Take Highway 410 to the White River Entrance of Mount Rainier National Park. Follow signs to Sunrise. 10.5 miles beyond the entrance station, at the last sharp switchback (sunrise Point), find parking for the Palisades Trail.
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Sourdough Mountains - Palisades Trail Marcus, Palisades, Brown & Slide
The Sourdough Mountains and White River Park in the northeast corner of Mount Rainier National Park gets a bad rap because the trails there don’t have views of Mount Rainier. If that issue wasn’t there, the place would get many more high marks. For peakbaggers, this area offers a full day or two of exploring. There are four highpoints I find of interest just off the trails. Three meet the qualifications for peak status while Brown Peak doesn’t but must be traversed over anyway to reach Slide Mountain. Brown and Slide are doable via trail while Marcus and Palisades are scrambles.
Distance: 5 miles
Summit Elevations: Marcus 6962, Palisades 7066, Slide 6620
Elevation Gain: 3,500+ feet for all
The trail starts with a 300 foot drop down to Sunrise Lake. Follow the trail to Clover Lake and a small pass just beyond. From the pass, plot your off trail route up Marcus Peak. The terrain here is class 2 or 3 so most routes should go fine. From Marcus, drop down the north ridge, then up the south ridge of Palisades Peak. Now drop back down to the saddle between the two and down to Saddle Lake. There is a trail from Saddle Lake down to the Palisades Trail. Follow the Palisades Trail to the west ridge of Brown Peak. Find a trail continuing up the west ridge of Brown Peak to the top. A small trail will continue down the north ridge of Brown and continue all the way until you reach point 6620 (a higher and better location than where Slide Mountain is marked on maps).
The North Rainier Elk Herd
The North Rainier Elk Herd is one of ten herds residing in the State. The elk herd range is north of Mt. Rainier, including Pierce and King counties.
For the most part, North Rainier elk are migratory, spending the summer and early autumn in excess of 7,000 feet in the north portion of Mount Rainier National Park, then descending via river corridors and low passes into the western valleys of the Cedar River, White River and Mashel units as the snow arrives.
Elk below Slide Mountain
Point 6620 from Brown Mountain
Looking west with Grand Park, the big open meadows
Looking south with Mt. Adams on the far right
Looking north from Peak 6620 toward the Snowqualmie Pass peaks with Slide Mountain in the foreground
Mount Rainier from Peak 6620
Looking south from Marcus Peak
From the Palisades
Palisades from near Sunrise Point
Mount Rainer from the Sourdough Mountains