Lion Rock on Table Mountain / 桌山上的獅子岩

Lion Rock is part of the long-running Table Mountain range. Although I vaguely remember seeing the peak from Flag Mountain, it didn’t look like a distinct high point. After yesterday’s strenuous outing, I found this new and relaxing hike east of the crest.

Leaving Lion Rock behind
Leaving Lion Rock behind

See more trip photos here.

Lion Rock at a Glance

Access: Table Mountain Road (end of the pavement)
Round Trip: 6 miles
Elevation Range: 5680′-6360′
Gear: none
GPS Track: available

Table Mountain Road

Since I haven’t driven in this area before, it was exciting to explore the new surroundings. The view behind us slowly opened up as we got higher on the winding road. And the expensive Kittitas Valley was gorgeous on this beautiful day. The weather became pretty warm around noon, with the sun on full blast.

The forest service updated its site on 5/8. So Table Mountain Road was going to be impassable half a mile past the 3500/114 junction. But even if we were to stop there, it’d only be a 10-mile walk roundtrip. To my surprise, more snow had melted off since the update. So I was able to drive two more miles to reach the end of the pavement.

See more trip photos here.

A Leisurely Road Walk

I parked by the pavement so that we could get some exercise. But I could have driven farther on gravel. As we were getting ready, a few vehicles came up and then continued uphill. After a quarter of a mile, we came upon the first big snow patch. All the cars turned around here. The view of both Mount Rainier and Mount Adams from the road came as a surprise.

I had read about this being one of the scenic summits where one could drive to or near the top. So it was pleasant not to see motorized vehicles. Snow on the ground this time of the year meant a better chance of getting some quiet time. We soon arrived at the road sign marking the Haney Meadow/Lion Rock junction.

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Lion Rock Summit

From the junction, the .75-mile walk to the summit was mostly muddy. As the snow began to melt out, we could no longer trust it to hold our weight. I found out the hard way by repeatedly punching through to the puddles underneath. So we hiked on the side of the road for the remainder of the approach.

The road took us directly up to the summit. And the first thing that lit up my eyes was the Stuart Range to the northwest. I couldn’t remember the last time we got a clear view of the range from east of Highway 97. Apart from the two volcanoes, the scenery up here was much better than expected!

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Summit Views Plus Outro

Although trees obscured the view to the eastern half of the summit, the real views were on the west side. Stuart Range, Teanaway Backcountry, and Alpine Lakes Wilderness high points dominated the western skyline. Mount Adams was hiding behind the trees.

After an enjoyable stay on the summit, we then walked the roads back to the car.

Thanks for another gorgeous day
Thanks for another gorgeous day

See more trip photos here.

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