On Friday October 14th, Leslie & I took off for the Northwest side of Mount Rainier National Park to hike Spray Park to Mount Pleasant and Tolmie Peak.
We arrived at our camping spot about 6.5 miles before Mowich Lake, just outside of the National Park barrier. We got there after dark, which always makes it a little harder to find a safe place to camp but it worked out just fine. Upon arrival, we pretty much just set up the tent and got ready for bed.
SPRAY PARK TO MOUNT PLEASANT HIKE
Distance: 7 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,200'
Trailhead: Mowich Lake Campground
On Saturday morning at 8:30AM is when we arrived to the parking lot at Mowich Lake, where the first hike for Spray Park began. This entrance to Mount Rainier National Park has no entrance fee station where a ranger would be collect your pass/fee but a national park pass is still required.
The parking lot is decent in size but parking could definitely be an issue on a busy day. Just past the end of the lot is the Mowich Lake Campground and that is where the trail begins. The total distance for the hike is about 7 miles and the ascent is about 2,200 feet.
The first 2 miles or so are mostly wooded and relatively flat. There are 2 marked points where you can veer off - 1 for lookout and another to view Spray Falls.
After the waterfall, the climbing begins gradually over the next mile til you reach Spray Park. This is where we weren't paying attention and went the wrong way. We stayed right on the wider trail (which was still nice) but we meant to go left (which we ended up doing) and heading on a narrow trail through an open field toward Mount Pleasant. This is where the views really start getting good. It's also where the real climbing begins.
The last half mile ascends about 700 feet but the views behind you are just beautiful.
This is an out and back hike so to return to the parking lot, you will do the hike in reverse!
At about 2:30PM is when we returned to the trailhead and made burgers at the parking lot. While on the trail, we decided we would hike Tolmie Peak for sunset (instead of doing it the next morning for sunrise). Why did we do both hikes in one day?? The area we camped at was about 30ish minutes from the trailhead and we simply figured why wake up at 3 or 4am to drive back when we are already there?
TOLMIE PEAK HIKE
Distance: 5.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,500'
Trailhead: 1/4 mile from Mowich Lake Campground
4:30PM - The Tolmie Peak hike begins. This hike is 6 miles and ascends approximately 1,500' if you start at the Mowich Lake Campground lot. You can cut off .4 miles if you round trip if you start just up the road where the marked trailhead is.
The trail begins a lot like the Spray Park trail, through the forest. The first mile is relatively flat until you begin to descend for the next .5 miles (yes, have fun on the way back!).
Then the climbing begins. You will ascend approximately 400' over the next half mile. By now, you have reached Eunice Lake!
What a sight Eunice Lake is, but it gets even better! From the lake, you'll be able to see the fire lookout above. Just after you reach the lake, the final push will be upon you to the finish line. It's another 500' ascent over approximately .5 mile of distance. Trust me, you'll be glad you made it!
We were very glad to have done this hike for sunset, but if you choose to do so, just be sure you are prepared to hike back in the dark!
Thanks a lot for checking out my blog. My Youtube video for this weekend adventure will be coming out on Thursday 10/20 at 7AM PST. Subscribe to my channel here and turn on the notification bell so you can be notified of all my new YouTube videos!
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LEAVE NO TRACE
Please remember to practice Leave No Trace Principles on the trails. This means sticking to the designated trails and never walk on fragile alpine vegetation. Please pack out all trash and properly bury any human waste. Toilet paper should be packed out and not buried. Never feed or approach wildlife. Be kind and courteous to your fellow hikers by letting faster hikers pass and sharing viewpoints. Refer to https://lnt.org/ for more information!