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Alpinejo.tripod.com: Backcountry Trails Guide
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Washington Backcountry Trails

Trail through Grand Park

 

Lake James Loop

Lake James

Definition of terms below
Location: Mt Rainier National Park
Directions: Head out Hwy 410 towards Chinook Pass, turn right on FS 73, at Y in road stay left, continue for a while cross over Huckleberry Creek and continue around the mountain, as you cross Eleanor Creek there is a pullout on the right park here, the trail is on the left
Difficulty: Strenuous
Elevation +/- 3882 ft elevation gain
Distance: 22 miles round trip
Rating: 10 out of 10
Fishing: Great, take a raft the lakes are big
Scenery: Cool forest hike, big trees, Grand Park and Mt Rainier
Map: Printable Topo Map

The Lake James loop is one of my favorite adventures. I did not see anyone else on the trail or elsewhere the entire 3 days I was there. There is camping at the lake by permit.

The trail meanders through the forest along Eleanor Creek for the entire 2 miles. The forest is wide open so you may see some of the deer in the area.  

Continue on the trail past Lake Eleanor, meander through the forest until you break out into Grand Park. Grand park would be worth a trip in itself, a few mile wide open grassy flatland with Mt Rainier in the distance--beautiful. The hiking here is easy, there are elk all over the place.

Keep hiking until you get to the Northern Loop Trail hang a right and drops steadily down into the valley of the White River (it was snowy like crazy when I was here). Cross the White River and notice the cool waterfall. The trail goes up from here so take a nice break.

Once you get to Lake James relax a bit on the small beach. I spent my first night here.

 The next morning I went bushwhacking along the back of the lake towards Lake Ethel-I tried my hand at fishing, tossing the roster tail a few times, no luck. So I continued bushwhacking to Marjorie Lake and Oliver Lake, I caught a really nice fish out of Marjorie lake and did not fish Oliver Lake. Then I continued on my trek to Adelaide Lake-this lake was starting to freeze over and the fish were very plentiful.

Spending the rest of the day at Adelaide Lake, I watched the sun go down and then headed back to Lake James. I had to put on the trusty headlamp to make it back to the lake, there is nothing like bushwhacking in devils club at night with a headlamp on.

I headed out on the 3rd day. it was still a tough hike out.

I would suggest camping at a lake other than lake James I am sure that in peak season this place is overrun with "Granolas".

Fishing-nothing like a few great alpine lakes, there are some huge fish here. Take a raft, your fishing will be outstanding!

Do it again? Yes

 



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