Teetering at 5,685 feet over a canyon and offering incredible, straight-on views of Mount Rainier, this lookout summit along Sawtooth Ridge is one of the premiere places in Washington to take a sunrise hike.
Zoom lens (24mm)
Good hiking boots
How to get there
N46° 41' 03.624"W121° 54' 06.3828"
I took this photo of Mount Rainier from the top of High Rock Lookout. To get here, park at Towhead Gap (46.666388, -121.891609) using the driving directions below.
From the parking area, take trailhead High Rock Lookout Trail 266, from the northwest side of the road. Reference the GPS coordinates and follow the trail for 1.6 miles — it's a short, but moderately steep, climb so make sure you're in decent physical shape to tackle this hike.
Once you've reached the summit, you'll see an old lookout cabin from 1929 perched over a giant slab of rock, with 360 degree views around the valley! I posed my model on the edge directly facing northeast towards Mount Rainier.
- From Elbe, about 40 miles south of Tacoma along State Route 7, follow SR-706 east for 10.1 miles
- When you pass Ashford, drive approximately two miles
- Turn right on Kernahan Road, and follow for 1.4 miles
- Continue on Skate Creek Road for 3.3 miles
- Turn onto FR-84, a smooth dirt road (note that the sign for FR-84 is not visible when approaching the trailhead)
- Continue on this road for 6.5 miles
- Stay right at the forks onto Road 8440
- After 2.6 miles, the road levels off and gets broad enough to park a dozen or more vehicles. This is Towhead Gap — park here, at elevation 4320 feet
Get more with
Learn more about the locations and
how to get the best pictures including:
Best times to go
Current weather conditions and times around twilight