Trip Report    

Cowlitz Park - Point 6859

A strenuous but gorgeous ‘out and back’ scramble to vast meadows and breathtaking vistas in the SE portion of Mount Rainier National Park. Lots of wildlife with bugling elk, soaring hawks, and a passel of ptarmigans.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • A perfect day after a few that were stormy.  This being the end of the summer (plus high snow levels) it was nice to leave the technical gear at home (crampons, ice axes, helmets).  With highway 410 closed due to recent forest fire activity, our best access to the Box Canyon trailhead was via Paradise and the Stevens Canyon Road (made slower by a one lane alternating traffic light).

Although Indian Bar is a popular destination (even during pandemics), the recent highway closures led to our having much less company than usual.  Our first views arrived after ~2.5 hours of trail hiking:62DF0C19-884F-4BE7-99B7-9BDA2D2D065F.jpeg

At an elevation of ~5,700’ (~7 miles from the trailhead) we left the Wonderland Trail and continued cross country (with infrequent game trails/boot tracks) along the Cowlitz Divide towards Cowlitz Park:


At ~6000’ things really started to open up, and our destination, Point 6859 came into view:


The grandeur of Cowlitz Park first becomes apparent in the flat area just below Point 6859:



After a luxurious hour basking in the sun on the spacious summit:


We finally headed down and enjoyed some unique alpine fellfield  plant life:



A great day in the mountains with 5 hours for the ascent and a total time of 10 hours for this ~5,000’ gain, 18 mile trip.  More photos can be seen here.