Three Lakes Trail

Packwood, Washington

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A long day hike or moderate overnighter ends at three marshy lakes on the eastern border of the park near the Pacific Crest Trail. The Three Lakes trail lacks the kind of magnificent mountain views or copious trail junctions found in other regions of the park. The path constantly ascends through little-changing forest until it reaches the lakes. You will see little wildlife, few people, no waterfalls, and no views of Mount Rainier on this trail—that is, not until you reach your destination. From the small parking lot, cross to the east side of the road and walk north along Highway 123 a few paces to the Laughingwater trailhead to your right (east). The trail starts uphill and does not relent until 0.25 mile from the lakes. Winding switchbacks characterize the first 2.0 miles of trail. When you see a marshy pool to your left (north), you know the switchbacks have ended. The rest of the route heads almost directly east for nearly 4 miles.
Hiking Mount Rainier National Park

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Hiking Mount Rainier National Park

by Heidi Schneider & Mary Skjelset (Falcon Guides)

A long day hike or moderate overnighter ends at three marshy lakes on the eastern border of the park near the Pacific Crest Trail. The Three Lakes trail lacks the kind of magnificent mountain views or copious trail junctions found in other regions of the park. The path constantly ascends through little-changing forest until it reaches the lakes. You will see little wildlife, few people, no waterfalls, and no views of Mount Rainier on this trail—that is, not until you reach your destination.

From the small parking lot, cross to the east side of the road and walk north along Highway 123 a few paces to the Laughingwater trailhead to your right (east). The trail starts uphill and does not relent until 0.25 mile from the lakes. Winding switchbacks characterize the first 2.0 miles of trail. When you see a marshy pool to your left (north), you know the switchbacks have ended. The rest of the route heads almost directly east for nearly 4 miles.

©  Heidi Schneider & Mary Skjelset/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Packwood
Distance: 12
Elevation Gain: 2,800 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Difficult
Duration: 5 to 7 hours
Season: Mid-July to September
Trailhead Elevation: 2,000 feet
Top Elevation: 4,800 feet
Local Contacts: Ohanapecosh Visitor Center
Local Maps: USGS Ohanapecosh Hot Springs; Trails Illustrated Mount Rainier National Park; Astronaut's Vista: Mount Rainier National Park; Earthwalk Press Hiking Map and Guide
Driving Directions: Directions to Three Lakes Trail

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Apr 2018