Hiking Trip Report: Summit Lake

Hike Date: 07-29-2017
Distance (Roundtrip): 6 miles
Elevation Gain: 1300 ft
Highest Point: 5802 ft
Summit Lake Hiking Guide

It's hard to believe it's been almost two years since my last hike. I guess life's been busy, and I lost interest in the outdoors. Well, it's hard to stay away for too long! I decided to re-ignite my love for hiking by visiting a trail I had been meaning to hike since winter of 2009. Summit Lake is farther away than where I normally venture, but I've always wanted explore the wilderness around Mt. Rainier. A nice view of the mountain is hard to beat in the summer! Weather conditions were excellent, so it was the perfect day to finally check Summit Lake off the list!

From Seattle, it took about an hour and a half to drive down to the trailhead. After driving all the way down to Carbonado along paved roads and freeways, the turn onto USFS 7810 was rough change. The unpaved road is riddled with deep potholes and climbs steeply for seven miles up to the trailhead. Though cars are able to slowly navigate the dirt road, I highly recommend a high-clearance vehicle! There were plenty of parking spaces when I arrived at 7am. There were a few cars, but I imagine most of them were folks camping over night. There was hardly anybody on the trail.

The trail starts off with a gradual incline up along the mountain north of the parking lot. There are a couple of switchbacks under the shade of the trees and it never really gets too steep. The trail is in good shape, hardly any obstacles and very navigable. There are tree roots overgrown here and there, but nothing too crazy.

At a small, shallow pond, a sign marks the junction to Bearhead Mountain. Heading towards the left, I noticed the bugs started appearing in higher numbers. I'd recommend some bug spray if you don't like bugs flying around your face!

All along the damp areas of the trail, the bear grass is blooming! Continuing further along the southern face of the mountain, the switchbacks stop and the trail turns in to a long straightaway. Breaks in the forest canopy along the way offer sunlit openings with blooming mountain flowers (most of which I don't know the names of) and forest meadows. Glancing south, the very top of Mt. Rainier occasionally peaks through the trees.

After about 2.5 miles, the trail opens up to the meadows surrounding Summit Lake! Here, many overnight backpackers begin their search for an open spot to camp along the basin. The trail loops all the way around the lake, rising and falling along a steep peak on the south side. I followed the trail towards the right, going counter-clockwise around the lake. Here, the trail is very gradual, and mostly shaded by the canopy of the forest.

Further along the west side of the lake, the trail climbs steeper. The views are outstanding! There are several steep cliff-sides offering views of Summit Lake with Mt. Rainier in the background. A few backpackers, who arrived early, were fortunate enough to have their camps set up right along the steep, western ridge!

A steep climb further along leads to the only patch of snow left on Summit Lake. It lies nears the top of the southern peak. After following the trail to the top of the peak, the view of Mt. Rainier is absolutely stunning! On a clear day, like today, the view of the mountain range extends beyond where the eyes can see! The trees, alpine lakes, and mountain ranges surrounding Mt. Rainier add much more to its inherent beauty. If there is an "end" to the trail, it's here. Be sure not to miss it!

The trail descends steeply back to the base of Summit Lake. Slow and steady ensures no injury! With the shade of the forest and the cool water of the lake nearby, the bugs are exceptionally dense here. There were only about three or four campers set up as I made my way back to the main junction. However, as I hiked back down to the trailhead, I ran into about twenty other backpackers hiking up! I arrived at the parking lot at around 11am. By this time, it was jam-packed with cars! I'm glad I came early!

For a hike with no freeway noise, open meadows, mountain views, and an unobstructed view of Mt. Rainier, Summit Lake is the perfect destination! To find some solitude from the crowds, arrive as early as possible.

I'm glad I finally got visit Summit Lake. I'll be sure to make my way back down to Mt. Rainier for more hikes in the future!


A First Attempt at Baking Low-Carb "Bread"

Since summer is approaching, I've been experimenting with a low-carb, ketogenic diet for cutting fat. I'm not sticking to any strict program, just trying to keep my carbohydrates at a minimum while maximizing protein intake.

Keto 101

Now, I'm not here to sell anyone on ketogenic diets or that ketosis is a healthy state to be in. I'll leave the research to the reader. However, here are some articles I found useful regarding the benefits of a ketogenic diet:

I love bread. It's versatile, tasty, and a great source of energy!

However, for someone trying to keep a ketogenic diet, store-bought bread isn't recommended. It's extremely high in carbohydrates, which is one of the main purposes of bread, but should be avoided.

So, what's a bread-lover to do? Is it possible to make decent-tasting, low-carb bread?

Maybe. Here's my crack at it:

Low-Carb "Bread" Recipe


  • 2 ½ Cups Almond Flour
  • 3 Eggs
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • ½ Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut Sugar
  • Coconut Oil for Greasing

Step 0: Preheat the oven to 300° F (150° C)

Step 1: Mix all the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.

Coconut sugar!

Step 2: Whip up the eggs in a separate bowl.

Step 3: Add whipped eggs into dry ingredients and mix with spatula.

Step 4: Grease up any baking pan with coconut oil.

Step 5: Add batter into greased baking pan as evenly as possible (mine is not very even).

Step 6: Set an oven rack to the lowest point and place baking pan on it.

Step 7: Let it bake for roughly 40 minutes.

Occasionally stick a knife into the center of the bread. If it comes out clean, it's done!


It's not the most amazing low-carb bread, but it gets the job done. Texture-wise, it's a little dense compared to normal bread. Taste-wise, it's very nutty due to the almond flour.

Nutrition Facts

Total Servings: 8
Amount per Serving (1/8 Slice):
  • Calories: 217
  • Fat: 18g
  • Total Carbohydrates: 7g
  • Dietary Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 8g

Any recommendations on making low-carb bread? Let me know in the comments!