Sunrise Point


Clear Sky Clock

Location:

Three miles before Sunrise Lodge, on the NE side of Mt. Rainier. Elevation 6030’. Driving time from Tacoma is about 2 hours, if one avoids rush hour traffic through Bonney Lake, Buckley & Enumclaw.


Directions:

Take Hwy 410 east from Tacoma or west from Cayuse or Chinook Passes. From Tacoma, you go through Greenwater, past Crystal Mtn. Blvd., then turn at the first right after entering the Park, maybe 5 mi. from the park entrance. Follow the road through the pay station at the Sunrise/White River entrance to the Park. If you go in after the rangers stop manning the pay station, maybe 6PM, just go around the toll booth and into the Park. Continue on the only road in town. After you pass the entrance to the road (on left) to White River Camp Ground and cross White River the road begins serious climbing up the side of the White River drainage. Be careful of wildlife on the road after dark. Go through two distinct switchbacks and changes of direction, as well as a number of lesser curves. You eventually make a ridge line, where the road makes a hairpin curve to the left. Inside the angle of the hairpin is a parking lot, surrounded by a low stone wall. The parking lot is the place. If arriving after dark on a summer night you might turn off your headlights as soon as you come up on the stone wall on your left, in case people are in the lot, looking up.


Site Description:

Since the site is a bit on the east side of Mt. Rainier the sky is significantly darker than the other side of the mountain. Except where the mountain looms to the SW, the horizons are fairly low.

Roomy parking lot, asphalt surface. Spectacular view in all directions, well worth enjoying at sunrise or sunset. At night you can see headlamps of ropes of climbers on the mountain, and in the morning before the air heats up you can scope them out, silhouetted against the snow. I have seen deer, elk and mountain goats from the parking lot, as well as smaller critters and all varieties of birds. Coyotes occasionally sing at night. Unfortunately there are no toilets or running water. Bring warmer clothes than you would think necessary, because you are up high and a bit of wind can really suck the heat out of the air. It’s no problem to bring a cot or lawn chair and a sleeping bag and just sack out in the parking lot when the time is right. I promise, if you don’t bring a sleeping bag it’ll be too cold.

Thanks to Mike for suggesting the site and providing the site description!

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Last Updated: 1/6/08