Explore the most popular Camping trails in Indian Heaven Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Hiked on 11/2/19. Some patches of snow / ice from the start, then about 2 miles in when you start to reach the lakes it’s fully snow and ice covering the trail. Doable at this point with just hiking boots, poles and spikes couldn’t hurt but two of us plus pup made it fine without. Barely saw anyone else up there on a beautiful Saturday. Lakes were frozen over, gorgeous views.

Hiked East crater to pct to Indian heaven trail to Lemei trail, to lemei lake trail to pct to east crater trail; favorite spots bear lake and lemei rock. 10/14/19. 12.36 miles with 1683ft elevation gain Solo. TH has a large parking area with a camp spot right across from the sign that says slow children at play. There are no bathrooms or trash here. You must fill out a self issue wilderness permit to hike here. Forrest road 65 from Carson is paved the whole way and in descent shape (good for all vehicles) there are some potholes farther up the road. Forrest road 60 is a dirt road riddled with washboard and potholes, Forrest road 6035 is a dirt road riddled with potholes and washboard. Lots of pull off camp spots and dirt roads along the way. I believe the PCT junction is on Forrest road 60. Goose lake campground is on FR60 (closed for season) beautiful lake. East Crater trail has a couple of non bridged Creek crossings, lots of mud (boot gulping mud)! Not too many great views of the crater. Ice and snow on trail close to East Crater/PCT junction. Forrested area with some burn area looked like. PCT to Indian Heaven Trail forrested area with a bunch of lakes and ponds. A couple non bridged creek crossings. Bear lake was my favorite on this part of the trail. No snow on trail. Indian Heaven Trail; snow, ice and boot gulping mud on trail. Lemei Trail; mostly covered in snow, ice and mud. Gradual ascent on this side compared to the ascent from the Lemei Trailhead. Views of Lemei rock are also better on this side. At the base of Lemei rock there was a frozen Pond. Didn't need microspikes going up, but used microspikes on the way back just to be safe. I slipped in the mud on the way down from this trail. Lemei lake trail; snow, ice and a lot of mud! Beautiful meadows and a frozen creek on this trail. Most of the trail is water bogged. Good for small children, not handicap accessible. Saw bike, horse and dog tracks. Saw no one on the trail for 8.5 hours. I was first car in the lot and only car in the lot when I returned back to my car.

hiking
muddy
snow
washed out
28 days ago

Awesome trail this time of the year, if you don’t mind walking in mud and perhaps falling a few times into it. We camped on deep lake, on the snow, which is fine. But if you don’t like camping on snow, you might be better off camping in lower altitude such as bear lake, which is a beautiful lake, also.

hiking
muddy
over grown
snow
29 days ago

Hiked Lemei TH to Wapiki Lake to Lemei trail and the viewpoint above the lake Wednesday 10/9/19. If you are using Google maps to get to the Lemei trailhead the directions are wrong, go a little further up the road till you see the Lemei TH sign. Parking is maybe enough for 4 vehicles right after Lemei TH sign. There is no bathroom here or trash. You must fill out a self issue wilderness permit to hike here. Make sure you have a Northwest Forest pass, America The Beautiful Pass or have a day use pass as there is no pay station at this TH. There was a snow storm the day before I went dumping up to 3 inches of fresh powder on the trail in some places. Snow in the lower elevations of the trail started melting out as I was finishing my hike. The TH is across the road from parking area. Lemei Trail to Wapiki lake is a moderate hike. It's 7.26 miles RT if doing the lake only out and back. I would say good for small children. Not handicap accessible. There is a camp spot in between the lake and the pond. Lemei trail is a hard hike. Steep ascent and can be difficult to navigate, make sure you have a map with you. I went up the old trail which has a bunch of debris on trail and down the new trail (by the trail #34 sign there is a turn off). It looked like there was a couple turn offs on trail, but no signs on the lemei trail for as far as I went (to the talus field). Beautiful overlook of the lake on this trail with a dusting of fresh snow. Hiked 1.48 miles on the lemei trail going above the lake. 8.74 miles with 2174ft elevation gain. The road coming in was washboard and had potholes but when I left was re dirted and had very few rough areas. Saw 3 women and 3 dogs on trail.

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

backpacking
rocky
2 months ago

Great trail, fairly popular this time of year still for a Fri/Sat. Initial climb up Indian Heaven Trail from Cultus Campground was hard work for backpacking overnight but better than going up the other side (Cultus Creek TH) in my opinion. Nice viewpoint on a clear sunny day as a reward after your elevation gain. We enjoyed passing the various lakes and found a lovely clear blue lake just off the PCT to camp by and get water. Not as many mushrooms were out this time of year yet as compared to our trip in October last year, but still plenty to take pictures of! Lots of Huckleberries. WTA was working on clearing the Cultus Creek Trail on our way down so the soil was quite loose, plus lots of rocky points going down so it was helpful to have trekking poles. I would rate that part of the loop as more difficult as it was narrow most of the time, difficult terrain with rocks, loose soil, roots, and in a few instances the trail had split into trenches.

Amazing hiking. No bugs at all. A bit “crowded” at the lakes but overall a great trip. Lots of huckleberries. Bear lake was beautiful. Blue lake was amazing tho it was windy!!

Trail was great, people were all kind and respectful. We will be back to do the whole loop. Did just a small portion with my son who’s 8 for a overnighter at Blue lake. Only suggestion is don’t forget your $5 parking fee it’s a hefty ticket if ya do.

Beautiful hike with lots of lakes and ponds. Streams were dry in late August making the few Creek crossings easy. Also, the.mosquitoes weren't too bad.

Ample water sources, well-maintained trails, gorgeous lakes and plenty of camp spots! Not a huge elevation gain so no huge sweeping vistas but made for a very manageable 15-mile hike over 2 days. Bugs were not too bad!

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

Good hike up. Amazing view of the lake...nice trails all around . Lots of mosquitoes I’d suggest some off spray

hiking
bugs
3 months ago

The trail is in great shape and there are still tons of wildflowers. Take your bug spray. The mosquitos are terrible around the lakes.

Our hike started out with a bang, seeing a black bear and her 2 little cubs scramble up a steep bank just before we reached the parking lot. We did a "lollipop" shaped hike, up to Junction Lake, then Lemei, Clear, Deer, Bear Lakes before heading back down the East Crater Trail. The mosquitos were bad and even with DEET reapplication every hour, we still got a handful+ of bites. The landscape was beautiful, with serene little lakes surrounded by lush greens and aster, indian paintbrush and lupine blooms. Watch for pale brown frogs jumping on the trail.

backpacking
bugs
3 months ago

Great hike. Started here and then followed PCT to Bear Lake for overnight camping. Mosquitos were really crazy. We had good spray with high % deet and still have hundreds of bites. Covered body with long sleeve shirts and long pants and still they came. Trail was nice. Easy to follow. Signage was adequate to make sure could find way back. We didn’t bring a dog but saw a few hikers with dogs once got to Indian Heaven. Trail starting at Placid Lake trail through Bear Lake trail could be a little muddy with some standing water in spots but nothing you couldn’t skirt easily. Beautiful hike.

Beautiful mountain meadows with wild flowers and quaint streams, which are intensely infested with mosquitoes (see photos for proof). The hike past Thomas Lake was nice and well-covered in some old growth trees with tolerable bug levels. Getting up to East Crater the bugs increased in density until we neared Junction Lake at which point we decided to turn back despite plans to stay the night in the wilderness.

Went during July and the mosquitoes were out in full force. Went several miles attempting to move past them but it never ended. Maybe will try again during winter but after being bled dry I'll never go back here during summer/fall. Scenery was good, and overall nice trail if you can avoid the bugs.

Trail is 90% plus snow from my first photo continuing to Bear Lake currently. A few campsites have melted out already at Bear Lake and along the short spur trail to Elk Lake. Things to watch out for is the mud from the melting snow, a couple of creek crossings (all can be done without fording) with swift cold water, and a few short sections of steep side hill snow travel along the PCT section.

Attempted to backpack this on June 7th, ‘19 with good weather forecasted. It ended up pouring rain and snowing as we got higher. There was still a significant amount of snow on the ground as well, enough that we started losing the trail as we got higher. The area itself if gorgeous, with lakes small and large to both sides throughout. I think it would make an excellent end of summer backpacking trail, and we will probably attempt it again then.

hiking
5 months ago

My wife (5mo. pregnant) and I did this one today intending on stopping at Deep Lake but instead we made it to Cultus Lake and even that took some navigating on our part. You start to hit a decent amount of snow about 1 mile in and it never clears up. There were time where we completely lost the trail but knowing that we needed to go SSE to get to the lake ultimately helped us out. Take a GPS if you go soon or give it another few warm weeks and the trail should be great. The view of Adams and St. Helens were amazing!

hiking
muddy
snow
5 months ago

We tried this trail yesterday (June 2nd, 2019) and the parking lot was still mostly covered in two feet of snow. After about 15 minutes of searching we finally found the trailhead. At first the trail seemed like it was ok but then about a mile in we lost the trail due to it being covered in 2 - 3 feet of snow. At this point I just gave up being it was my first time there and didn't want to end up lost that far back. Big Disappointment. I did however get some great shots of Mt. Adams from various points so I guess that made the two hour drive not so much of a bust.

Great hike. Best fall colors.

hiking
Sun Sep 30 2018

September 29. Started at Cultis Creek Campground trail #108 and followed loop through trail #33. Spectacular autumn foliage. The huckleberries were vibrant red and you could still find fruit at Deep Lake. Spotted a frog and a snake, lots of birds. Do visit the side trails to other lakes. Deep lake was beautiful. Found the old PCT trail via one of the meadows. Take a photo of the map as a guide.

hiking
Sat Sep 15 2018

A very pleasant hike. Probably the real question about which direction to take is whether you want to hit lakes shortly after the uphill climb (then start on the Indian Heaven trail) or end with lakes just before starting the downhill (then start with the Cultus Creek trail. In any case, this hike is mainly about meadows and lakes with a few good vistas. And this time of year the huckleberries are amazing, the bugs nonexistent, the the colors beautiful. Pay attention to the mushrooms. There are so many varieties, some of amazing size (large and small) and some with brilliant colors. Take the trails to Deep Lake, Lemei Lake, Deer Lake, Wood Lake - you may as well enjoy the lakes. In all but one case, we had the lakes to ourselves.

One of my favorite places to hike Aug-Oct. The first bit is a boring up hill climb, but then you get to great mountain views, lakes and huckleberries. There were still quite a few huckleberries labor day weekend. If you want views I'd recommend following the directions up to Lemei rock. If you prefer lakes, continue on trail 33 to the PCT. Take a left for about 1.6 miles, then left again just before Junction lake on the Lemei Lake trail for 2 miles back to complete the loop and head back to the car. You'll pass 6 lakes and lots of huckleberry meadows on this pretty flat loop. A side trip to Deep Lake is only 0.2miles from Cultus lake and has a nice view of Adams. Not sure why this says no dogs, my two labs came along and had a blast swimming in all the lakes. A stop at Backwoods Brewery in Carson after makes for a perfect day!

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