location-photo
camera
len
Nikon D850
Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Lens
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High Rock Lookout view of Sawtooth Ridge

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@zachnichols
Experience the soft, golden light of dawn wash over Sawtooth Ridge and the Nisqually River valley at this 5,685 ft. high lookout point. With only a 1.6 mile hike standing between you and this view, we promise it's worth the trek!

Plan

Overview

Skill level

Moderate
Accessbility
Public Location

Hours

Anytime

Fee

Free

Pack

  • Telephoto lens (60mm)
  • Tripod
  • Water
  • Warm jacket
  • Sunscreen
  • Good hiking boots
  • Bug spray

How to get there

N46° 41' 04.3332"W121° 54' 06.0156"
This photo of Sawtooth Ridge was taken at the end of High Rock Lookout Trail, facing northwest toward the ridge.
To get here, park at Towhead Gap using the driving directions below. From the parking area, take trailhead High Rock Lookout Trail 266, from the northwest side of the road. Follow the trail for 1.6 miles — it's a short climb, but is moderately steep, so make sure you're in decent physical shape to tackle this hike. You'll see High Rock Lookout and the historic cabin at the end of the trail. Before reaching the summit, turn back northwest (on the other side of Mount Rainier) to achieve this perspective.
Driving directions:
- 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 this way. 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.

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