Mt Fremont Lookout Tower, Sunrise Visitor Center, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Mt Fremont Lookout Tower - 5.6 miles

Sunrise Visitor Center

Mount Rainier (14,410') from the Mt Fremont Lookout Trail

Mount Rainier (14,410') from the Mt Fremont Lookout Trail

Round-Trip Length: 5.6 miles
Start-End Elevation: 6,415' - 7,181' (7,181' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +766' net elevation gain (+1,210' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Mt Fremont Lookout Tower - 5.6 Miles Round-Trip

Mt Fremont Lookout Tower (7,181') is located 2.8 miles from the Sunrise Visitor Center in Mount Rainier National Park. This 1930s fire tower features panoramic views across the Burroughs, Berkeley Park, Loch Creek, West Fork White River, Grand Park, Huckleberry Creek and Cascades.

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

A national network of fire lookout towers was constructed in the early 1900s to spot and report fires so crews could be dispatched quickly. As many as 685 towers were built in Washington at the system's peak, but most were abandoned decades later as technology and reconnaissance improved. Many are recognized as historical landmarks today.

The Sourdough Ridge Trail runs 1.5 miles west to a 4-way intersection at Frozen Lake, where the Mt Fremont Lookout Trail splits north across a broad alpine meadow and pitches up steep, open slopes to the tower.

Visitors will have excellent views of Rainier's NE glaciers, and multiple parks and drainages that extend from its base:

Follow signs from the parking lot to the trailhead for all destinations. An access trail runs up to the Sourdough Ridge Trail (.3 miles : 6,630'); turn left to the Huckleberry Creek Trail split (.62 miles : 6,790'). You'll have good views across Huckleberry Basin to McNeely Peak (6,786') from the ridge.

The trail rolls to the south side of the ridge and drops to a 4-way junction at Frozen Lake for Burroughs Mountain, The Wonderland Trail and Mt Fremont (1.5 miles : 6,760'). Frozen Lake is a public water source and not open to hikers. 

The Mt Fremont Trail turns north across a broad meadow and up a big, south-facing slope with terrific views of the Burroughs, Rainier, and Wonderland's route through Berkeley Park.

The ramp-like trail bends N-NW at 2.15 miles onto a narrower, slightly exposed path that may hold snow longer than lower sections (7,130'). It dips and rises to Mt Fremont Lookout Tower (2.8 miles : 7,181'), located on a pointy ridge off the true summit.  

It's clear why this was chosen as a fire lookout, with commanding views that extend across several drainages and basins. 

Grand Park's broad, level meadows stand out in this big landscape. Look for goats and elk on adjacent ridges and slopes below. On the return, consider hiking up to the First Burrough Mtn for up-close views of Rainier (1.2 miles roundtrip from the 3-way junction).

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N46 54.950 W121 38.622 — 0.0 miles : Sunrise Visitor Center Trailhead Portal
  • N46 55.111 W121 38.802 — .3 miles : Turn left on to the Sourdough Ridge Trail
  • N46 55.149 W121 39.219 — .62 miles : Huckleberry Creek Trail split
  • N46 55.096 W121 39.870 — 1.25 miles : Frozen Lake viewpoint spur
  • N46 55.055 W121 40.116 — 1.5 miles : Wonderland - Mt Fremont Trail split
  • N46 55.495 W121 40.479 — 2.15 miles : Trail bends N-NW
  • N46 55.846 W121 40.490 — 2.6 miles : Steady climb over head of Loch Creek
  • N46 56.039 W121 40.538 — 2.8 miles : Mt Fremont Lookout Tower (7,181')

Worth Noting

  • Upper sections of the trail - especially those with slight north-facing aspects - can hold snow into early summer. Short sections are exposed and may be tricky with snow. Call ahead for conditions before setting out.
  • Goats are frequently seen along this trail. Keep a safe, respectful distance from wildlife and allow goats plenty of room to pass.

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). There is no camping along the Mt Fremont Lookout Trail - the nearest locations are Shadow Lake and Berkeley Park.

  • 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

  • There is no fishing along the Mt Fremont Lookout Tower Trail.

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 Sunrise Visitor Center is located 14.0 miles from the White River Entrance Station at the end of Sunrise Road. The trail begins on the north side of the main parking lot. Follow signs for hiking trail access past the Snack Bar to the trailhead for all destinations.

Contact Information

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

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