Mount Aix is the highest peak in a lesser traveled area near Bumping Lake east of Mount Rainier. Aix is a bit east of the crest so the weather there is often better and the snow does melt out earlier. Mount Aix also makes it onto the state prominence list at number 39 with 3,286 feet.
Distance: 6 miles
Summit Elevation: 7,766 feet
Elevation Gain: 4,200 feet
Access: Gravel Road but passable
Cross over Chinook Pass on Highway 410 until the right turn for the Bumping Lake Road. Take it 11 miles to the end of the pavement. Then 2.5 miles to a junction. Stay left and go 1.5 miles to the signed Mt. Aix Trailhead on the left. The last few miles are rocky but regular cars can make it.
The trail switchbacks for several miles up through forests to Nelson Ridge. Now views are open as the trail traverses the ridge toward Mount Aix. This traverse goes up and down a bit. The trail gets close to the summit but a scramblers trail gets you the final way up the west ridge. Other scramble trails are on the north and south ridges.
Mount Aix in route
Bismarck Peak and the Goat Rocks in the distance
Mount Rainier and the west ridge route
Hiking to Mount Aix
Sitting on the summit, view to the east
Northwest from the summit
Pictures: June 6, 1998
This early lookouts first building was a D-6 cupola cabin, built in 1923. That same year it "Reported a fire at the distance of 36 miles." (Six Twenty-Six) "Doubtless, Forest officers who were building the lookout cabin on the summit of Mt. Aix, on the east side of the Rainier, were to busy to enjoy the scenery. At least, the only official contributions from Mt. Aix were ok'd bills of labor, material, and pack-horses, lookout reports, and a verbal comment to the effect that it was 'a blamed hard mountain to climb, and rough country to get into. G.E.G." (Six Twenty-Six, Jan 1924) In December 1924, Six Twenty-Six reported : "Modern ideas for improvements to the Mt. Aix Lookout Station have been suggested to Supervisor Fenby by Lookout Ernest Beeks, who was on duty there last summer. Among other things, Lookout Beeks makes the following recommendations: By way of some slight added improvements about the Lookout Station, should you at any future time contemplate such, and may wish to make it a point of more or ------ attraction, as well as for the convenience, comfort, and ----- of the isolated Lookout man, and also for the pleasure of the visitors who will increase in number each year; I might suggest that with the expenditure of no great sum for cement, an extension of added porch room with concrete floors on the three sides, north, south, and east of house, with a railing surrounding all, which, as stated, I'm sure would be appreciated, not only by the Lookout attendant, but by the enthusiastic mountain climbers, who, during their vacation periods, find a pleasure in exploration of the higher altitudes, and, as you know, a few interested and enthusiastic visitors, become wonderful advertisers. There are also other possibilities which could be brought in connection therewith, such as placing a turbine wheel in the head of Hindoo or Dog Creek, installing a dynamo and generate electricity with which to light and heat the house, and also for cooking purposes, and a powerful searchlight could be placed on top of the building, which could be used for a signal, and could be seen from any point on the Forest of equal altitude, coming in range of sight of the Station. Or, there is more than sufficient wind at most times to generate a million horse power, by even a small wind mill. "
Five years later in July 1929, the lookout person had another idea, " Lookout Edwards, of Mt. Aix, has suggested that the top of our lookout houses be painted white and the name of the peak painted on with large black letters. Not only would this help orientate our flying fire observers, but would serve as a guide for mail or other planes. In case of fog, a lost airman could obtain his bearings if he happens to pass over a lookout. C.O. Lindth". (Six Twenty-Six) Panoramas were taken that year in 1929 as well. The lookout was destroyed in 1961.