Accessible most of the year, the Pratt Lake Trail (No. 1007) is a popular gateway into the 390,000-acre Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area. From the Granite Mountain Trailhead, the wide and well-worn path climbs past cascading creeks and fragrant stands of maturing firs and pines. A mile into the trail, the Granite Mountain Trail (No. 1016) forks to the right. Continue straight on Pratt Lake Trail for the first significant elevation gain of the trip. As the trail traverses the slopes of Granite Mountain, you’ll catch glimpses of the Cascades through gaps in the trees.
At the 3-mile mark, the trail intersects the Talapus Lake Cutoff Trail, which leads to the shores of Talapus Lake and Olallie Lake. Bear left for a short side trip to the lakes, or continue straight for the remaining 1.1 miles to the saddle. Just below the saddle, the trail rounds to the southwest and crosses a talus field; stop for stunning views of Mount Rainier and Olallie Lake. At mile 4.1, the route crests the 4,200-foot ridge separating Pratt Lake and Olallie Lake. Savor the 360-degree views of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness before turning around and descending back to the trailhead.
-Mapped by Nathan and Jeremy Barnes, hikingwithmybrother.com