hikes

September 25, 2016

Indian Heaven: Deep Lake

One night backpacking trip in Indian Heaven Wilderness

Total distance: 15.8 miles with 2,900 ft gain

Day One

HIKE IN
(2.5 miles, 1,135 ft. elevation gain)

We began our hike in on the Indian Heaven Trail #33. The trailhead is located in the Cultus Creek campground’s day use area. The first mile is all forested and quite steep.

Indian Heaven Wilderness backpacking

trailhead wilderness permit sign-in

Indian Heaven backpacking

forested trail

At one mile in, a big opening on a rocky ridge has views towards Mount Adams, Goat Rocks and Mount Rainier. The next mile is forested again, and less steep, but still climbing.

Indian Heaven backpacking

Sawtooth Mountain and Mount Rainier from the viewpoint

Indian Heaven Wilderness backpacking

Goat Rocks in the distance

Indian Heaven Wilderness backpacking

Mount Adams

At about 2.3 miles in, a side trail goes to Deep Lake. We found a nice campsite above the lake. When we arrived, there was only one other group camping in the area. The sky was clear and blue, and we could see Mount Adams peeking over the trees above the lake. From our campsite, we could see Mount Rainier through the trees.

Indian Heaven backpacking

side trail to Deep Lake

Indian Heaven Wilderness backpacking

Deep Lake with Mount Adams

Indian Heaven Wilderness backpacking

campsite above the lake

Indian Heaven Wilderness backpacking

Deep Lake and Bird Mountain

DAY HIKE: LAKES BASIN
(6.2 miles with 912 ft. elevation gain)

After we set up camp, we went on a day hike around the lakes basin. Back on trail #33, we took the Lemei Lake trail south to Junction Lake, then took the PCT back north to the Indian Heaven trail #33 and our campsite. The Lemei Lake trail passed through meadow after meadow, filled with huckleberries and grasses. The PCT portion of the hike is through forest, with lakes seen below the trail through the trees.

Indian Heaven backpacking

trail marker

Indian Heaven Wilderness backpacking

fall color along Lemei Lake trail

Indian Heaven Wilderness backpacking

Lemei Lake

Indian Heaven backpacking

open meadows along the Lemei Lake trail

huckleberries

huckleberries

Indian Heaven backpacking

occasionally, the trail would go through open grassy areas

Indian Heaven backpacking

red color on huckleberries

Indian Heaven backpacking

subalpine splendor

Indian Heaven backpacking

Junction Lake, with East Crater on the right

Indian Heaven backpacking

handmade sign on the PCT

Indian Heaven backpacking

Bear Lake on the PCT

Indian Heaven backpacking

rockslide near Clear Lake

Indian Heaven Wilderness backpacking

Clear Lake

When we returned back to camp, we discovered that at least three more groups of people were camping, including two families with kids and dogs. For a short time, it sounded more like we were at a campground than backpacking, but everyone was having a good time and quieted down as it got dark. At sunset, I walked around the meadows behind our campsite to take photos, and then watched sunset’s pink streaks in the sky over the lake before going to bed.

Indian Heaven Wilderness backpacking

darker blue color of Deep Lake just before sunset

indian-heaven-backpacking-08

our campsite at Deep Lake

Indian Heaven Wilderness backpacking

sunset at Deep Lake

Day Two

DAY HIKE: LEMEI ROCK & VIEWPOINT ABOVE LAKE WAPIKI
(4.3 miles with 768 ft. elevation gain)

After breakfast, we did a day hike to Lemei Rock and the viewpoint above Lake Wapiki. The huckleberries were in brilliant shades of yellow, red and purple, and the berries were ripe and delicious.

Indian Heaven Wilderness backpacking

Cultus Lake

Indian Heaven Wilderness backpacking

Lemei Trail, not to be confused with the Lemei Lake Trail, this one leads to Lemei Rock and Lake Wapiki

Indian Heaven Wilderness backpacking

huckleberries were everywhere! and ripe! and delicious!

Indian Heaven Wilderness backpacking

approaching Lemei Rock

Indian Heaven Wilderness backpacking

Lemei Rock

Indian Heaven Wilderness backpacking

Lake Wapiki

Indian Heaven Wilderness backpacking

Lemei Rock

HIKE OUT
(2.5 miles with 1,184 ft. elevation loss)

After our hike, we broke camp, packed up and hiked out.

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