Once again the Washington Cascades score big. Every time we head up into Washington to hike or ride I am totally blown away with how great it is. Don’t get me wrong, the Oregon Cascades are spectacular, but like I have said numerous times, there is just something about the Washington Cascades that I totally love.
This was our first time heading up into the Indian Heaven Wilderness for a hike. We wanted something with a lake for Codi, and I wanted to check out this area for some potential backpacking. If you clicked on the link above, you read that there are literally dozens of lakes within the Indian Heaven Wilderness. A couple of them are super popular mostly because they are close to a trailhead which means even relatively lazy people will make the trek. Doing a little research on WTA.org I found reference to Wapiki Lake which was not that difficult of a hike, but wasn’t one of the more often visited. Codi has had a slight limp from playing around with some of his canine friends, the goals was a decent hike, but something that wouldn’t totally grind him up.
It wasn’t a bad drive to Trout Lake from Hillsboro. We hit up Grand Central Bakery on Cornell before taking off. If Mia and I get our wishes granted they will plop one down in Hillsboro before too long (but I digress)….So after driving out to Trout Lake and then following Forest Road 24 for 5 miles, we hit up the Lemei Trail. It is only 3.5 miles from the start to the lake. The elevation gain was right around 1500′ too, but never super steep. For the most part it is just a constant and gradual uphill all the way. There are a couple short steep sections and several winding switchbacks too.
Temps were in the low 60’s to start but we had totally clear sky. We maxed out at just over 5200′ and there was a bit of a cool breeze. The bugs were a bit of a pain, but the Ranger at the Mt. Adams ranger station said they were much better than about 2-3 weeks ago. From what I have read, late August and September are the prime times to be up here. I even found a couple ripe huckleberries to eat on the side of the trail too. A bit blueberry like if you ask me.
In just about 3.2 miles we hit the short side trail off Lemei Trail to Wapiki Lake. I think it took maybe 10 minutes to hit the lake from the intersection.
Up until this point we had only seen a father and two small kids hiking out. Definitely my idea of a good hike. Nothing like Franconia Ridge or any waterfall hike in the gorge on a Sunday.
It’s not very big, it’s not very deep either (at least close to shore it stays shallow). It was very cold and Codi was totally psyched to swim and chase sticks. Mia and I kept him entertained and we had a bit of a lakeside snack.
There a several established campsites around the lake. We found 3 without trying very hard and there where more on the far shore since we met a couple coming from that way who had just spent the night.
I’m adding this area to a “must do” overnight. However, I think I want to wait a bit and let the bugs die down some more. This could make a decent part of a 2-3 night loop through the area and it wouldn’t be difficult to spend each night at a different lake.
That’s about it for now.
Thanks for reading,