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Pets allowed
Yes
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
6.80 mi (10.94 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Indian Heaven Wilderness is a truly special place. Native American tribes met here annually for almost 10,000 years to gather the plentiful huckleberries, fish in more than 150 small lakes that dot the region, hunt, trade, race horses, and celebrate together. Through a rare handshake agreement in 1932 by the Yakima Nation and the Forest Service, the Sawtooth Berry Fields on the north end of the wilderness are only accessible by local tribes.

The area is generally snow free by mid-July, but summer mosquito swarms keep the area known as a “mosquito heaven.” Fall is a much better season to hike here due to the abundance of huckleberry and heather that that turn brilliant shades of red and orange in late autumn.

This hike begins at the south end of the Cultus Creek campground near a sign for “Indian Heaven Trail No. 33 Parking Area.” The first 1.5 miles of trail steeply climb up the side of Bird Mountain through thick Douglas fir forest. After about a mile, an opening in the ridge offers outstanding views of Mount Adams to the east, with Mount Rainier, Goat Rocks, and Sawtooth Mountain visible to the north. The trail levels out near the base of Bird Mountain and proceeds through several sections of pine forest and open meadow before reaching the splendid alpine beauty of Cultus Lake. A short side trail just before Cultus Lake leads to Deep Lake.

At the trail junction past Cultus Lake, turn left on the Lake Wapiki Trail and continue just over a mile through several open meadows with stands of noble and Pacific silver fir to Lemei Rock, an ancient volcanic crag and the highest point in the wilderness. Go past Lemei Rock and through an uphill wooded area to an opening with a view down toward Lake Wapiki, a bright blue lake that sits in an old cinder cone. Views of Mount Adams dominate to the east. You can continue another mile to the lake, or turn around and return the same way.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

NW Forest Pass

Pros

Fall color. Alpine meadows. Lakes. Mountain views.

Cons

Mosquitoes in July.

Trailhead Elevation

4,020.00 ft (1,225.30 m)

Net Elevation Gain

1,500.00 ft (457.20 m)

Features

Backcountry camping
Big vistas
Old-growth forest
Geologically significant

Location

Field Guide + Map

Nearby Adventures

Indian Heaven Wilderness
Mt. Adams/Indian Heaven Wilderness/Goat Rocks, Washington
Mt. Adams/Indian Heaven Wilderness/Goat Rocks, Washington

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Mt. Adams/Indian Heaven Wilderness/Goat Rocks, Washington
Southwest Washington/Mount St. Helens, Washington
Mt. Adams/Indian Heaven Wilderness/Goat Rocks, Washington

Comments

09/27/2016
We camped out at Cultus Creek and did the 16.5 mile Indian Heaven Wilderness Lakes Hike.....Such Amazing Fall Colors!!!!!
07/08/2015
Loved this hike!
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