Lakes in Mount Rainier NP
Find lakes via a description and map
MPG V2.8, January 2013

One of the biggest photography interests for the range of photographers are lakes, especially the photogenic or scenic ones which are usually set up for easy visiting by tourists. There are some excellent ones in Mount Rainier National Park, which are easily accessible from visitors areas (parking with a short hike) or a longer hike if you are prepared, see additional information.

Note.--This Web page uses popup ballons when you click on the name of a lake. If you have popup windows disabled you have to enable them. If your browser won't display them, I don't have an alternative yet.

Lakes in Mt. Rainier NP
Carbon River and Mowich Lake (Nothwest) Quadrant
Lake Stream Latitude Longitude USGS Map
Aurora Lake Tr St Andrews Cr 46.84 N 121.88 W Mt Rainier West
Chenuis Lakes Tr Chenuis Cr 46.97 N 121.78 W Mowich Lake
Crescent Lake Crescent Cr 46.95 N 121.76 W Mowich Lake
Elysian Lake Dick Cr 46.84 N 121.76 W Mowich Lake
Eunice Lake ** Meadow Cr 46.96 N 121.87 W Mowich Lake
Golden Lakes Rushingwater Cr 46.89 N 121.90 W Golden Lakes
Green Lake Ranger Cr 46.98 N 121.92 W Mowich Lake
Lake Tom Ranger Cr 46.97 N 121.87 W Mowich Lake
Mowich Lake ** Crater Cr 46.94 N 121.86 W Mowich Lake
Nisqually River (Southwest) Quadrant
Lake Stream Latitude Longitude USGS Map
Goat Lake Tr Puyallup R 46.79 N 121.92 W Mt Wow
Kenworthy Lake Tr Puyallup R 46.80 N 121.91 W Mt Wow
Lake Allen Tr Tahoma Cr 46.76 N 121.89 W Mt Wow
Lake George Fish Cr 46.79 N 121.90 W Mt Wow
Mirror Lakes Tr Tahoma Cr 46.80 N 121.83 W Mt Rainier West
St Andrews Lake St Andrews Cr 46.83 N 121.86 W Mt Rainier West
Squaw Lake Devil Dream Cr 46.78 N 121.83 W Mt Rainier West
Upper Johnson Lake Tr Johnson Cr 46.74 N 121.77 W Wahpenayo Peak
Paradise (Jackson Visitors Center) Area
Lake Stream Latitude Longitude USGS Map
Lost Lake Paradise R 46.78 N 121.73 W Mt Rainier East
Louse Lake ** Sunbeam Cr 46.77 N 121.72 W Mt Rainier East
Reflection Lake ** Tatoosh Cr 46.77 N 121.73 W Mt Rainier East
Ohanapecosh Entrance (Southeast) Quadrant
Lake Stream Latitude Longitude USGS Map
Bench Lake Unicorn Cr 46.76 N 121.70 W Mt Rainier East
Blue Lake Taos Cr 46.74 N 121.68 W Tatoosh Lakes
Cliff Lake Butter Cr 46.75 N 121.75 W Mt Rainier East
Fan Lake Tr Cowlitz R 46.79 N 121.67 W Mt Rainier East
Fir Lake Olallie Cr 46.77 N 121.59 W Mt Rainier East
Marsh Lakes Tr Cowlitz R 46.76 N 121.65 W Mt Rainier East
Sheep Lake Ohanapecosh Cr 46.78 N 121.53 W Chinook Pass
Shriner Lake Tr Panther Cr 46.81 N 121.51 W Chinook Pass
Snow Lake Unicorn Cr 46.76 N 121.70 W Mt Rainier East
St Jacobs Lake Olallie Cr 46.77 N 121.60 W Mt Rainier East
Three Lakes Panther Cr 46.76 N 121.47 W Cougar Lake
White River and Sunrise Area (Northeast) Quadrant
Lake Stream Latitude Longitude USGS Map
Adelaide Lake Tr WF White R 46.98 N 121.74 W Sunrise
Anderson Lake Deer Cr 46.83 N 121.47 W Cougar Lake
Clover Lake Sunrise Cr 46.93 N 121.59 W White River Park
Deadwood (2) Lakes Deadwood Cr 46.88 N 121.52 W White River Park
Dewey Lake American R 46.86 N 121.48 W Cougar Lake
Forest Lake Huckleberry Cr 46.93 N 121.65 W Sunrise
Frozen Lake Lodi Cr 46.92 N 121.67 W Sunrise
Ghost Lake Klickitat Cr 46.87 N 121.54 W White River Park
Hidden Lake Tr Sunrise Cr 46.94 N 121.60 W White River Park
Lake Eleanor Eleanor Cr 46.99 N 121.66 W Sunrise
Lake Ethel Tr WF White R 46.97 N 121.74 W Sunrise
Lake James Tr WF White R 46.97 N 121.73 W Sunrise
Lower Crystal Lake Crystal C 46.91 N 121.51 W White River Park
Lower Palisades Lake Lost Cr 46.95 N 121.59 W White River Park
Marjorie Lake Tr WF White R 46.98 N 121.74 W Sunrise
Mystic Lake WF White R 46.91 N 121.75 W Mowich Lake
Oliver Lake Tr WF White R 46.98 N 121.75 W Sunrise
Owyhigh Lake Shaw Cr 46.87 N 121.58 W Chinook Pass
Shadow Lake ** Tr White R 46.91 N 121.65 W Sunrise
Sunrise Lake ** Sunrise Cr 46.92 N 121.59 W White River Park
Tiptso Lake ** Chinook Cr 46.87 N 121.52 W Chinook Pass
Upper Crystal Lake Crystal Cr 46.90 N 121.51 W White River Park
Upper Palisades Lake Tr Sunrise Cr 46.95 N 121.59 W White River Park

Note.--A double asterick (**) indicates a easily accessible (road and trail) lake, as noted on the Lakes Introduction Web page. The list uses the "Cr" for Creek, "R" for River, and "Tr" for tributary to listed river for the lake.

Access Guide to Map

Access to the lakes are catagorized and labelled on the map of the lakes as:

   Easy, accessible by road or short trail, usually a tourist waypoint;

   Moderate, accessible via a trail within a half day hike;

   Hard, accessible via a weekend hike with overnight camping, backcountry permit required;

   Difficult, accessible via multi-day hike, 3 or more days, or via off-trail or scrambling, off-trail backcountry experience necssary and backcountry permit required.

Information on Map Guide

The "information window" for each lake has the following information for each lake:

(1) the official name of the lake,
(2) the creek or river basin of the lake,
(3) latitude and longitude, in decimal degrees,
(4) the elevation of the lake, in feet above mean sea level,
(5) the USGS 1:24,000 (7 1/2 minute) topographic map, and
(6) notes about the access from either a highway or trail.

This should provide sufficient information to locate the lake and with the other Websites, linked in the list, and books should provide enough informaton to determine if you want to find it.


There are currently 400 mapped lakes in Mt. Rainier NP, but less than 50 have official names listed on maps for the NP. Many of unnamed lakes are either small, remote or intermittent (seasonal or temporary) and haven't required a full identification or description in publications or on maps.

The lakes in Mt. Rainier NP are divided into three catagories, two major ones and one obvious one. The first to two types of lakes are divided by their location, namely elevation, in relation to the treeline, where they are either surrounded by forests or above the treeline and are open or in geologic features such as tarns, cirques, etc. The third type are the scenic or photogenic ones, most of which are alongside roads, listed below for easier identification for location.

For the photographer, the scenic or photogenic lakes are interesting for their beauty and view of Mt. Rainier as a backdrop. The hardest part of photographing them is the light and wind, the former makes the image or photo difficult and the latter may spoil any reflection. As they say in photography, it's all about light and timing, and often make multiple trips with near sunrise and sunset being the best times and light.

The two other types makes for a lot of interesting photo opportunities if you want to capture more than just Mt. Rainier itself. They afford you the opportunity to capture much of its uniqueness and nature. As they say, it's in the eye of the photographer, so I invite you to visit the other lakes too, listed in the list of lakes or found on the map of lakes Web pages.


There isn't much on-line or published information about the lakes in Mt. Rainier NP, and what does exist are often research studies related to water resources investigations or academic research. That said, here's a list I've found to date.

  • Lakes of Washington State, Volume 1, Washington Department of Ecology, 1973.
    Water Quality of Selected Lakes in Mt Rainier NP, USGS WRI 85-4254, 1985.
    Water Quality and Sediment Data for Selected Lakes in National Parks, USGS Data Seres 751, 2008.
  • I'll add to this as I find more studies or reports.


    Nisqually Entrance, on Highway 706 from the Nisqually Entrance to Paradise, doesn't have any lakes easily accessilble from the road or a short trail, but two lakes southeast of Paradise on the continuation of highway 706 as Stevens Canyon Road are accessible, see Ohanapecosh entrance.

    Ohanapecosh Entrance, on Highway 123 and Highway 706 from the along the Stevens Canyon Road to Paradise, has two lakes, Reflection Lake and Louise Lake, which are just off the highway. These are the two most photographed lakes in the NP, also in the above photograph.

    Carbon River Entrance, off Highway 165, has no easily accessible lakes since the entrance is closed at the NP boundary (5 miles into Ipsut Creek Campground destroyed in winter 2006 and 2008 floods).

    Mowich Lake Entrance, Highway 165, has two lakes, Mowich Lake with a campground and trailheads and Lake Eunice a short hike from the parking lot northwest of Mowich Lake.

    White River Entrance, on Highway 410 to Cayuse and Chinook Passes, has a few smaller lakes, Shallow Lake at Sunrise Visitors Center, Sunrise Lake on Palisades Lakes trail, and Tipso Lake just off Chinook Pass which are easily accessible.

    Above all else when visiting the lakes, please ensure your trip is safe and doesn't harm the environment.


    There only a few tips anyone can give you to photograph lakes, and mostly it's being there at the right time with the right weather, the old adage, "timing is everything." That timing involves the season and month, the time of day, especially around sunrise and sunset, the moon rise and set, see information, and the weather, such as cloud cover, rain or snow and the wind.

    The wind, or the lack of it, determines any possible reflections from the lake surface to the position of the camera. In addition, you should watch the foreground and background to frame the lake in the photograph. You should consider a range of wide angle lenses or a combination zoom to cover the range of views you can get of the lake from the different locations along with a macro lens to add the close foreground into focus.

    After that there are two basic suggestions, which is the old adage about location. So while staying on the trails, walk around the lake to get range of views of it with the background. This also changes the direction of light for the different times you are there or want to come back.

    Second, don't forget to hike above it to get overviews and photographs of it above lake level. It can give the view perspective. Remember, however, as with your hike around the lake, stay on the trails and only venture off where it's obvious you won't damage the plants.


    You can find sources for maps. Please use the contact link to send e-mail.

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    WSR V2.8, January 2013