Tipsoo Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes that I have ever had the pleasure to set my eyes upon! Tipsoo Lake is an unforgettable image of deep blue alpine lake, insane wildflowers in the summer and the perfect backdrop, Mount Rainier!
A perfect day includes fluffy clouds reflecting from the surface of the lake as your jaw just hits the ground in sheer amazement of its beauty. Knowing this, Tipsoo Lake is also one of the most photographed areas of Mount Rainier National Park.
Tipsoo Lake - Mount Rainier National Park
Tipsoo Lake should definitely be on your top things to do in Mount Rainier especially during the wildflower bloom in the summer.
The stunning views of Mount Rainier from Tipsoo Lake make for a great escape from the crowds in the Paradise Area.
This area can have snow even in June! We visited the park in the third week of June and the area was still covered with a ton of snow.One thing to know when planning a visit to Tipsoo Lake is it is not in the main portion of the park. Tipsoo Lake is at the far eastern side of the park on the Mather Memorial Parkway (Named after the first director of the National Park Service).
This scenic drive up to the park's boundary is almost as spectacular as the lake itself and gives visitors access to a few incredible trails.
Where is Tipsoo Lake?
GPS coordinates are 46.8691° N, 121.5175° W.
The Tipsoo Lake parking area is located off of Highway 410, the Mather Memorial Parkway part of the Chinook Pass Scenic Byway.
Make sure to check out the Mount Rainier Entrance sign that passes over the Chinook Scenic Byway. It is a footbridge for the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).
The Tipsoo Lake Parking lot offers easy parking to head out on the trail around the lake.
Tipsoo Lake Trails
Lake Tipsoo Trail
Distance: .8 mile roundtrip loop trail.
Elevation Gain: mostly flat, less than 50 feet.
Time to Complete: 30 Minutes, perhaps longer to really soak in this incredible view.
This trail is often covered in snow with a short season for the wildflowers to grow. Be prepared for when they do as it is a sight to see! This is bar none, one of my favorite parts of Mount Rainier, and I count down the days until I can stand along its banks again staring out over the water and enjoying on of my favorite views in the entire National Parks System!
Naches Peak Loop Trail
Distance: 3.5 miles roundtrip loop trail.
Elevation Gain: 500 feet
Time to complete: 2 Hours
The trailhead is at the Tipsoo Lake parking lot. This is a popular and beautiful hike that includes views of Tipsoo Lake, breathtaking sub-alpine meadows and there is even Huckleberries in the late summer/fall. I recommend hiking in a clockwise direction as this will give you the best views of Mount Rainier during your hike.Park Ranger John Pro Tip:
While not in a national park, locals know you are just a short drive to Crystal Mountain. This ski area still operates in the summer giving gondola rides up 2400' drop you off just feet from the Summit House (Washington's Highest Elevation Restaurant). Both the Gondola ride and restaurant gives you a jaw-dropping view of Mt Rainier! It makes a great way to end a great trip to one of my favorite parks!
White River Campground is approximately 15 miles from Tipsoo Lake. This campground offers 112 campsites on a first-come-first-served basis.
Check out our Mt. Rainier Camping Guide to see all of the camping options within the park.
There are no lodges close to the lake.
National Park Inn - This historic lodge is located in the Longmire District of the park near the Nisqually entrance. You will have to drive up the mountain to reach the lake but it isn't that far considering you are already within the park.
Things to know
Dogs are not allowed on the trails at Mount Rainier National Park.
There are vault toilets in the main parking lot.
There are no restaurants or snack shops in the area so make sure you plan ahead with snacks and water.
There is no swimming area in the lake.
Bug Spray is your friend! You will want to apply bug spray before you leave the main parking lot! We pre-spray our clothes with permethrin spray before we head to any national parks. This way we know that we always have some form of bug spray on us.
Additional Mt. Rainier Resources
Mount Rainier Camping Guide - Complete guide to all of the campgrounds within the park.
Top things to do Mount Rainier National Park - All the things you don't want to miss while in the park.
National Parks in Washington - Check out all of the parks you can visit in Washington
Most Visited National Park Sites - Find out if Mount Rainier made it on the most visited national parks list.
National Park Bucket List - How many bucket list national park adventures have you taken?
Paradise Mt. Rainier Guide - Check out all of the amazing things to see and do while visiting Paradise.