“Experience one of Rainier's most pristine sub-alpine lakes on this relatively easy route.
— Tom Robson
Birding · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Situated on the eastern slope of Tamanos Mountain (6,530'), Owyhigh Lake is a perfect running destination.
In place of the traditional Mount Rainier views, Owyhigh Lakes provides seclusion from other trail users, and multitudes of open-meadow vistas.
Treat water before drinking. Permits are required for camping. Permits and current trail conditions are available park-wide from wilderness information centers, ranger stations, and visitor centers. Fires are prohibited. No pets on trails.
Need to Know
Tamanos Creek Camp is located among the trees three miles from the trailhead, and 0.5 mile short of the lakes. Although the creek is often dry by late summer, Owyhigh Lakes provide a reliable source of water.
Mellow grades and few other trail users make this a prime trail running destination.
Drive through the White River Entrance and proceed two miles to a parking area on the right. The trailhead is located across the road.
The trail climbs steadily for 3.5 miles through the forest on a series of switchbacks to reach the lakes. Along the way, you'll be traveling through spectacular forest. Once you've had an opportunity to take in the view of the lakes, retrace your steps to the trailhead.
Flora & Fauna
Although this route offers no views of Mount Rainier, it does offer an array of secluded mountain lakes and meadows aglow with wildflowers in mid-summer. The jagged cliffs of Governors Ridge rise high above the lakes to the east while Tamanos Mountain lies directly west.
History & Background
According to legend, these lakes were named after Yakima Chief "Owhi," who loaned horses to Theodore Winthrop (after whom the Winthrop Glacier was named), when Winthrop was on a trek across the cascades in the mid-1850s.