Palisades Lakes Trail, Sunrise Point - Palisades Lakes Trailhead, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Palisades Lakes Trail - 7.1 miles

Sunrise Point - Palisades Lakes Trailhead

Upper Palisades Lake (5,827')

Upper Palisades Lake (5,827')

Round-Trip Length: 7.1 miles (add 1.2 miles roundtrip for Hidden Lake)
Start-End Elevation: 6,104' - 5,807' (6,104' max elevation @ TH / Sunrise Point)
Elevation Change: -297' net elevation loss (+2,093' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Palisades Lakes Trail - 7.1 Miles Round-Trip

The Palisades Lakes Trail runs 3.55 miles from Sunrise Point to Upper Palisades Lake in the Sourdough Range of Mount Rainier National Park. This feature-filled hike traverses archetypal subalpine parklands to Surprise Lake, Clover Lake and the Tom-Dick-Harry Lakes en route to UPL. A .6 mile trail branches off the Palisades to Hidden Lake, and continues on a challenging cross-country route to Green Park Saddle.

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

After dropping 500' to the valley floor, the PLT rolls on variously mild and short, steep intervals through patchy forest and scenic meadows to each lake.

Visitors will enjoy abundant flowers, diverse terrain and active wildlife. North-facing slopes may hold snow well into July - call ahead for trail conditions: 

The trail levels across Sunrise Ridge before dropping sharply to a spur for Surprise Lake (.45 miles : 5,820'). The main trail nadirs on the valley floor (.9 miles : 5,614'), then rises back through rolling meadows to Clover Lake (1.5 miles : 5,732'). Clover Lake is surrounded by wide, level meadows rife with flowers. 

The trail arcs around Clover and steepens to a high crest (1.8 miles : 5,875'), then drops steeply to a large meadow in the adjacent basin. You'll feel this climb on the return.

Once down, travel moderates again through open parkland to the Hidden Lake Trail split (2.7 miles :  5,625'). See below for details. The PLT continues to a spur for Dick Lake, one of three cloistered ponds in the Tom-Dick-Harry trio (2.9 miles : 5,690'). 

The trail pitches up a thinly treed slope and levels into the largest and arguably most scenic meadow on the route (3.2 miles : 5,890').  It crests on the north end of this meadow and drops through open, flower-covered slopes to Upper Palisades Lake (3.55 miles : 5,807').

The eponymous Palisades rock formations stand high over the lake's west shore. The maintained trail ends here, but Lower Palisades Lake (5,495') is located about .35 miles away as the crow flies, and is accessible by boot track for those with time and navigation skills.

Hidden Lake (5,915')

This steep, lightly-used access trail climbs 280' in just .35 miles to the edge of Hidden Lake. Don't stop here! Hidden Lake is deceptively large.

A narrow path hugs the shore to the open west side and End of Maintained Trail sign (.6 miles from the main trail). An established route picks up here to Green Park Saddle below Marcus Peak.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N46 55.069 W121 35.239 — 0.0 miles : Sunrise Point - Palisades Lakes Trailhead
  • N46 55.170 W121 35.168 — .45 miles : Descend to Surprise Lake spur
  • N46 55.397 W121 35.289 — .9 miles : Trail nadirs on valley floor, begin rolling climb
  • N46 55.657 W121 35.677 — 1.5 miles : Clover Lake (5,732')
  • N46 55.857 W121 35.686 — 1.8 miles : Reach crest, begin sharp descent
  • N46 56.243 W121 35.684 — 2.5 miles : Rolling travel through parkland
  • N46 56.350 W121 35.723 — 2.7 miles : Hidden Lake Trail split
  • N46 56.486 W121 35.638 — 2.85 miles : Dicks Lake access spur
  • N46 56.741 W121 35.459 — 3.2 miles : Cross long meadow under the Palisades
  • N46 56.995 W121 35.456 — 3.55 miles : Upper Palisades Lake (5,807')
  • N46 56.474 W121 35.874 — Hidden Lake (5,915')
  • N46 56.460 W121 36.100 — End of trail - route continues to Green Park Saddle

Worth Noting

  • Mosquitoes can be a nuisance. Long sleeves and bug repellant is highly recommended.
  • Steep, north-facing slopes can hold snow well into summer. Call ahead for trail conditions.

Camping and Backpacking Information

Backcountry Camping is permitted at Dick's Lake and Upper Palisades Lake only.

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:

  • 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

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

The Paslisades Lakes Trailhead is located 11.3 miles from the White River Entrance Station at Sunrise Point. Continue from the entrance station on Sunrise Road to Sunrise Point and park in the large lot. The trail begins across the road on the east side of the lot.

Contact Information

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

General Information

Lost and Found

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