Mount Rainer National Park has an endless number of trails leading to incredible places. When visiting the Sunrise area, the Mount Fremont Lookout Trail is a must. This 3-mile hike takes you through meadows and provides constant, all encompassing views as you climb 900 feet up to the tower.
Starting from Sunrise Visitor Center, follow the Sourdough Ridge Trail to the Mount Fremont Trail. Mount Rainier dominates the southern views from the start of the hike. At 1.5 miles you will pass Frozen Lake and arrive at a junction in the trail with informative signs and five different trail options. Continue north on the Mount Fremont Trail as it climbs on rocky terrain and along Mount Fremont's ridge. You will notice a pristine lake that is used by Sunrise as a source of drinking water. Proceed up the ridge to reach some of the best views of the Cascade range and Mount Rainer.
Once you've reached the lookout, take a few moments to appreciate the surrounding views and the two-story structure that was built in the 1930s. The lookout is still used today by backcountry rangers. The stairs remain unblocked to allow visitors to access the catwalk, peer through the windows of the lookout, and enjoy the views from the tower. Take some time to look for wildlife such as mountain goats and marmots. It is also said that it is possible to see the Space Needle in Seattle if you own a good pair of binoculars.
The views are just as rewarding on the way back down. Curtis Ridge, Carbon Glacier, Liberty Ridge, Willis Wall, and the north and east side of Mount Rainer are all on display. If the the conditions are right, you'll also see Burroughs Mountain and Yakima Park. End your day at the snack bar or in the small picnic area that is at the base of the trailhead. Sunrise if the perfect place to watch the sunset. Hang around and watch the sky warm up as Mount Rainer becomes even more photogenic.