Looking for a big view of Mt Rainier with views from the whole trail? The Mt Fremont hike is a fantastic choice when Sunrise is open (late June through September)! This hike has views from every step and at 6 miles round trip and 800 feet of elevation gain, it’s a moderate hike. As a heads up, it starts at 6000 feet of elevation, so the air is thinner and it feels a bit harder than it is. Just take lots of breaks (you’ll need to anyway since you’ll constantly be taking pictures!).
Is the Mt Fremont hike right for me?
If you like big views and don’t mind a bit of climbing (much less than many other big view hikes!) and especially if you like to gawk at Mt Rainier then this hike is absolutely for you! It’s closer to Seattle and Tacoma than the other side of the mountain too!
When is a good time for the Mt Fremont hike?
The most important thing is to make sure the road to Sunrise is open. It has a short season, so make sure to check! Beyond this, another important consideration is if you can see the mountain. In my opinion, this hike isn’t worth it if it’s foggy, rainy or you otherwise can’t see the mountain. You can check the webcam to see the current conditions. If it’s not a mountain view day, try one of these rainy day hikes in Mt Rainier instead!
Where is the Mt Fremont hike?
The trailhead starts at the Sunrise parking lot (go between the picnic area and the day lodge). To get to Sunrise, from Seattle or Tacoma head to Enumclaw and then east on highway 410. Continue into the park (there’s a big wooden sign over the road), and then you’ll come to a turn to the right that says “White River Entrance/Sunrise”. Here you will enter the White River entrance and pay the $30 fee (unless you have a pass). They hold people at the fee both if there is not parking at Sunrise, so if it’s a weekend or holiday, go early or late. Once past the fee both, keep right at the campground turn (which goes left), then follow the road as it climbs, climbs, climbs very steeply with lots of switchbacks till you arrive at Sunrise. It should take 2-2.5 hours to get there from Seattle.
Starting from the Sunrise parking lot, in a short distance you’ll come to a trail intersection, where you want to go left (and up). After a short bunch of trees (look for marmots here!) you’ll come to an overlook over the ridge with a nice view of distant mountains.
Continuing on, at another fork keep left (another trail branches to the right) and in about a mile, you’ll come to a trail junction at a small lake, appropriately named Frozen Lake. Stay away from the lake as it’s the water source for Sunrise.
Lots of wildflowers in this area, as well as fall color in the shrubs starting at the very end of August or beginning of September.
Continuing around the lake, on its far side the trail climbs it’s steepest part. Take frequent breaks to look behind you for the awesome mountain views! Continue on the trail (about 1.5 miles from Frozen lake) across granite rocky terrain until you get to the fire lookout.
This is a great place to take in the amazing view of Mt Rainier as well as all the surrounding mountains while you enjoy your lunch! Once you’ve soaked it all in, head back down the way you came.