Trail Description Distance, round-trip: Approximately 19 road miles + 15.5 trail miles = 34.5 miles Elevation gain: 1500 feet on the trail itself + much more on the road Hiking time, round-trip: Approximately 12.5 hours on road + 10 hours on trail = 22.5 hours Wilderness camps: Golden Lakes Camp This area of fifteen or more small lakes was so named because of the golden sunset colors reflected from the lakes' surfaces. The length of this hike, however, makes it a two-day experience. The hike begins gently by following an abandoned dirt road for the first 2.75 miles. From the end of the old road the trail is relatively level at first, then climbs steeply out of the valley into Sunset Park. Atop the ridge in the silver forest the trail peaks, then gradually descends .8 mile to Golden Lakes. Along the Trail Created by a rampant fire in 1930, the area of Sunset Park known as the Silver Fores5t remains a picturesque land of silver snags.
The meadows of Sunset Park are abundant with wildflowers in mid-summer and are host to black bears foraging on the plentiful supply of huckleberries early in the fall. Spectacular views await hikers who choose to explore this trail! Trailhead Location One mile east of the Nisqually Entrance is the Westside Road junction. Turn here and continue up the Westside Road to where it ends (approximately 3 miles from the start of the road). Hike up the closed portion of the road to the trailhead (approximately 9.5 miles to the old road's end). The trailhead can be located at the upper end of what was the parking area. Backpacking Some of the campsites at Golden Lakes provide good views and easy access to the lakes. An historic ranger cabin is located near the camp. Permits are required for camping. Permits and current trail conditions are available park-wide from Wilderness Information Centers, Ranger Stations, and Visitor Centers. Fires are prohibited. No pets on trails. Treat water before drinking.