Mowich Lake

A strenuous snowshoe along a closed road in the northwest corner of Mount Rainier National Park

getting there

From Buckley drive south on SR-165, eventually crossing the Carbon River bridge, to a road junction with the right, uphill fork signed for Mowich Lake. Take this right fork all the way to the lake (4,929 ft).


The official start of this trail is at the Mowich Lake Entrance to Mount Rainier National Park, at the point where the road is no longer plowed in the winter.  Conditions will vary, however, and you may need to park lower down and will have a longer trek to the lake. Hike along the road past the Paul Peak trail. The first two miles travel through the trees before opening up into Mowich Meadows. At 3 miles there is a small trail on the left which climbs steeply for 0.25 miles before rejoining the road, trimming off about a half mile of road walk. You can continue on the road for a slightly longer approach or cut across the road and continue climbing steeply south. At mile 4.3 you'll intersect the road once more and this time head east until you run into the lake after an additional 0.5 miles.

  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Length: 10.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,400 ft
  • 5,000 ft
  • Land Manager: Mount Rainier National Park
  • Parking Permit Required: National Park Entrance Fee
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
  • Sea Trails Rosario Strait Bellingham WA001
  • Green Trails Mt Rainier West No. 269
  • USGS Mt Rainier West

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