Frozen Lake via Sourdough Ridge

Mount Rainier National Park

An easy but incredibly scenic hike from the Sunrise Visitor Center.

Hiking Easy

Distance
4.5 km
Ascent
173 m
Descent
172 m
Duration
1-2 hrs
Low Point
2 km
High Point
2.1 km
Gradient
Frozen Lake via Sourdough Ridge Map

This blue droplet of water resting in a small depression high above treeline is known as "Frozen Lake." Even late in the year, the lake usually retains a frozen snowdrift along one shore that feeds it with snowmelt. This small lake provides all of the drinking water for the Sunrise area, the popular visitor center located lower down the mountain that you will most likely begin your hike from.

Description

Since this lake is such a vital source of drinking water, you won't be able to hike right to the shore. But you'll still be able to reach picturesque views from above.

The popular hike to reach the lake follows the well-developed Sourdough Ridge Trail. Sourdough Ridge begins directly from the Sunrise Visitor Center, quickly gaining the ridge and then following a well-developed benchcut trail across the mountainside.

Since this trail sees so much traffic, the national park has developed it into a wide, well-reinforced trail tread. Even so, the setting is absolutely spectacular, and you'll enjoy stunning views throughout the entirety of the hike. Mount Rainier itself looms above, providing an impressive background during the entire hike.

Once you've finished enjoying the views of the lake, the best route back is to simply return the same way you came. While there are a few other trails that will get you back to Sunrise, Sourdough Ridge is truly one of the most glorious trails in the park, and getting to enjoy a different set of vistas while hiking in the opposite direction is a fantastic choice.

Difficulty

Easy

Walking along a well-kept trail that’s mostly flat. No obstacles are present.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

July, August, September, October

Features

  • Alpine
  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features
  • Family friendly

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area