Exploring Chinook Pass & Tipsoo Lake
Tipsoo Lake has been noted as one of the most photographed landscapes in the country, and photographers spend hours looking for the perfect shot of Mt. Rainier reflecting in the lake. Its wildflowers also rival those at Paradise, and once the snow melts, they are a wonder to behold. The Naches Peak Loop offers stunning flowers, mountain tarns and gorgeous views of Mt. Rainier. Chinook Pass is also one of the best places in Washington for viewing Fall colors.
Chinook Pass usually opens by Memorial Day weekend and stays open until the first heavy snowfall (usually sometime in mid-November).
GO FOR A HIKE.
Most visitors explore the area around Tipsoo Lake and the Naches Peak Loop, but there’s more to see.
Click here for the Park’s map of the Chinook Pass area.
The Washington Trails Association is also a great source of hiking information, and members even post trip reports showing recent conditions. (Consider a donation or membership as their information helps all of us enjoy these trails.)
Tipsoo Lake 1 mi RT An easy stroll. Start at the parking/restroom area and walk around the lake. Beautiful summer wildflowers and great views of Mt. Rainier from the eastern side of the lake. Click here.
Naches Peak Loop 3.5 mi RT One of the most popular trails in the Park. Hike this trail clockwise for the best views of Mt. Rainier. Park and start at the pedestrian bridge. Click here.
MODERATE TO STRENUOUS TRAILS.
Dewey Lake 6 mi RT Hike a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail on the way to a gorgeous lakes that is actually located in the national forest. Start from the Naches Peak Loop. Click here.
Sheep Lake 4.2 mi RT This hike also follows a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail and is actually located in the national forest. It's a great option in the early summer as it tends to melt out earlier than other Chinook Pass hikes, and has early season wildflowers. A beautiful lake surrounded by alpine peaks. It’s actually possible to continue this hike up to Sourdough Gap and over to Crystal Mountain, or even to Crystal Lakes. Click here.
Sourdough Gap (via Sheep Lake) 7 mi RT The hike to Sheep Lake is beautiful, but if you continue past the lake, you can climb 1.4 miles up to Sourdough Gap, with views that stretch from Mt. Adams to Mt. Baker (with Mt. Rainier too, of course). Click here.
CHINOOK SCENIC BYWAY.
The Chinook Scenic Byway is the only road in Washington that’s both an All American Road and a National Scenic Byway. Yes, it’s that beautiful! Click here to visit the Chinook Scenic Byway website. Click here.
The Chinook Pass/Tipsoo Lake is accessible whenever Chinook Pass is open. It’s gorgeous in the summer months, and is also known as one of the most beautiful places in the State for Fall colors.
Click here for Chinook Pass information.