|Trail Highlights:||Mountain and panoramic views; lake views; wildflowers
|Round-trip Distance:||5.60 miles / 9.00 km (Eunice Lake only)
7.50 miles / 12.00 km (Eunice Lake and Tolmie Peak)
|Location:||Mt. Rainier National Park - Carbon River and Mowich Lake Area
(ancestral lands of the Puyallup and Muckleshoot),
Washington South Cascades
|Directions:||From State Route 410 in Buckley, Washington, turn right from eastbound/left from westbound onto State Route 165
Between Mileposts 11 and 10, bear right at the fork onto Mowich Lake Road, as indicated by signage
Continue to the end of Mowich Lake Road
Marked by a small sign, the trailhead is a scant 0.25 miles/0.40 km before the end of Mowich Lake Road, with parking available along the road or in the parking area at the end of the road
The last 17.00 miles/27.40 km of Mowich Lake Road are gravel and may be potholed
|Required Pass:||National park pass or equivalent for national parks and federal recreational lands
|Additional Trail Info:||U.S. National Park Service
Washington Trails Association
Stunning views and lavish wildflower displays await at Eunice Lake and Tolmie Peak. The trail begins in Mowich Lake’s shadowy woodland and soon merges with the Wonderland Trail, which it follows for almost 2.00 miles/3.00 kilometers, climbing moderately before splitting off at Ipsut Pass and continuing its way. At Eunice Lake, the forest parts to reveal placid waters lapping the foot of Tolmie Peak’s rugged ridge. Enjoy the flower-lined lakeshore as a worthy destination in its own right or switchback upward another steep 1.00 mile/1.60 km to reach the peak’s panoramic view. A historic fire lookout tops the summit and is still used occasionally by park rangers. The 360-degree vista continues about 0.25 miles/0.40 km along a boot path down the ridge beyond the lookout, but do beware of exposed ledges near the trail that could result in falls.
Tucked into the northwest corner of Mt. Rainier National Park and accessed only by a lengthy gravel road, Eunice Lake and Tolmie Peak are nevertheless popular day hiking destinations. Consider a weekday visit to avoid crowds. Also, be prepared to encounter legions of another sort, as mosquitoes are numerous and particularly persistent at Eunice Lake.
Evergreen forest clings to the wayside until the trail reaches the treeline near Eunice Lake. Tolmie Peak – Eunice Lake Trail, August 13, 2016.
From the trailhead, the trail skirts Mowich Lake, with forest fringed glimpses of its deep blue waters just beyond. Tolmie Peak – Eunice Lake Trail, August 13, 2016.
Keep watch for bough-swept views of Mt. Rainier’s massive hulk looming just above the horizon along Mowich Lake. Tolmie Peak – Eunice Lake Trail, August 13, 2016.
The trail climbs moderately beyond Mowich Lake, walled with fortress-like cliffs on its eastern upside. Tolmie Peak – Eunice Lake Trail, August 13, 2016.
In the shadowy wayside woodland, look for distinctive blooms here and there, including, clockwise from top left, Scouler’s fumewort, or, Scouler’s corydalis (Corydalis scouleri), subalpine fleabane (Erigeron glacialis), woodland beardtongue (Nothochelone nemorosa), Lyall’s angelica (Angelica arguta), scarlet paintbrush (Castilleja miniata), and tall bluebells (Mertensia paniculata). Tolmie Peak – Eunice Lake Trail, June 27, 2015 and August 13, 2016.
At Ipsut Pass 1.90 miles/3.10 km from the trailhead, the trail branches left (northwest) from the Wonderland Trail and continues to Eunice Lake and Tolmie Peak. The Wonderland Trail continues right (northeast) and descends this valley to the Ipsut Creek Campground and its junction with the Carbon River Trail. For a quick break, detour approximately 200 feet/61 meters up the Wonderland Trail to view the valley before continuing on. Tolmie Peak – Eunice Lake Trail, June 27, 2015.
At 2.80 miles/4.50 km from the trailhead, Eunice Lake comes into view, capped by Tolmie Peak’s lookout on the ridge above and, in summer, ringed by swathes of lupines (Lupinus sp.). Tolmie Peak – Eunice Lake Trail, June 27, 2015.
As the trail climbs above Eunice Lake, eye-popping views unfold. Tolmie Peak – Eunice Lake Trail, June 27, 2015.
The stars of Tolmie Peak’s summertime floral display are the rosy blooms of the mountain, or, Henry paintbrush (Castilleja parviflora var. oreopola) and various species of lupine (Lupinus sp.) in contrasting drifts of blue, lavender, and white. The blooms begin just as the the forest opens around Eunice Lake and continue nearly to the rocky summit. Tolmie Peak – Eunice Lake Trail, June 27, 2015 and August 13, 2016.
Wheeling onto Tolmie Peak’s ridgeline, the trail passes a sweeping mountainside meadow with northwesterly views and, in summer, a massive display of lupines (Lupinus sp.) so fragrant that it is scented before seen. Tolmie Peak – Eunice Lake Trail, August 13, 2016.
More wildflowers accent the upland meadows, including common harebells (Campanula rotundifolia) (top left), subalpine spirea (Spiraea splendens) (top center), common beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax) (right), Mt. Rainier lousewort (Pedicularis rainierensis) (lower left), white rhododendron, or, Cascade azalea (Rhododendron albiflorum) (middle center), and Lewis’s monkeyflower (Erythranthe lewisii) (lower center). As hinted by its name, Mt. Rainier is the only place the Mt. Rainier lousewort (P. rainierensis) is known to exist. Tolmie Peak – Eunice Lake Trail, June 27, 2015 and August 13, 2016.
The trail ends nearly astride Tolmie Peak’s razor-edged spine. Enjoy the amazing 360-degree views, but do exercise caution near exposed areas. Tolmie Peak – Eunice Lake Trail, August 13, 2016.
Testament to the elevation gained in the trail’s final ascent, Eunice Lake, passed along the trail just a short while before attaining the peak, now sprawls directly beneath its craggy southern ramparts. Tolmie Peak – Eunice Lake Trail, August 13, 2016.
Far and away to the north, Tolmie Peak views Green Lake nestled between Arthur and Gove peaks. Beyond, the eagle eye might spy the Carbon River and Chenuis Falls. Tolmie Peak – Eunice Lake Trail, August 13, 2016.
The shelter atop Tolmie Peak was built as a fire lookout in 1933 and is still an outpost for rangers on backcountry assignments. Tolmie Peak – Eunice Lake Trail, June 27, 2015.
Spectacular views await atop the summit of Tolmie Peak, where the panorama soars back across Eunice Lake, Mowich Lake, and on to Mt. Rainier. (Yes, that little blue dot that appears halfway between Eunice Lake and Mt. Rainier is Mowich lake — where the hike began.) Tolmie Peak – Eunice Lake Trail, August 13, 2016.