Wilderness: Tatoosh

 

A map depicting trails in the Tatoosh area within the Cowlitz Valley vicinity.

Tatoosh area general map in the Cowlitz Valley Vicinity.  Sites include:  
Backbone Lake Trail #164
Blue Hole Trail #167
Grant Purcell Falls Trail #162A
La Wis Wis Campground
River View Trail #162

Tatoosh Lake Trail #161B
Tatoosh Lookout Trail #161A
Tatoosh Trail #161

Area Status: Open
This area is Open
 

Tatoosh Wilderness

The 15,725 acre Tatoosh Wilderness shares a portion of Mount Rainier National Park's southern boundary. The long rugged Tatoosh Ridge runs north-south out of the park to cross the Wilderness near the middle. The top of Tatoosh Ridge (6,310 feet) provides views in all directions and is the former site of a fire lookout built in 1932. About 25 feet of snow falls on the ridge during the winter, dusting a half-dozen small lakes.

Numerous streams cascade off the ridges into the Muddy Fork of the Cowlitz River or into Butter Creek, both of which funnel down to the Cowlitz River south of the Wilderness. Deer and elk winter along the Muddy Fork, and migrate into higher country in warmer seasons. Black bears may be seen foraging in the forest of hemlock, fir, and red cedar, and mountain goats live in the upper elevations. 

The Tatoosh Range was used historically by Taidnapam (Upper Cowlitz) Indians. In mid-to-late August, Taidnapam families would climb up the ridge from fishing camps at the confluence of the Muddy Fork and Clear Fork Cowlitz Rivers, to hunt, gather materials for making baskets, and pick huckleberries for drying. The dried berries were transported to home villages for eating during the winter months. Archaeological evidence suggests that these high country treks were a long tradition among the local Indian people.

The 8.6-mile Tatoosh Trail climbs steeply up Tatoosh Ridge but then  flattens out substantially for a long descent off the ridge top and down through subalpine meadows that contain wildflowers in summer months. There is a view of Mount Rainier to the north. Side trails will take you to Tatoosh Lakes and the site of the historic Tatoosh Lookout. Note: Camping, fires, and stock are not allowed beside the fragile wilderness lakes within the Tatoosh Lakes Basin.


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At a Glance

Current Conditions: 07/29/2014: The trail is mostly snow free with the exception of a snow field between the lakes trail junction and the lookout trail junction.
Restrictions:
  • Wilderness Regulations Apply.
  • Camping and campfires are PROHIBITED within Tatoosh Lakes Basin.
  • Pack and Saddle stock are PROHIBITED on the Tatoosh Lakes Trail #161B due to the steep grades and poor condition of the trail. Stock are prohibited within Tatoosh Lakes Basin.
Closest Towns: Randle, WA
Information Center: Cowlitz Valley Ranger District

General Information

Directions:

Tatoosh Wilderness shares the southern boundary of Mt. Rainier National Park and is located just north of Packwood, WA and northwest of US-12.

Trails/Trailheads that access Tatoosh Wilderness

Other Trails within Tatoosh Wilderness

Topo Maps

Ohanapecoch Hot Springs, Tatoosh Lakes, Wahpenayo Peak. Download free U.S. Forest Service Topo maps.

Buy Maps Online

Buy the Goat Rocks Wilderness & Tatoosh Wilderness Map online at the National Forest Store.

Wilderness.net 

Go to Wilderness.net for online maps and other important Wilderness information.


Activities


Hiking

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Horse Riding & Camping

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Nature Viewing

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