Pinnacle Peak Trail, Reflection Lakes - Pinnacle Peak Trailhead, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Pinnacle Peak Trail - 2.6 miles

Reflection Lakes - Pinnacle Peak Trailhead

View down Butter Creek on the approach to Plummer Peak

View down Butter Creek on the approach to Plummer Peak

Round-Trip Length: 2.6 miles (scrambling route continues to summit)
Start-End Elevation: 4,867' - 5,897' (actual summit is 6,562')
Elevation Change: +1,030' net elevation gain (+1,062' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Pinnacle Peak Trail - 2.6 Miles Round-Trip

The Pinnacle Peak Trail runs 1.3 miles from Reflection Lakes to a saddle between Pinnacle Peak (6,562') and Plummer Peak (6,370') with terrific views down Butter Creek to Mount Adams. Established way-trails split off the saddle for Class II - IV scrambling routes to Pinnacle, Plummer and The Castle.

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

Even if not aiming for the summits you can still enjoy the well-formed way-trails, which lead across heather-covered slopes to outcrops and tarns.

Pinnacle Peak is the shortest of three trails in Rainier which access the Tatoosh, and offers a true high country experience with only modest effort:

The trail begins across the street from the (west) Reflection Lakes Trailhead. It rises steadily in a subalpine forest before pitching steeply across rock slides at .65, .75 and .85 miles. You'll have good views of Rainier and meadows along Tatoosh Creek on this climb.

A ramp-like path winds up a talus field on the NW flank of Pinnacle Peak to the End of Maintained Trail sign on the saddle (1.3 miles : 5,897'). Here established paths split for Pinnacle (left) and Plummer (right). Look for goats on adjacent ridges, and bear and elk on slopes below.

Pinnacle Peak is a Class III scramble from this point, The Castle is Class IV and Plummer a more accommodating Class I-II. Ratings are relative to skill, and only experienced climbers should attempt these summits. Remain on established paths beyond the saddle to minimize impact on this delicate ecosystem.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N46 46.094 W121 43.869 — 0.0 miles : Pinnacle Peak Trailhead
  • N46 45.883 W121 43.979 — .5 miles : Moderate climb in thin forest
  • N46 45.519 W121 44.156 — 1.0 miles : Steep, ramp-like trail
  • N46 45.369 W121 44.142 — 1.3 miles : Trail ends on saddle under summit

Worth Noting

  • The Butter Creek Rearch Natural Area (which includes the entire drainage below treeline) is restricted and closed to travel.
  • Mount Hood and Mount St Helens are visible from the saddle on clear days.

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.

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 Reflection Lakes - Pinnacle Peak Trailhead is located 16.5 miles east of the Nisqually Entrance Station on Stevens Canyon Road. Drive 15.2 miles from the entrance station and bear right toward Ohanapecosh at the split for Paradise. The trailhead is located across the street from the lake and lot.

Contact Information

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

Paradise Visitor Center

Paradise Climbing Information Center (CIC) | Guide House

White River Wilderness Information Center

Longmire Wilderness Information Center

Carbon River Ranger Station

General Information

Lost and Found

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


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