July 26, 2009

Northern Rangers: Mount Fremont Lookout Trail

Above Sunrise on Mount Rainier lies the Mount Fremont Lookout Trail.

This trail is about 5.5 miles round-trip and offers breathtaking views of Mount Rainier, alpine lakes, meadows, valleys and even the occasional wildlife.

The Mount Fremont Fire Lookout was built in 1934 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. It is just one of four lookout towers that remain in the National Park.

According to the plaque at the lookout, due to the exposure of a lookout tower, many are prone to lighting strikes. And shortly after it's completion, the Mount Fremont Fire Lookout lost its roof to a high wind storm.

This tower used to serve as a way for watchers to spot smoke and fires and report them by telephone. However, after World War II, aerial surveillance replaced many lookout towers. Despite this face, the Mount Fremont Fire Lookout Tower is occasionally staffed, as they are still fully equipped to be lived in.

Getting to the trailhead

From the White River Entrance to Mount Rainier National Park, drive up the road about 14 miles. Park at the Sunrise parking lot and proceed toward the picnic area. Hike past the picnic area to the trail.

Several trails share the same trailhead off the parking area. Follow the Mount Fremont Trail and the Frozen Lake Trail signs. Please stay on the trail. Off-trail hiking is not allowed in the Sunrise area.

About the trail

The route is well-marked with signs, even at the juncture where five different trails converge. It begins at a gradual slope and steepens for a about 1/4 mile. From this point to Frozen Lake, about 1 mile, the trail stays fairly flat. It then climbs from Frozen Lake to the Mount Fremont Lookout Tower.

The terrain varies from the dust of the trail to flat rocks.

There is a complete tour up the trail in the video we made on our hike below.

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