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U.S. Forest Service

Pacific Northwest Region Viewing Area


yellow flowers and Indian paintbrush flowers on Tatoosh Ridge.

yellow flowers on Tatoosh Ridge.

white flowers on Tatoosh Ridge.

Photos by Joe Kulig.

Tatoosh Ridge

Forest: Gifford Pinchot National Forest

District: Cowlitz Valley Ranger District

Description: Tatoosh Ridge is a spectacular alpine ridge overlooking Mt. Rainier reached only after a 4-5 mile hike which gains approximately 3000 ft. in elevation.  The hike is arduous (some say brutal), but when the lover of wildflowers reaches the alpine meadows near the ridgeline, sore calf muscles and thirst will give way to awe and joy.  In late July and August, the slopes of Tatoosh Ridge are a carpet of brilliant hued wildflowers: blue lupine, lavender flox, orange speckled Columbia lily, red columbine, magenta paint brush, white valerian and bear grass (to name just a few), with pink and yellow monkeyflowers thickly mounded along the edges of clear flowing seeps, contrasting brightly with groups of small, powder blue butterflies that cluster on the dampened soil. From the ridge top, on a clear day you will see the bright white glaciers of Mt. Rainier’s south flank, the flattened cone of Mt. St. Helens to the southwest, the looming bulk of Mt. Adams to the southeast, and, if you are lucky, you may even see the tip of Mt. Hood in Oregon, far to the south.

Directions: From Randle, Washington, take US Hwy 12 east to USFS Road 52 (also known as Skate Creek Road, located in Packwood). Follow USFS Road 52 to USFS Road 5270, which will take you to the trail head, which is on the right.

Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Cowlitz Valley Ranger District. For more information about this wildflower viewing site, visit the Cowlitz Valley Ranger Station, Gifford Pinchot National Forest, 10024 US Hwy 12, Randle, Washington, or call the station, at (360) 497-1100.  You may also visit the Gifford Pinchot National Forest website.

Closest Town: Randle, Washington.