Paul Peak (winter)

Paul Peak is a difficult, 5.6 mile round trip snowshoe with 1,800 feet of elevation gain. The trail is through old growth forest throughout, including the summit, and the views are local rather than of Mount Rainier.

getting there

From Enumclaw drive 5 miles west on State Route 410 to the small town of Buckley and, on the west end of town, turn left (south) onto SR 165. Continue 10 miles through the communities of Carbonado and Wilkeson before crossing the one-lane bridge over the deep Fairfax Gorge on the Carbon River. Just beyond the bridge, turn right onto Mowich Lake Road, Forest Road 79, a narrow road that climbs through a clearcut slope. Drive 11 miles to the national park boundary or to the snow line. Park along the road, leaving the roadway clear so that other vehicles can pass and turn around safely. 


Start at the Paul Peak trailhead, descend 300 feet and cross Meadow Creek.  After trail turns east, head up and north or northwest then tun right to follow the southwest ridge to the summit (4,820 ft). 

Extend your trip by walking from Paul Peak to Elizabeth Ridge (5,500 ft). From Elizabeth Ridge, descend to Mowich Lake, and return via the Grindstone Trail and Mowich Lake road to the starting point. It's a total of 7 miles and 2,300 feet of elevation gain.


  • This trip may be longer if the road to trailhead is blocked by snow.
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 5.6 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,800 ft
  • 4,800 ft
  • Land Manager: Mount Rainier National Park
  • Parking Permit Required: National Park Entrance Fee
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • USGS Mowich Lake
  • Green Trails Mt Rainier West No. 269
  • Green Trails Mount Rainier Wonderland No. 269S

Upcoming Activities

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Trip Reports

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  • Paul Peak
  • Paul Peak & Elizabeth Ridge

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