Sun Top Lookout (Mar 31, 2019)

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sun_top_lo_coverConditions: Snowshoe
Gear: Snowshoes
Map: USGS Sun Top
Area: Greenwater, WA
Reference: Snowshoe Routes Washington
Stats: 10.84mi, 3084' gain (round trip)
Weather Forecast

Steve and I picked up a SnoPark seasonal permit earlier in the season. I was determined to get some use out of it this year since they aren't cheap. I've been wanting to head up to Sun Top Lookout for the past few years and finally, this weekend seemed like the perfect time.

I knew it would be a long day and I knew the trip would involve a lot of road walking. But with the heavy snowfall this year I was hoping that there would still be a fair amount of snow left on the road...I didn't want to walk miles and miles of gated dirt road. Well, the snow was melted out more than expected but thankfully there was enough snow higher up that the road didn't suck too bad.

Steve and I arrived at the SnoPark at the end of the gated road (2243') early...around 9am. We were the only car when we pulled in. FYI...they are checking permit. We got back to our car at the end of the day (others had come in after us and didn't have permits) and at least one car had an $80 ticket (the cost of the seasonal pass).

We walked around the gate and immediately headed up road 7315 (which you stay on nearly all the way to the top). The road was mostly melted out. Darn...less snow that I was expecting. The good news is that with no snow we made good time heading uphill. The first few miles of the road it was a mix of bare ground and thin snow.

At about 3 miles (3716') there was finally enough snow to put the snowshoes on. Up and up and up the road we walked. Rd 7315 reaches a saddle and continues down the other side. We headed right (north) for a very short stretch following the road that leads to just below the lookout. Then we picked up the area where the summer trail peels off the road and heads directly uphill (5.04mi/4808'). It was nice...I think we were all looking for a break from the road walking. The least little bit up to the lookout is open to the full sun and what snow is left is getting pretty slushy and rotten. We made it up to the lookout just before 2pm and dropped out packs for a nice late lunch.

Sun Top Lookout has to have one of the best views of Mt Rainier around. The views were absolutely incredible. We didn't linger very long because we still needed to get back to the car. About 2:30pm it was time to leave and we followed Rd 7315 all the way back down to the car. We were back at the car around 5pm.
Sun Top Lookout Slideshow

(click on map to view a larger version)

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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