Sheep Lake and Sourdough Gap Trail

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Mount Rainier Wilderness

Sheep Lake and Sourdough Gap Trail is a 5.9 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Ashford, Washington that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 5.9 miles Elevation Gain: 1,299 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

backpacking

hiking

nature trips

walking

running

forest

lake

views

wildlife

8 months ago

Snowing, though spotty on the trail. could not quite justify micro spikes but I would bring em. No snow on roads yet though the fog made visibility poor. This hike is beautiful with the dusting of snow.

hiking
9 months ago

Nice hike! It's on the Pacific Crest Trail, so was quite busy with through hikers plus families with small children. Perfect for all!

hiking
10 months ago

Gave it a four star only because it’s worth it to make the distance to Crystal Lake, incredible view/payoff. Great hike for kids: elk, butterflies, frogs/toads, fields of wildflowers, lakes to wade in, and not too physically challenging on them. It’s a good 8.4 miles out&back if you do Crystal Lake with plenty of shaded spots. The fact that we had the lake completely to ourselves didn’t hurt either.

hiking
10 months ago

Trail is great, perfect for families but can be crowded so get out there early. Sheep lake is only 2.2mi from the parking lot/trailhead so it’s an excellent kid-friendly backpacking site.

backpacking
bugs
10 months ago

Backpacked with my three boys (8, 10, 12yrs old) Monday-Tuesday. Gorgeous views, pretty easy hike. Wildflowers galore. Butterflies, a shallow, sandy-bottom, clear lake for swimming or refilling water. Nice, secluded campsites. Set up camp at Sheep Lake then hiked on, packless to Crystal Lake, then back to Sheep for the night. Only drawback-tons of mosquito bites. But highly recommend.

hiking
bugs
10 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

Sheep Lake is gorgeous...hike up to the gap has amazing views. Go past the gap just a few minutes to the next gap for more gorgeous views of Crystal Lake and Mt. Rainier.

hiking
bugs
no shade
scramble
10 months ago

Solid hike that provides a little bit of everything (lake, views, wildflowers) for not much effort. Not a lot of shade & had some bugs, so be sure to have sunblock & bug spray. We got there at ~9 on a Sunday, parking lot was ~80% full, but the trail wasn’t super busy. There were a lot of off leash dogs (more than on leash). Took us ~3 hours including stopping for lunch at the top & we recorded 6.25 miles.

Sun Oct 21 2018

Alltrails directions took me to the trailhead! Yay! Another rare, warm late October day! Unbelievable! I started out at 9:15, blue sky,sunny. I had to take off my coat about 1/4 mile down, shwuu! Hot! The trail is gradual uphill all the way to sheep lake, parallels 410 mostly. Trails kind of narrow and if you suffer vertigo just hug the inner parts, if you look to your right down on the highway it may give you the “Willy’s” lol, I arrived at the lake 10:30 am ground was frozen, no snow, bugs. Beautiful clear lake. I stayed only 5 minutes as my goal was panhandle gap , crystal lakes. So the trail heads up on the right side of the lake. I didn’t notice any real steep sections, up and up yes but no stair climbing, not like coming up from the other side on 410! I reached the gap 1.5 miles later and little under 2 hours. I stopped several times to feast on the views of Adams and hillside fall colors in the distance. Once you reach the gap consider going thru you’ll see pct, go left stay upper trail only 8 minute walk to another opening and walk down from there another one minute and you’ll be amazed! Mt. Rainier in your face! Crystal lakes down below! Head down to crystal lakes and eat lunch it’s only another 15 minutes down! I was there 2 days ago so I didn’t go down all the way, instead I found some rocks to sit on and ate lunch, beautiful October hike!

Tue Sep 04 2018

fantastic out and back day hike!

Wed Aug 08 2018

Great hike for all levels... we continued past Sheep Lake and hiked into the National Park above Crystal lake. Lots of bang for your buck.

backpacking
Wed Jul 18 2018

One of my favorite overnight hikes.

hiking
Sun Jun 24 2018

Good hike with kids. Snow covered parts of the trail so you have to search for it a bit. Sheep lake is beautiful, could spend all day there. We took our dogs, even though it was questioned in previous reviews. Would do this again!

hiking
Tue Aug 29 2017

Trail description says NO DOGS, but this trail is technically outside of of the park boundary and according to WTA.org, dogs on leash are allowed. I suggested an edit, but there was no place for comments to explain the edit.

hiking
Wed Sep 28 2016

Love this hike. Fairly easy to lake but a pretty good work out to the gap. Keep going through gap and stay left on the trail. There's another gap with lake and view of Rainier. No dogs past that point. National Park boundary.

Tue Sep 27 2016

For how many people use this trail it was in pretty good condition. The views are great and the area very clean. I went with a scout troop and even the youngest made the hike to the lake with a pack with only a few breaks. It was difficult to find an empty camp site because we arrived late Friday (around 9pm) but the trail was easy to follow. I will be taking my family up here in the near future.

hiking
Mon Sep 12 2016

Trailhead is very easy to find, just past the restroom at end of parking lot. Very nice hike, no bugs in September. Can be a bit dusty if no rain recently and you are following hikers. Suggest hiking past the gap towards Crystal Lake for views of Mt Ranier. Sheep Lake is very picturesque and a great short hike.

Sun Sep 11 2016

Such a nice hike

Mon Aug 29 2016

I couldn't find the trail head. anyone know where it is.

hiking
Fri Jul 03 2015

Great trail for the kids. Gradual incline up to the lake. 1st part of the trail has a steeper drop off on the side and you can hear the cars on 410 but as soon as you round the corner about a mile in all car sounds fade. Lake has a couple of great areas to relax and eat lunch and play in the lake. We continued on to Sourdough Gap and had great views of the Cascades and Mt. Adams.

hiking
Sun Jul 08 2012

Top of Chinook Pass, East of Tipsoo Lake, large paved parking area. Requres USFS Forest Pass. Starts at 5,400 at pass, 5,800 elevation at lake. it is on the Pacific Crest Trail. lots of bugs at lake! fabulous views. trail is narrow in places.

hiking
8 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

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