Mount Fremont Lookout Trail via Sourdough Ridge Trail 1,108ft elevation 5.7mi

Mount Fremont Lookout Trail via Sourdough Ridge Trail 1,108ft elevation 5.7mi

Within the picturesque landscapes of Mount Rainier National Park there is the Mount Fremont Lookout Trail via Sourdough Ridge. This is a stunning hike offering breathtaking views and maybe even some unexpected encounters with nature.  

Setting off on a late afternoon adventure in late July the journey commenced. The initial stretch of the hike proved to be a feast for the eyes, with clear skies and panoramic vistas stretching for miles. The first three miles unfolded seamlessly, with the trail bathed in sunlight and the surrounding landscape offering plenty for the eye.

A selfie overlooking the view of the valley and mountain  Vast valley with mountains in the background and a view of the mountain goats in the valley  

However, as I ascended further, I found myself enveloped in a mystical veil of clouds. While this obscured the panoramic views typically associated with the Mount Fremont Lookout, it added a touch of enchantment to the experience. Despite the lack of visibility, the ethereal dance of clouds swirling around the lookout imparted a sense of awe.

A rocky trail with clouds covering the view

One of the highlights of this journey was an unexpected encounter with a herd of mountain goats I saw long before far down in the valley. First hearing the click-clack of their walking on the rocky terrain, I looked up to find myself negotiating the narrow path with a rock cliff to the right and a crumbly rock drop-off to the left. I found myself momentarily trapped before they gracefully continued on their journey down the crumbly rock, as they're better equipped for this terrain than I. 

Mountain goats on the Rocky Mountain side  Mountain goats on the Rocky Mountain side

As the trail ascended towards the summit, the temperature dropped significantly, reminding me of the importance of dressing appropriately. Despite being underdressed, I found solace in the invigorating chill.

Throughout the journey, I had a few encounters with fellow hikers that added to the sense of camaraderie and shared adventure. While the trail saw a steady flow of visitors in its initial stages, the solitude of the later miles offered an escape, allowing me to reflect in the clouds on a deeper level.

Reflecting on this experience, I do have a desire to return on a clear day, eager to witness the panoramic views I have seen shared by others from the Mount Fremont Lookout. Yet, even amidst the clouds, the beauty of the journey remains undiminished.

Standing in front of a fire tower with a cloud full sky behind it
Standing on the lookout overlooking nothing but white cloud

If you are seeking an adventure that combines natural beauty, wildlife encounters, and a touch of mystery in the sky, the Mount Fremont Lookout Trail via Sourdough Ridge I would recommend. Whether bathed in sunlight or shrouded in clouds, this trail offers a great glimpse into the untamed wilderness of Mount Rainier National Park.

-Blaine Ford


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