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Trip Report    

Day Hike - Summit Lake

Don't let the rough road discourage you from this gem of a hike. Beauty abounds with gorgeous views of Mt. Rainier and her sisters near the top.

  • Road recommended for high clearance only
  • Trail is snow-free at lower elevations and becomes snow covered at about Twin Lake.  Snow is quickly melting out along the trail and becoming muddy in places.

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Our four-legged hiking companion, Raven, led the way for our group of ten and provided leashed ascent assistance to her dog mom and hike leader Carlanna.   The snow-free portions of the trail featured yellow violets, avalanche lilies, and anemones.  We encountered snow here and there and other  wildflowers just  starting to bud, many of which will be blooming with the coming heat this week.  We donned microspikes for extra traction near the intersection with the Bearhead Mountain trail.  Here we took photo ops as they came and we crossed a not-so-steady log bridge across the lake outlet.


Pushing on through patches of wild orchids about to burst their blooms, a spectacular view of Rainier along the ridge we were ascending came into view.  We took a quick break to soak in the sun and enjoy the scenery.  Upon arrival at Summit Lake the snow along the hiking route was deep and obscured the trail with no clear path and very few boot tracks.  We found a route made by previous hikers that led us along the opposite side of the lake to the shore.  Views of Rainier here were to die for and wandering through the tufts of snow-covered beargrass felt like fairy tale land.  As we approached the lake you could see that it was partly frozen and the ice looked like ripples under water, way cool!!


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Not wanting to cut our hike short and miss the awesome views the hike promised, we explored up a small trail that continued up the steep ridge on the south side of the lake.  As we gained elevation more views materialized, but not of Rainier because she was behind us.  The big surprise for me was recognizing Mt. Stuart in the distance and by identifying it from the cover of a hiking book!  Not too long after that I recognized Glacier Peak too.  Our group didn't make it to the peak where the great views of Rainier were, but everyone really enjoyed having lunch with a view of the frozen lake below and the mountains in the distance that one day we will venture to.  Trip time was 2 hours to our lunch spot perched on a rock outcropping with expansive views.


After lunch we descended the ridge and hiked out finishing our trip satisfied and meeting lots of other dog hiking companions on the trail with their people.  High five to Calanna and Raven for leading this dog-friendly trip and to our group for being adventurous with spring hiking conditions!