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 is primarily used for hiking, running, nature trips, and backpacking and is best used from July until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length5.9 miElevation gain1,299 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashKid friendlyBackpackingHikingNature tripsRunningForestLakeViewsWildflowersWildlifeRocky
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Weather
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Daylight
Reviews (100)
Photos (486)
Activities (67)
Completed (459)
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Tara McCray
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 12, 2020
HikingMuddySnow

Great trail! Not physically challenging, but a lot of views to offer! Foliage, lake, mountains! We went October 10th during snow/drizzle with very limited visibility. It was still gorgeous and the sky opened up right at the end of the return trip for an amazing view :)

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kaydie coppa
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 9, 2020
Hiking
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DoctorofaCertainSize .
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 29, 2020
Hiking

What a trail. Absolutely stunning. I would say it’s moderate though, for the length (we clocked over 6.5 miles) and elevation gain. Also, 2/3 of the hike is totally exposed to direct sunlight. It was only max 70 degrees when we went, but with no clouds to be found we were boiling. Would definitely not hike this in the daytime in summer, way too hot. Thank goodness for the beautiful, cold lake to swim in! The grade of this hike is really nice and gradual. The views from the gap are phenomenal. You can see Adams, Helens, Hood, and of course a glimpse of Ranier as well. Our dogs loved this hike, and we saw many other dogs here. Just be polite and not an asshole and leash your dogs. Esp as a lot of this trail is narrow with steep drop offs and nowhere to pull off.

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Kelly Frazier
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 8, 2020
HikingGreat!Rocky

Easy-ish, but mighty not be a trail for the littles. Steep drop and lots of loose rocks. 100% Worth the trek up to the top, amazing views and air-conditioning. Parking was easy if you get there by 9am, bathrooms as well. Lot was packed and over flowing upon return (holiday). The drive up to the hike is amazing! Views on views on views.

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Lindy Kollman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 7, 2020
Snowshoeing

Cousin home. Girls swam.

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Jess Williams
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 6, 2020
BackpackingGreat!Rocky

The trail was awesome! We hiked out right after sunrise and the first stretch from the parking lot was beautiful. We stopped halfway through for breakfast with another view as well. The beginning of the hike starts with a view, and the end of the hike you get the gorgeous view of both Sheep Lake and the PCT going north. We hiked a bit more and saw where you can go to crystal lake, but did not go since we had our pup. It's dusty, but the perfect little day hike full of views and plenty of places to stop and stop and enjoy.

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Amy Carlson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 29, 2020
HikingGreat!

I loved it! Beautiful. Maintained trail. Lots of people. Went a little past sourdough to see Crystal Lake and amazing view of Mt. Rainer. Need the National Forest pass to go to crystal lake. Next time!

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Kelly Jenkins
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 15, 2020
HikingGreat!

Great hike, we went with our friends and their kids and everyone made it and had a good time. We left at 9:15 and there weren’t that many people on the way up, but we saw quite a few in the way back, mostly wearing masks. We did not need to be wearing our hiking boots for this hike and could have managed in running shoes or sandals. We also scoped our some good spots to hang hammocks and pitch tents for an overnight trip at the lake.

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Jas Baziuk
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 15, 2020
Hiking

Not too crowded, but lots of small children at the lake so it was a little loud. Seems like a place that people use for family backpacking trips

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Kelsey Wojtasiak
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 14, 2020
HikingGreat!

Wow! The drive in and entire trail was beautiful. Clear day with Helens, Adams and Rainier brilliantly shining in the distance. Stunning wild flowers the whole way. Got started at 8:30am, done by 12 with a good amount of time spent at the lake. Crowded starting at 11am like everywhere else. Hard to pass on a very narrow cliff side trail. Wear your mask and leash your dog please my friends!

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Olivia User
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 9, 2020
HikingGreat!

Stunning view!

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Austin Peter
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 1, 2020
CampingBugsRocky
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Gurpreet Sachdev
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 20, 2020
Hiking

This trail is now my favorite for a sunny day. I just couldn't stop taking pics all through the hike but to be honest, I don't think pics can do justice to this hike. It is not a shady hike, so for the most part you are in open, but that is what leads to sweeping views all through the hike, instead of just at the end. Naches peaks are gorgeous this time of the year with all the greenery. By the time I got to Sheep lake at 2 miles, I had already taken 75 pics of Naches, highway, wildflowers - it was all so beautiful. Sheep Lake is also one of the prettiest lake with green water. I got there around 9:30am and it was not very busy, although there were a bunch of campers. I am not much of a camper but it did feel like a gorgeous spot to camp. From Sheep lake towards Sourdough gap, is where most of the elevation is but there are also meadows, profuse wildflowers - all possible colors and types and you start seeing Mt. Adams pretty clearly on your right. Adams was so clear that for a few mins I thought it might be Rainier. Before reaching Sourdough gap there are a lot of clearings to see Sheep Lake sitting between Naches, from the top. Those pics are probably the most spectacular. At Sourdough gap, it is a valley view and one can see Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Hood and if you go another half mile after Sourdough gap, you see Mt. Rainier in your face, standing proudly above Crystal lake. All 4 volcanoes in 1 hike. This was Nirvana for me. I will suggest a few things: 1.   This seems to be a popular camping trail. I got there at 8am and parking was already full. So go early. 2.   Bathrooms are still closed here - just FYI. 3.   Although dogs are allowed on this trail, since the trail is mostly in open, it is scorching hot for the dogs. Especially on the rocks. So try to leave your dogs at home on a sunny day if you are hiking this trail. I saw a lab in front of me who was refusing to walk while going down because the trail was so hot for me. I felt really bad for him. 4.   The terrain of this trail is a combination of rocks and dirt. So wear sturdy, thick sole shoes. Rocks can be slippery 5.   Trail is wide in some places but really narrow at other places. So social distancing is not always possible. Hence wear masks and try to turn the other way when someone is coming towards you. It’s not rude - people understand. 6.   If you get to Sourdough gap, go a little further towards left, you will get a great view of Crystal lake and Mt. Rainier. Just FYI - this part is in MRNP, where dogs are not allowed 7.   Take poles, they are helpful while going up. 8. There are bugs everywhere and you won't be able to stand in one place if you don't use a repellent. Even with a repellent, I could hear them in my ears the entire time.

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Carly Lester
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 19, 2020
Hiking

This hike had beautiful views, but was very crowded over the first mile. A face mask is HIGHLY advised since the trail is so narrow for most of it that you can’t do 6ft distancing from other hikers. The end result with the lake was really pretty, and our golden retriever loved swimming in the water.

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David Shaw
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 19, 2020
HikingBugsGreat!

very busy trail and extremely buggy lake. Everyone was spread out well at the lake and had great tail etiquette. Very short easy hike but has some great views and lots of wildflowers. The lake at the end is loaded with Brook trout as well if you bring a fly rod.

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David Stark
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 19, 2020
HikingBugs

We arrived at the trailhead @ 8am on Sunday 7/19. The lot looked to be about 80% full and the bathrooms were closed (we stopped previously at the Tipsoo lake restrooms which are open :)). Despite the full lot, we did not pass many hikers during our trip up to Sourdough gap. We did note about 10-15 overnight campers at Sheep lake so that could've explained the full lot; nevertheless, parking is plentiful along the side of the road. The trail is in great shape and the grade is not strenuous at all, this could easily be a "shorts & tennis shoe's hike". Sheep lake is beautiful and well worth the 1.5 mile trek from the road. The banks of the lake are sandy in many spots and perfect for wading in and cooling off. We did not spend much time at the lake on our way up; but, we spent a good hour there on our way back down (around 1 pm by that time). We did not find the lake to be overly-crowded or overly-buggy. There were kids and pups splashing and playing in the water, and the occasional mosquito would hover around me, but all in all it was an idyllic place that I could've lounged at all day. The climb to Sourdough gap was decently rocky, but not all that strenuous. Even if you're not in the best shape, I'd recommend making the climb because once at the top you are treated to spectacular Southern Cascades views. We saw Adams and St. Helens easily on this clear Sunday afternoon. Continue on to the backside of Sourdough gap to the next ridge and you are treated to views of Mt. Rainier looming above and Crystal lake sitting below. Bugs were a noted nuisance at the gap, but I was able to keep them at bay by using bug spray before hitting the trail (my partner did not lather up and was not so lucky with the bugs). By the time we left at 2 PM there were numerous groups making the trek up to the lake and the trail began to feel crowded. This is partially because it is skinny in many parts and because COVID necessitates maximizing distance between people. Overall, a very easy hike with an amazing lake and world class mountain views!

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Carson Brown
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 18, 2020
HikingSnow

Great trail with spectacular views almost the whole time. Getting to the trail from the parking lot is the hardest part as it’s a little steep and still snowy/icy. I’m an inexperienced hiker with a recovering knee injury and I could do it so you can too!

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Kerala Hise
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 13, 2020
HikingGreat!MuddySnow

great hike! a few snowy and muddy spots, but nothing terrible (just happy I didn't wear my Chacos). the lake is very peaceful, it's fairly easy to loop around it for a bit more distance. many campers. first mile or so is in direct sun, but second half is mostly shaded - layer accordingly. lots of doggos.

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Hallie D'Agostino
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 12, 2020
Hiking

WOW. This trail is totally underrated. It’s not a typical PNW hike that’s shaded in deep forests. You get pretty wide open views the entire way. The elevation gain is slow and easy. Highly recommend continuing about .4 miles past Sourdough Gap (right around the bend that you can see) for magical views of Rainier and Chrystal Lake. We had to scramble over a small patch of snow to do so, but it was SO worth it. Views of Mt. Adams, incredible valleys, tons of wildflowers. Probably one of the best hikes I’ve done recently.

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Curt Pliler
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 11, 2020
Hiking

Trail conditions were great. Couple of easily-traversed snow patches. 80% of hikers are wearing masks as we pass others. Lots of people on the trail. Parking was tight.

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Michael Tappel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 11, 2020
Hiking

Easy, shallow grade hike. Lovely views and sun exposure in the morning just after sunrise. Pretty wildflowers on hillside. Sheep Lake quite full of tents, looks like a coveted camping spot!

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Elisa James
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 4, 2020
HikingRockySnow

Awesome trail, definitely worth it.

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