Lake George, Westside Road Trailhead, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Lake George - 9.0 miles

Westside Road Trailhead

A black bear peeks through the trees near the Lake George shoreline

A black bear peeks through the trees near the Lake George shoreline

Round-Trip Length: 9.0 miles
Start-End Elevation: 2,885' - 4,235' (Max elevation at Lake George)
Elevation Change: +1,.350' net elevation change (+1,405' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: Yes
Related Trails:

Lake George - 9.0 Miles Round-Trip

Nestled within the northwest shoulder of Mount Wow lay Lake George (4,235') -  a pristine body of water considered one of the premier backpacking and fishing destinations in all of Mount Rainier National Park.

While the park is not generally known for world-class fishing, Lake George provides great opportunity for those seeking to reel in fresh lake trout with no catch limits.

From the Westside Road Trailhead, the road continues past the metal gate, paralleling the debris strewn floodplain of the Tahoma Creek Valley (.5 miles : 2,995'). Glimpses of Mount Rainier can be seen up the valley on this stretch of trail.

The trail veers away from the creek (1.0 miles : 3,160') and passes a day-use picnic area before rising gently on long switchbacks. Still technically Westside Road, the path is wide and easy, making for a pleasant ascent through a mixed Douglas fir and Western Cedar forest (1.5 miles : 3,336'). 

Before long, the trail reaches the Tahoma Vista Picnic area (2.0 miles : 3,465') and makes a hairpin turn left. Cougar and black bear and known to inhabit this stretch of trail and are commonly seen by visitors.

Still on Westside Road, the path begins a more aggressive ascent with salmonberry and huckleberry bushes lining the trail (2.5 miles : 3,545').  

The trail continues ascending - remaining virtually unchanged until reaching Round Pass (3.7 miles : 3,835'). Turn left at Round Pass to find the Lake George Trailhead and turn right onto the Lake George Trail.

Now on the Lake George Trail (4.0 miles :  3,945') - the path narrows to body-width and ascends aggressively through a canopied forest towards Lake George (4.5 miles : 4,235').

Lake George is one of the few good fishing spots in all of Mount Rainier National Park and provides a great backcountry camping spot for those seeking to springboard to other destinations - including the Glacier View Wilderness which borders the national park.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N46 46.802 W121 53.115 — 0.0 miles: Westside Road Trailhead
  • N46 47.213 W121 53.156 — 0.5 miles: Hiking closed portion of Westside Road
  • N46 47.542 W121 52.915 — 1.0 miles: Trail bends away from Tahoma Creek
  • N46 47.681 W121 53.208 — 1.5 miles: Trail maintains gentle grade on Westside Road
  • N46 47.731 W121 53.062 — 2.0 miles: Tahoma Vista Picnic Area - Trail bends left uphill - 3,465'
  • N46 47.689 W121 53.429 — 2.5 miles: Wildflowers and Huckleberry begin to line the trail
  • N46 47.734 W121 53.653 — 3.0 miles: Trail begins more aggressive grade
  • N46 48.058 W121 53.880 — 3.7 miles: Round Pass - 3,825' - Turn left towards Lake George Trail
  • N46 47.973 W121 54.155 — 4.0 miles: Now on Lake George Trail - steep ascent through forest
  • N46 47.569 W121 54.178 — 4.5 miles: Lake George - 4,235'

Worth Noting

  • Bikes are allowed for the first 3.7 miles to Round Pass - a bikerack is located next to the Lake George Trail access point after which bikes are no longer allowed. Many people ride the first 3.7 miles, lock their bikes and hike the remainder to Lake George.
  • Those seeking a longer hike can take the trail to Gobbler's Knob, a lookout tower still in use today by the NPS.
  • The Gobblers Knob lookout tower was originally built in 1933 and was placed on the National Regisrty of Historic Places on March 13th, 1991.

Camping and Backpacking Information

Wilderness Permits are required year-round for overnight camping in the backcountry. Wilderness Camping Permits are free (*see notes for climbers below).

  • Permits and current trail conditions are available at all wilderness information centers, visitor centers and ranger stations (360.569.2211).
  • Camp only in sites designated on your itinerary. Fires are not permitted anywhere in the backcountry.
  • All trail-side camps have primitive toilets, marked sites, poles for hanging food and a nearby water source.
  • Cross-Country Zone Camping: there are no maintained trails, campsites or amenities in cross-country zones. Camp at least 1/4 mile away from any road or established trail, and 100' from water sources. Cross-country camping is not permitted for those hiking the complete Wonderland Trail.
  • Summer Party Size Limit (May 15th - September 30th): 5 people per individual site or cross-country zone designation. Families are an exception to this rule (parents + children).
  • Winter Party Size Limit (October 1 - May 14th): 12 people per individual site or cross-country zone designation.
  • Groups (defined as 6 - 12 people) are permitted in 25 designated sites throughout the park, and when camping on snow in Alpine Zones.
  • Climbing Permits are required year-round for any day or overnight travel on glaciers or above 10,000', including Little Tahoma. The Climbing Permit also serves as the wilderness camping permit for overnight trips. Wilderness Camping Permits are free while a Climbing Permit requires the purchase of an annual Climbing Pass for each member of the party.

Fishing Information

A Washington State Fishing License is not required to fish in Mount Rainier National Park. Lake George is open to fishing:

  • A Washington State catch record card is required to fish for salmon or steelhead and they must be accounted for as if caught in state waters.
  • Fishing regulations are specific to site, species, and season. Always contact the Park before setting out for the latest guidelines.
  • Fishing for Bull Trout, Dolly Varden, Coastal Cutthroat and Chinook (King) Salmon is strictly prohibited in Park waters.

Park Lakes:

  • There is no catch limit in Park lakes.

Streams and Rivers:

  • Daily catch: Six pounds of fish plus one additional fish, not to exceed 12 fish.
  • Possession: 1 day's limit
  • Minimum size: none
  • The Ohanapecosh River and its tributaries are open to fly fishing only. The use of bait or other lures (except artificial flies) is not permitted.

The following areas are closed to fishing:

  • Klickitat Creek above the White River Entrance water supply intake
  • Ipsut Creek above the Ipsut Creek Campground water supply intake
  • Laughingwater Creek above the Ohanapecosh water supply intake
  • Edith Creek basin above the Paradise water supply intake
  • Frozen Lake
  • Reflection Lakes
  • Shadow Lake
  • Tipsoo Lake

Prohibited activities: For the protection of the park and for the enjoyment of others, the following activities are strictly prohibited:

  • Cleaning fish in park waters.
  • Possession or use of live or dead bait fish, amphibians, non-preserved fish eggs, or roe.
  • Chumming or placing any substance (fish eggs, food, drugs, etc.) in waters for the purpose of attracting or feeding fish.
  • Fishing with nets, seines, traps, drugs or explosives, or any means other than hook and line with rod or line being closely attended.
  • Digging for bait.
  • Placing refuse of any kind in park waters.

Overnight Fishing Trips: Anglers making overnight trips into the backcountry must have a wilderness camping permit. These permits can be obtained at any ranger station or wilderness information center. Check here for information on wilderness camping and permit information.

Rules and Regulations

  • There's a $25 entrance fee to Mount Rainier National Park (good for 7 days). Annual Passes are $50.
  • Pets and Bikes are not permitted on hiking trails or climbing routes in Mount Rainier National Park.
  • Fires are not permitted in the backcountry in Mount Rainier National Park.

Directions to Trailhead

Drive 1 mile east of the Nysqually Entrance station and turn left onto Westside Road. Drive 3 miles up Westside Road to the Westside Road Trailhead - marked by a gate, parking area and informational trailhead sign.

Contact Information

Mount Rainier National Park
55210 238th Avenue East
Ashford, WA 98304

General Information

Lost and Found

Trip Reports

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