Clearwater Wilderness

Summit Lake, Clearwater Wildernes, phto by Gary Paull, US Forest Service.Bearhead Mountain is the highest point in this wilderness, towering above Clearwater River headwaters. Old-growth Douglas fir, western red cedar and western hemlock shade the ridges with ferns and mosses forming the understory. Ninety percent of the annual precipitation falls between October and May, and as much as 25 feet of snow often lingers in high elevations until late July. You can expect to see bears, deer, squirrels, skunks, raccoons, marmots and elk. Just to the south lies Mount Rainier National Park.

Summit Lake Trail takes you through the forest 2.5 miles and gradually ascends to the lake. You may see quite a few other people out and about, especially on weekends.

Congress designated the Clearwater Wilderness in 1984 with 14,192 acres managed by Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Clearwater Wilderness borders the Mount Rainier National Park to the south.