Naches Peak Loop: September 3, 2011Sun Sep 04, 2011
We had heard rumors that the wildflowers were incredible on the eastern side of this loop trail, so we grabbed the dogs and headed up to Chinook Pass. Wow! We’ve hiked this trail many times before and we’ve never seen it more beautiful.
Since we didn’t have a lot of time, we decided that we’d just hike the first mile to a gorgeous tarn (temporary mountain lake) where the dogs could take a quick dip. Surprisingly, although there were a lot of cars in the parking lots, the trail felt uncrowded and peaceful. And the flowers! Fields of beargrass, lupine and paintbrush everywhere you looked! Plus a few sections of the trail that mostly stay in shade with a few early avalanche lilies.
It’s best to hike this trail clockwise, starting from the pedestrian overpass about 1/4 mile to the east of Tipsoo Lake. This way, if you do the whole loop, you’ll get fabulous views of Mt. Rainier on the second half of the loop. (Click here for photos of the full hike.) The eastern part of the loop (the section shown in this article) is dog-friendly since it’s in the National Forest, but the second half of the loop is not since it’s in the National Park. (Ask us if you’re confused.)
You know, when people are on their death beds, they never look back and wish they’d spent more time at work. Seriously, you owe it to yourself to get up here now.