Mount Rainier National Park: Laughingwater Creek to Chinook Pass via Pacific Crest Trail

This 18.5-mile point-to-point in the eastern fringes of the park follows the Pacific Crest Trail across Cascade ridgelines to picture-perfect views of Rainier.
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This 18.5-mile point-to-point in the eastern fringes of the park follows the Pacific Crest Trail across Cascade ridgelines to picture-perfect views of Rainier.

INFO For information on permits, current trail and camp conditions, and wilderness guidelines, go to nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/wilderness-camping-and-hiking.htm.

PERMIT A wilderness permit is required for all overnight camping in the backcountry. Reservations requests accepted by fax or mail, starting on March 15th of each year ($20/reservation). Download form at nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/wilderness-reservation-information.htm.

CONTACT Mt. Rainier National Park, (360) 569-2211; nps.gov/mora

-Mapped by Jack Haskel

TO TRAILHEAD: Shuttle car: From Greenwater, drive southeast on WA 410 E/Chinook Pass Hwy. for nearly 25 miles to parking on Chinook Pass.

To trailhead: From Chinook Pass, drive south on WA 410 W/Mather Memorial Pkwy. In roughly 4 miles, turn left onto WA 123 S. Go 11.1 miles to parking near the Laughingwater Creek trailhead.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 29.8

Waypoints

CHN001

Location: 46.751623, -121.557455

From the highway, hike east on Laughingwater Creek Trail.

CHN002

Location: 46.75474, -121.545568

The trail crests a small bench above the Ohanapecosh River valley. Head northeast along Laughingwater Creek.

CHN003

Location: 46.75674, -121.538143

The climb steepens here.

CHN004

Location: 46.760297, -121.513681

Cross a creek that flows into Laughingwater Creek.

CHN005

Location: 46.763942, -121.483254

Continue straight at the 3-way junction.

CHN006

Location: 46.764971, -121.479993

Keep straight at this 3-way intersection.

CHN007

Location: 46.763237, -121.4748

The trail passes Three Lakes.

CHN008

Location: 46.767999, -121.460338

The climb steepens at this small lake. Climb the ridgeline to join the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).

CHN009

Location: 46.77185, -121.449995

Turn left near the top of the ridge, heading north on the PCT. Look to the northwest for views of Mt. Rainier.

CHN010

Location: 46.79102, -121.447742

You have two options at this 3-way junction: 1) Go straight to continue along the PCT; 2) Turn right for a .8-mile out-and-back to Two Lakes.

CHN011

Location: 46.787029, -121.447163

Two Lakes

CHN012

Location: 46.817169, -121.468513

Continue straight

CHN013

Location: 46.831749, -121.473915

Set up camp at a designated site near Anderson Lake (mile 13.4). Next day: Continue north on the PCT.

CHN014

Location: 46.840526, -121.47274

Creek crossing

CHN015

Location: 46.849508, -121.477332

Cross creek

CHN016

Location: 46.852737, -121.480422

Stay left at the trail fork; walk around the southwest banks of Dewey Lake, passing many campsites.

CHN017

Location: 46.855568, -121.48703

Pass a campsite overlooking Dewey Lake.

CHN018

Location: 46.862232, -121.496384

Continue straight (north) at the 3-way junction. The trail on the left leads west to Tipsoo Lake.

CHN019

Location: 46.871881, -121.515539

Cross bridge over highway and turn left for the last stretch to the parking area.

CHN020

Location: 46.875081, -121.518011

The route ends at Chinook Pass. Want to go farther? Download more PCT section hikes at backpacker.com/pct.

Views of Mt. Rainier

Location: 46.807521, -121.46111

Rainier from the PCT

Location: 46.813101, -121.465402

Tarn below Naches Peak

Location: 46.867395, -121.500678

Chinook Pass

Location: 46.87203, -121.514813