Trip Report    

CHS 1 Hike - Talapus, Ollalie, Island Lakes

Lead as a 2022 CHS 1 hike for July which required hikes of 10-12 miles RT, 1,500-2,500’ gain.

  • Road rough but passable
  •  Tread on the Talapus Lake trail, the Talapus Cutoff, Pratt Lake trail and Mt Defiance trail is often wide and flat, with only a few places of rocks & roots.  On the Mt Defiance trail, the tread becomes narrow and rocky as the trail takes several short switchbacks where it rises from  ~4400' to ~4600'  in less than a 1/4 mile. 

    The 2021-2022 winter was a high snow year which was evidenced by compacted snow covering about 1/4 mile on the Island Lake trail, from the junction of the Mt Defiance trail and Island Lake trail. See WTA trip report for  more information and pictures - https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/trip-reports/trip_report.2022-07-09.5938477628

    On the return trip, we took the boot trail cutoff from the Pratt Lake trail which goes directly south to Olallie Lake and connects with the trail on the west side of the lake, providing close-up views of the lake. This is not a maintained trail but is easy to follow, sometimes through low brush, shrubbery roots and a couple muddy spots.  This route is ~0.5 miles shorter than the Pratt Lake trail which circles around the east side of the lake but provides no views of the lake.

Saturday 8am the parking lot was already completely filled and vehicles parked for at least a quarter mile down the road. Although lots and lots of people, once on the trail our group didn't encounter that many people. On the way up, it appeared that the Talapus Lake was the destination for most. Lots of dogs and almost all were on leash.

Once past Talapus Lake, there were even fewer people. After we turned onto the junction for the east route around Olallie Lake, we pretty much had the trail to ourselves. From Pratt Lake trail which overlooks Olallie Lake from the north, it's always a breath taking view of the lake with Mount Rainier looming above.  Many beargrass flowers along this part of the trail. Most are still in bud and will soon be in full bloom.

West of the junction with the Pratt Lake trail, the Mount Defiance trail passes through a pleasant, quiet forest. Snow near the junction with the trail to Island Lake is much reduced and easy walking. Once turning south toward Island Lake the snow is continuous through the open meadow area, but disappears once the trail enters the trees. Arrival at Island Lake is announced by the sound of the rushing Talapus Creek outlet.  Our lunch stop and turn around point.

We opted out of visiting Rainbow Lake given the apparent snow covered trail to get there.  Stats: 12 miles, 2300' gain.