports