The Palisades & Marcus Peak

Scramble one to two peaks from the Sunrise area of Mount Rainier National Park. It's up to 9 miles and 3,400 feet of gain.

getting there

From SR-410 in Mount Rainier National Park, take the Sunrise Road to the Palisades Lake Trailhead (aka Sunrise Point) at third switchback on the road (6,100 ft).

approach & Ascent

The palisades (7,040 ft)

8.5 miles round trip with 3,100 feet of elevation gain, Difficulty: Strenuous 3, Technical 3

Hike ~2.5 mi on the Palisades Lake Trail, to its intersection with the Hidden Lake Trail.  Hike the Hidden Lake Trail to its end at the far west side of Hidden Lake and continue on the unmaintained trail, up the steep slope. At the the open park just west of the brushy Marcus-Palisades saddle, head north, ascending ~0.5 mi.  The turn east, heading up towards the north side of The Palisades. Choose routes to the left while ascending to avoid encounters with dense stands of trees. Descend the climbing route.

Alternative: Hike the trail to Upper Palisades Lake. Continue past the campsites and follow faint path alongside granite boulders for 200 yards.  Leave the path and head north, ascending to the east ridge and staying right for the easiest route. Drop into the bowl beyond the east ridge, and gain the curving north ridge. Scramble over columnar basalt on the north ridge to the summit. It is brushy in places.  Descend the west slope of The Palisades, working left at every opportunity to minimize encounters with dense stands of trees.

The palisades (7,040 ft) & marcus preak (6,962 ft)

9.0 miles round trip with 3,400 feet of elevation gain, difficulty: strenuous 3, technical 3

Hike the trail past Clover Lake. In ~1 mile, hike up the trail to Hidden Lake, continue around south side of the lake and up a steep unmaintained trail to saddle between Marcus Peak and Palisades Peak. Continue east until past the scrub trees.

For The Palisades, head for easier going in clearings, head uphill a bit west of summit, ascend a faint climbers trail that bypasses most brush. Once on ridge, continue northeast to tsummit.

For Marcus Peak, stay below brush taking first gully to the ridge (heather and rock), follow ridge to summit block, route is obvious on northeast face.

slide mountain (6,620 ft)

Those wanting more may consider adding Slide Mountain to their trip. From the saddle between The Palisades and Brown Peak, a climbers trail goes up Brown and runs the ridge to Slide. Combined three peaks is about 9 hr trip.

The palisades (7,040 ft) & marcus preak (6,962 ft)

9.0 miles round trip with 3,400 feet of elevation gain, difficulty: strenuous 3, technical 3

Hike the trail past Clover Lake. In ~1 mile, hike up the trail to Hidden Lake, continue around south side of the lake and up a steep unmaintained trail to saddle between Marcus Peak and Palisades Peak. Continue east until past the scrub trees.

The Palisades: Head for easier going in clearings, head uphill a bit west of summit, ascend a faint climbers trail that bypasses most brush. Once on ridge, continue northeast to tsummit.

Marcus Peak: Stay below brush taking first gully to the ridge (heather and rock), follow ridge to summit block, route is obvious on northeast face.

Equipment

Ice axes often required in July to get up and down the steep slope on the west side of Hidden Lake.

Notes

  • Sunrise Road usually opens by early July. There is no access until the road opens. The road usually closes by mid-October.
  • Those wanting more can consider adding Slide Mountain to their trip, continue on main trail to saddle between Palisades and Brown Peak, climbers trail goes up Brown and runs the ridge to Slide. Combined three peaks is about 9 hr trip.
  • Difficulty: Technical 3, Strenuous 3
  • Length: 9.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 3,400 ft
  • 7,000 ft
  • Land Manager: Mount Rainier National Park
    Mount Rainier Wilderness
  • Parking Permit Required: National Park Entrance Fee
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
Map
  • Green Trails Mount Rainier Wonderland No. 269SX
  • Green Trails Mt Rainier East No. 270
  • USGS White River Park
Activities

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Trip Reports
Titles

This is a list of titles that represent the variations of trips you can take at this route/place. This includes side trips, extensions and peak combinations. Not seeing a title that fits your trip? Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.

  • The Palisades
  • Marcus Peak
  • Marcus Peak & Grand Park
  • The Palisades & Slide Mountain
  • Marcus Peak & Slide Mountain
  • The Palisades, Marcus Peak & Slide Mountain
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