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Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
5.40 mi (8.69 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

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. 

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

National Park Pass

Pros

Great views. Easy to find. Short trail.

Cons

Busy.

Trailhead Elevation

6,400.00 ft (1,950.72 m)

Net Elevation Gain

900.00 ft (274.32 m)

Features

Historically significant
Lodging
Big vistas
Wildflowers

Location

Field Guide + Map

Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Comments

07/20/2017
We headed up to the Sunrise area of Mt. Rainier in hopes of hiking Sunrise Rim and then cutting over to Mt. Fremont. Upon getting there a ranger told us that, while Sunrise Rim was doable, there was some snow that could be considered dangerous to cross. We skipped Sunrise Rim and headed straight up to Mt. Fremont Fire Lookout. Despite the fact that there had been beautiful weather for many days previous to our hike, we just happened to go on a day on which a rainstorm passed through. We weren't caught in the rain while hiking, but this did cause major fog, depriving us of the gorgeous views we would have normally seen from Mt. Fremont. Though this was a little disappointing, we ate lunch at the fire lookout and were able to catch glimpses of the beautiful valley down below us.

It was pretty cold at the lookout so after spending a good amount of time up there we headed back down to the trail junction at Frozen Lake and instead of going the way we came we decided to take the Wonderland Trail to Shadow Lake and continue on to the lodge. This part of the trail did have a little bit of snow and since we didn't have any hiking poles it was a tedious process of crossing it. While there was no real danger, it was a downhill slope and we either had to be careful to not slip or just flat out sit and slide down. After this point there was no more snow and the trail traversed through some beautiful fields. We ended up at Shadow Lake which we had been able to see from the upper trail that we had taken to get to Frozen Lake. Shadow Lake is small, but very pretty. After briefly stopping at the lake we enjoyed the gorgeous views of the mountains and continued on to the lodge.

Despite the fog this was a beautiful day to hike. Except at Fremont, the fog didn't really obstruct any views and just added to the beauty of the mountains. We were lucky to see several marmots, lots of chipmunks, and a few deer. The animals in the area are very used to humans and had no qualms about coming right up to us (they probably thought we were going to feed them). All in all, it was a great day to hike and an absolutely beautiful area.
10/30/2016
Sunrise Center is closed. I was able to park near White River Campground and hike three miles to the center but the dense fog clouded the trail to Mount Fremont. Another hiker, who was absolutely amazing, said that they will be closing the road to that campground the 31st October. The entire area has been logged and is very unstable. There are many warning signs, it is devastating. I enjoyed the hike still and saw the cutest fox but looks like this is another place lost to logging.
09/18/2016
Adding few more pictures to this already impressive library
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