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Junction Lake via East Crater Trail

MODERATE 12 reviews
#7 of 16 trails in

Junction Lake via East Crater Trail is a 4.9 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Stevenson, Washington that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and backpacking and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 4.9 miles Elevation Gain: 741 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash



nature trips





This is an easy in-and-out hike to Junction Lake from the east boundary of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The Indian Heaven Wilderness area is a few miles south of Mt Adams. The Pacific Crest Trail passes through and there are a number of other smaller trails, loops and lakes to visit. It's an easy elevation gain with a well-developed trail and no steep drop-offs. Even smaller children should be fine with this hike. For this hike, one can camp at Forlorn Lake at a fairly primitive campground. Users have reported that the road leading to the trailhead is closed from Dec 1 to April 1. This walk starts at the East Crater Trailhead where you need to register for the hike. There is a limit of 12 humans and animals per party. There is no fee and no designated parking -- just a wide spot in the road. A small but prominent sign marks the trail. Sadly, you get no vistas of the East Crater or even Mt. Adams. Bring water! In late July there was no flowing water. The lake water is clear and could likely be drank after boiling/treatment. There are lots of mosquitoes! Use repellent.

3 months ago

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.

Mon Sep 03 2018

Nice easy hike. We continued to a beautiful Bear lake which is only 1.5 km from the Junction lake.

Wed Aug 29 2018

I went with Lisa. see the review below

Tue Aug 28 2018

8/28/18 Loved this trail. Wanted a mellower hike after doing the nearby 6.1 mile Indian Heaven hike yesterday. Slightly hilly, so got our heart rate up, but not too challenging. Beautifully groomed trails. Lots of ripe huckleberries trail side-wished I had brought a container to pick into and take home. Only saw one other group of hikers and a small group camping at the lake-which was muddy. Overall just a lovely, peaceful trail.

Sat Aug 11 2018

This is a beautiful out and back trail to hike with almost all the elevation gain on the first 2.5 miles from the trailhead to Junction lake, but the return hike is mostly downhill. You must register at the trailhead with the provided tags (even if your just day hiking and not backpacking), but it’s quick, easy and free. BRING BUG REPELLENT!! During mosquito season it’s unbelievably terrible how many times we were bitten, even with frequent repellent application, so be prepared. It’s a favorite hike for my wife and I with our Lab. Remember that our 4 legged friends must be on leash and happy trails!

2 months ago

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Sun Sep 23 2018

Tue Sep 18 2018