Explore the most popular camping trails in Gifford Pinchot National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Have done this twice: last year in late June I did the loop and this year (while hiking PCT) I just went straight through Coyote Trail. It’s beautiful, but there is a lot of loose rock, meaning sketchy footing, meaning constantly calculating each step in order to not fall or skid down a steep cliff to critical injury. The trail is easy enough to follow, but not used enough or maintained enough for it to remain flat, so some slopped parts offer more obstacles. If you’re confident in your footing and not afraid of height, do it!!

Road in and trail are in good shape. Other than 1 rotten tree down near the lake it’s a hike just about anyone can do. Can see why it’s one of the most used trails in the area. Lots of campsites and a few facilities once you get to the lake. Definitely is the flattest 1500 feet of elevation I’ve ever climbed lol. For the middle of October it was some great weather. Low 60s and lots of sun.

This was by far my favorite hike of 2018. Challenging, beautiful, fun and plenty to see. Went of trail to get behind and underneath some waterfalls, but nothing too crazy!

As long as you don't expect grand views of the neighboring sites the walk to Lake Packwood was very nice.

horseback riding
17 days ago

We rode the loop, Muddy Meadows to PCT to Killen Creek... I wouldn't recommend Muddy Meadows by itself, at least not the section we did as there are no real views once you get away from the trailhead and it's just a lot of steep climbing. Totally worth it to do the loop though!

Beautiful trail to backpack in the fall. The leaves are vibrant and less people on the trail!

Incredible views and an incredible hike.

Absolutely stunning views, especially of the local snow-capped peaks to the southeast of Goat Lake and the valley to the south, as viewed from the section of the trail before arriving at Goat Lake (travelling clockwise). It's a long day hike, taking us more than 6 hours, but well worth it. One of my best hikes ever!

We took our kids Labor Day weekend. The water was low enough that the kids could cross without getting their shoes all wet. It was relatively short hike, the lake was beautiful, and the kids loved all the little frogs.

Great Trail..

absolutely amazing. spend a night if you can. after seeing the beauty went back to car, drove to walupt lake. put on backpack. hiked up nannie ridge trail, night at sheep lake and then back through cispus pass to snow grass. camping in cispus would be amazing but sheep lake was awesome as well. if coming from snowgrass hike to sheep lake for night. then back to snowgrass but follow pct to snow peak. that way you will see it all.

lots of people but great entry level backpacking

Amazing hike with some awesome camping sites surrounding the lake. Just got back and we had absolutely no problems with mosquitoes or flies. Went up on a Friday and there were only a handful of people at the lake. We will be going back to this gem. Can’t beat the views at the top either.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked to Lost Lake via Packwood Lake Trail #78 Sunday of Labor Day Weekend for an overnighter. 20 miles RT (counting a 4 mile RT to the Old Lookout above Lost Lake), with 4216ft elevation gain including Old Lookout that took 5hrs to Lost Lake.

As expected, the parking lot was packed and started a second parking row. Arrived and on the trail by 9am. Arrived at the Packwood Lake in 1.5 hrs, had a snack and continued on Packwood Lake Trail #78 UP 4 miles to Lost Lake. This section is step climbing approx. 2500 ft. Mosquito Lake is overgrown by brush and not really suitable to stay, however there is a nice campsite next to it. Afterward there is a nice meadow with the first views of the Goat Rocks. From there the Junction of Coyote Trail #79 is just ½ mile and Lost Lake is another ½ mile after that. I arrived at Lost Lake at 2:15pm.

I made camp, had lunch and left for a 2 mile side trip up to the Old Lookout site above Lost Lake. Left at 3:30 and arrived at 5pm. Beautiful. There is a 360 degree view including Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, The Goat Rocks, Old Snowy and the White Pass ski lifts. Spent 30 minutes up there and headed back. Made it back by 6:30pm.

From the Old Lookout, down to Lost Lake and to the Junction of Coyote Trail #79 is part of the detour of the PCT around the Miriam Fire near White Pass.

Lost Lake had a lot of people, and some sites were open. There are at least 6 sites with lake access, maybe more. 2 were open. The water level at Lost Lake was VERY LOW, about 12-15 ft below years past. There are more camp sites available, however they don’t have lake access, but a seasonal stream is nearby. They are about ½ mile past the lake.

Going down the next day was quick and took 3.5 hrs vs 5 hrs going in. Tough hike after Packwood Lake but easy starting and finishing. Lost Lake is beautiful and a peaceful place to camp with no bugs this trip anyway. Well worth the effort!

Whoever said this hike isn’t strenuous and is good for any skill level is trolling you. There is 1200 feet of elevation gain in the first 1.5 miles if you go clockwise from Berry Patch (or a terribly steep descent at the end of your hike if you’re coming from Snowgrass Flat). The ascent is pretty relentless until you reach the ridge, so I wouldn’t recommend it for brand new backpackers or anyone who isn’t in decent shape. Going out and back from Snowgrass Flat to Goat Lake would be an easier hike for those who can’t handle Goat Ridge.

Went Sept 2-3. Parking lot was overflowing but we didn’t encounter throngs of people until we hit Goat Lake (also saw goats!). I counted 20-25 tents around the lake. Other than the view, I don’t understand the appeal of camping there- it’s overcrowded, cold, and totally exposed to the elements. Found a better spot below the tree line. Didn’t encounter many people on the hike back and the parking lot was nearly empty— weekdays are definitely the way to go!

Spectacular hike, perfect weather (it gets cold at night- bring layers), no bugs, and still a few wildflowers in bloom.

7/22/18 - Trail is well groomed, road is good except for a small gravel portion, which was not bad. Expect for people to drive really slow specially if it's a small vehicle or minivan. A bit of advice - Never go on a Sunday, specially if it's a hot day. Lower Lewis was packed cars parked on both sides of the road with more behind us. We decided to skip Lower and went to Middle then went up to Upper, there was no more then 20 people at either. Happy travels!

Beautiful Scenery and a great loop hike.

backpacking
1 month ago

A couple friends and I did this loop and added Old Snowy and Hawkeye Point onto it. Incredible views of Adams, as well as Rainier, Helens, and even Hood in the distance. We did the loop clockwise from berry patch trailhead over two days, camping at goat lake overnight from August 31-September 1. Didn’t see a single mosquito, probably because it was a little cooler, but comfortable hiking weather. The hiking itself is not strenuous and any incline feels very doable for any skill level, nothing technical. We were each carrying packs that were about 35-40 lbs. The views of Adams are just incredible. The whole hike above the tree line is basically worthy of a postcard from any direction you look. Stop to eat huckleberries in the meadows, and enjoy idyllic views of mountain goats grazing on the cliffs and marmots scrambling around in the meadows. I recommend planning a trip during off-peak traffic times so you can get a good camping spot at goat lake to watch the clouds settle in the valley in the evening and wake up to an incredible view of Adams in the morning. I strongly recommend adding Old Snowy onto your loop. It’s an extra 5 miles that felt like 2-3, and despite the elevation gain of about 2000 feet was surprisingly easy (I dropped my pack at the turn off and enjoyed a packless ascent up Old Snowy). It’s worth the effort to enjoy getting above the ridges and seeing numerous others peaks and into other basins and valleys. At a minimum tack on Hawkeye for a similar, view as Old Snowy. I recommend this hike to anyone starting at even the most basic skill and generally healthy fitness level. Oh, and fun to interact with some thru hikers on a little bit of the PCT.

backpacking
1 month ago

Great 2 night trip. Bugs were not a problem. Lots of other people around but there are plenty of campsites if you dont insist on being at the lake. Roads have a lot of washboard but if you drive a reasonable speed any car can handle them without issue.

I've been in the lower falls..
no words can describe how beautiful it is... Amazing...

backpacking
2 months ago

Trail is maintained well and we found lots of spots near the lake. Bugs weren’t much of a problem (August 19). Total burn ban is in effect so no camp fires. Great for a 1-night backpack.

backpacking
2 months ago

Great hike! Awesome payoff! Went in using the actual hiking trail, easy and clear except for a few horse pies!

Quite a drive up to the start of the trail, about 18 washouts on the gravel road. We got up in our Toyota Corolla going slow. Beautiful forest with flowers and mushrooms to investigate. The trail is used by dirt bikers as well and makes a deep U shape in parts. The view was breathtaking!!

Just did this trail because we were routed off the PCT due to fire. Parts of this trail are beautiful but there was too much loose gravel for me to really enjoy it.

great hike. Wife is a beginner but had great time. Lush wood made for cool hiking

Non technical trail aside from bee dodging. Great serene sounds of creaks and wind through the trees.

Dislike: too many horses and unfortunately I’m allergic. Plus their sound disturbs bee nests, best not to walk to close behind them.

Beautiful!

Beautiful place

Went off hours, late afternoon on a weekday, and had the place almost to myself. Can get packed on weekends.

As a follow-up to the review by PhLo S just below...my group went August 10-12. There were some flies and mosquitoes at the lower elevations, but nothing close to plague-level. As a precaution we wore long sleeve shirts and long pants, with the option to wear head nets. While hiking these precautions weren't really needed, but during rest stops the bugs can get annoying. The views at the upper elevations are amazing. This was one of the best hikes I have been on.

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