Mount Rainier National Park – Reflection and Louise Lakes


What? :

Reflection Lake is one of the most iconic views of Mt. Rainier in the park.

With easy access during summer months, park alongside Steven Canyon Rd. and enjoy the lake reflection with Mt. Rainier towering above.

This is a must stop on your Mount Rainier drive.


Louise Lakes on the other hand is less visited and provide quite time, out of the beaten path of the crowed.



Where? :

Reflection Lake is just a hundred feet off Steven Canyon Rd., easy to reach from the roadside parking.

Google Map Link



When? :

The Mount Rainier Park is open year-round, but Steven Canyon Rd. is closed during the winter months.

Check Park website for road conditions.



Due note 1: There are connecting trails around the lake, and down to Louise Lake allows you a nice loop.


Due note 2: This is great for a sunrise or sunset photo shoot. At that time the wind is usually calmer, and the water will be less choppy so you can get nicer reflection with Mt. Rainier towering above.



Due note 3: This is one of the most popular destinations in the park so road-side parking can be challenging. Drive slowly and look for empty parking spot.


Due note 4: Reflection Lakes, Tipsoo Lake, and Shadow Lake are closed to protect sensitive riparian vegetation. No swimming, fishing, or boating allowed.


Due note 5: During summer months mosquitoes can be a major problem, bring a bug net and long sleeves if you plan to spend here long time.


Due note 6: You can hike from here into upper lakes but for most this is only a short stop on their way, enjoy the view and keep driving.




My thoughts:

After walking down, the short trail leading to Louise Lake and enjoying the hike with almost no one around, Reflection Lake was another short stop on my way to Paradise area, this time with many other people.

It was already late morning, and the roadside parking near Reflection Lake was full. I manage to find a parking spot, went down, took few pictures, and kept driving west.

I will try that the next time I will visit here it will be at sunrise, better picture opportunity and a lot less people.



The visit:

Many consider Reflection Lake area to be the park at its best, alpine lake, mountain peak and easy access.

In summer and autumn, the lake is surrounded with wildflowers color that add to the beauty.


High Lakes Loop Trail:

I did not hike this trail so I can’t provide a lot more information.

This is hike that start at the lake (park on Steven's Canyon Road) is 3.2 Mile loop hike with 500ft of elevation gain.

This is a very popular hike because it easy access and its modest difficult level. Because of the lake lower elevation, this hike is snow free early in the summer.

You can climb to Faraway Rock; this is a steep but short trail, and you can hike it out and back.



Access Louise Lake:

There is a hiking trail that connect Reflection Lake to Louise Lake, but from Reflection Lake I recommend driving down Steven's Canyon Road (east) and park your car on the roadside parking just above Louise Lake.

Park on the roadside in this location: google map link.


You can’t see Rainier view from Louise Lake so it far less busy, here you can enjoy a very short walk and solitude atmosphere.


The short trail descend to the lake below and reach it shoreline.

Here, depending on the lake water level, you can walk to the right side (the lake exit stream) or to the left side.

To your right, on the other side of the lake, you will see the towering walls, leading all the way up to Faraway Rock viewpoint.







Additional Pictures: