Hi there and welcome to my travel article on hiking the incredible Mount Fremont Lookout Trail in Washington State. I’m excited to share with you my experience on this hike as well as some tips for your adventure here.
I grew up in a small town on the other side of the US from Washington, in Pennsylvania. There was no phone service, no neighbors and nothing but trees. My family always took my brother and I camping, hiking and fishing – so it was pretty much decided for us that we would love the outdoors.
It wasn’t until I got a little older that I realized just how much is out in the world to see – and I wanted to see it all! I recall from a young age that I was interested in photography. I used disposable cameras, our family’s old video cameras and when my mom got a cell phone with a camera, everything changed! I took photos of everything when I got my hands on it.
She noticed my interest and over time, I got my own point-and-shoot and then my first DSLR. I have always found satisfaction in capturing a moment – whether someone wants to look back on it or not (I do). The way the sun shines through the trees, how someone laughs unprompted, a blurry moment during a first dance at a wedding – it all deserves to be captured.
Mount Fremont Lookout Trail via Sourdough Ridge Trail
One of my best friends was accepted into a rotational program when graduating from Penn State, and the first location she was sent to was in Washington State! I can’t even begin to explain how excited I was for her.
We used AllTrails to find some of the most popular hikes with the best views to start adventuring in her new home. I visited in July when the sunsets and wildflowers were at their best – and boy were they at their best! The days were long, warm and clear – perfect for seeing Rainier.
We came across the Mount Fremont Lookout Trail and decided to give it a crack. The hike started at the Sunrise Visitor Center and continued along the Sourdough Ridge Trail. We made a few stops for photos where we noticed some groups decided to end their hike. We continued up to the fire lookout for lunch to enjoy the breathtaking views all around us.
90% of the trail is non-wooded, AKA you get views of Mount Rainier almost the whole time. We hit a snow patch but it wasn’t anything we couldn’t handle. It almost felt like we were walking hand-in-hand with Rainy (what my friends and I call Mount Rainier). The terrain is mild but it gets rocky near the end. The trail is busy so it’s best to plan ahead and arrive early.
My favorite part of the hike was nearing the end when we started to gain elevation. I was with one of my best friends and her boyfriend, so it felt special to experience something so beautiful with people that I love.
Breathtaking Views from the Lookout
As cliche as it sounds, the view at the top of the Mount Fremont Lookout Trail was breathtaking. The peaceful feeling after completing a hike up to one of the most magnificent sights in Washington is truly indescribable. What always motivates me during any hike (but mostly the strenuous ones) is knowing that at the end I will find clarity in my mind and breath.
Hiking is very meditative to me. It’s the only time my mind is clear and I can find true bliss, peace and inner silence. This was my first big hike in a US national park for the first time in years. I was stunned at the views on offer!
Difficulty Level of the Mount Fremont Lookout Trail
This trail is fairly easy and is definitely suited for casual hikers. At the top, there is some loose rock but nothing too challenging throughout. My best friend’s boyfriend wanted to take a “harder” route so we ended up hiking up a hill of snow – but it wasn’t anything we couldn’t manage! It definitely should be a must on your hiking list in Washington.
Need to Know Before you Go
Leave No Trace. This is something that hikers are aware of, but there have been several times that I found myself picking up trash in a national park or on trails around my hometown. Small things like avoiding the use of single use plastic and recycling in the designated areas are the best ways to start.
Sunrise or sunset will make it an ethereal experience. Know that this is a popular hike and depending on the time of day, the parking lot can get full. I always try to hike as early (and I mean early) as possible unless I plan on a sunset hike. And of course – take your time. It’s about the journey and the destination when it comes to a hike like this. There is beauty everywhere!