Length: 8.6 Miles round trip
Elevation Change: 1700' Cumulative Elevation gain
Season: Summer thru Fall
Permit: NW Forest Pass Required
Click for PDF Topo Map of this Hike
Here is another outstanding hike in the
Indian Heaven Wilderness. The hike begins
at the Cultus Creek Campground off Forest
Road #24. The trail is very steep right
out of the gate and continues that way
for about a mile. There are some well
placed switchbacks that make the elevation
gain quite tolerable. Most of this
part of the hike is in dense forest.
At about a mile, at the corner of one
of the switchbacks, you will come out
onto an opening with absolutely incredible
views of Mt Adams, the Goat Rocks, and
Mt Rainier. Then its back into the forest
for another mile. As the trail gains
elevation it is more and more in the open.
At about 2.25 miles you will come to the
junction of Trail #33A which leads to
Continue on straight ahead passing
Cultus Lake to your left. The trail
reaches its highest point just past
the lake at the junction to Trail #34.
Keep straight ahead on Trail #33 as
you begin to lose elevation.
In about a half mile you will pass
the junction to Trail #179, and then
you will come to Clear Lake. After
this lake you will come to the junction
of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT #2000).
Bear left and follow the PCT south.
Soon you will pass Deer Lake on your
right. It is just a short walk to the
lake, then back on the trail. In about
a half mile you will come to the junction
of Trail #176 which leads to Elk Lake.
Bear right and follow this trail past
Bear Lake. If you have time, explore
the north side of the lake before
returning to the trail and heading for
It is only about a half mile to Elk
Lake. The trail is basically level
and mostly in dense forest. When you
arrive at Elk Lake take time to
explore the south and western shores.
Return to the trail head via the same
route you used to get to Elk Lake.