Soda Peaks Lake Trail

HARD 46 reviews

Soda Peaks Lake Trail is a 8.3 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Stevenson, Washington that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, bird watching, and backpacking and is best used from May until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 8.3 miles Elevation Gain: 3,034 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

bird watching

forest

lake

wild flowers

A grueling climb along a quiet but steep trail to a beautiful little lake. Listen for Pika calling in the talus slope on the east face of Soda Peaks and enjoy the peace and solitude. Soda Peaks Lake, formerly known as Lost Lake, is in the southern portion of the Trapper Creek Wilderness in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. It is about 15 miles north of the town of Carson. The Soda Peaks Lake Trail (#133) passes by the lake and has trailheads both east and west of the lake. This approach takes you over the sturdy new footbridge at Trapper Creek for an unrelenting ascent to the destination. There are a number of good campsites at the lake, which lies nestled in a glacial cirque below the summit of an old volcano that erupted about 360,000 years ago. From the trailhead, enter Douglas-fir/hemlock woods with red-cedar, big-leaf maple, vine maple, a couple of western white pines, yew, sword fern, salal, Oregon grape, and red huckleberry. A few yards up is the Trapper Creek-Dry Creek Trail Junction. Continue on the Trapper Creek Trail #192. The tread ascends gradually and then keeps low along the side of Howe Ridge. This is old growth, with a few large hemlocks and Douglas-firs and many snags from an ancient fire. The woods are mossy, and a stunning glabrous green in wet weather. Enter the Trapper Creek Wilderness and then come to the Trapper Creek-Observation Peak Trail Junction. Keep straight on Trail #192 and cross Lush Creek on a footbridge; then head up to traverse along the side of the ridge again. Some bigger Douglas-firs and a few silver firs appear. Cross a footbridge over a rushing creek and come to the Trapper Creek-Soda Peaks Tie Trail Junction. Go left on this trail and descend below mossy, buttressed cedars, reaching an alder/big-leaf maple flat. A trail leads left to the Government Mineral Springs area and an unofficial trailhead; keep straight here to reach Trapper Creek. A sturdy footbridge has been erected here. Pass under alders and then bear left to keep to the main trail. Passing some very large Douglas-firs and western hemlocks, you reach the Soda Peaks Lake-Soda Peaks Tie Trail Junction. The Soda Peaks Lake Trail leads left to a trailhead west of the mineral springs area (Starting there makes for a round-trip to the lake of 7.0 miles). Switchback up to the right under Douglas-fir, western hemlock, silver fir and yew. Keep switchbacking through woods of vanilla leaf, vine maple and cascara. There are openings created by blowdown where salal and cascara stand out. Reach the crest of the ridge, drop slightly, and then rise again. The trail skirts a knoll, from which there is a view of Mount Hood, and drops to a saddle, and then rises steeply again. Switchback at the ridge crest in hemlock woods and get views east to Observation Peak. There are some impressive Douglas-firs in this area also. Keep switchbacking up relentlessly. The trail rounds a rocky face, traverses through old growth and then passes across a vine maple/hazel scree slope. Head up again in old growth woods of Douglas-fir, western hemlock and silver fir. The trail levels and then drops, wending among some huge hemlocks. Then begin to traverse up again. On a clear day, you can take in views of Mount Rainier, Mount Saint Helens and Mount Adams along this section. The trail switchbacks and heads steeply up before reaching the lake. Douglas-fir, western hemlock, Alaska yellow-cedar and silver fir surround the lake, which falls into deep shadow early in the afternoon. Theres a rushing outlet creek and a couple of decent campsites here. There are brook trout in the lake, so bring a rod if you want to fry one up for dinner. Courtesy of OregonHikers.org

hiking
12 days ago

Big tall pines and nice secluded lake. Hiked with +6 inches of snow at the top and it was beautiful.

hiking
blowdown
2 months ago

Awesome trail with the last mile to the lake a bite of a 'thigh burner', but the view is worth it! I only ran into one other hiker on the trail since it is about to close for the season. The quiet, serenity and views was breathtaking were breathtaking! Did this hike last year at the same time, and it was beautiful to see the lake not completely frozen over! But, I need to get to the trailhead earlier to make it to the summit next time!

hiking
blowdown
bugs
fee
over grown
rocky
scramble
washed out
3 months ago

Hiked Soda Peaks Lake trail via Trapper Creek Trail. 10/7/19. 1 other vehicle at Trapper Creek Trailhead when I started at 5:45am. 9.81 miles with 2723ft elevation gain. Bathroom at this TH. Big spacious parking lot. Road getting in has a few potholes, but is short. Has trash can. You must fill out a self issue permit for this wilderness. You need to have an America the Beautiful pass, or a Northwest Forrest pass, or pay a day use fee. Would not recommend this hike for young children and this trail is not handicap accessible. Trapper Creek is moderate hiking, when you get to the log at Soda Peaks trail it starts to climb (moderate to difficult hike). There are only a few spots where the trail flattens out a bit, trail does not stop climbing till a little before the lake. I just hiked to the first two camp spots at the lake as there was rain in the forecast the day I went and I did not want to descend in the rain. There are fallen trees on trail. Also Creek crossings that you can rock hop across this time of year. Saw no one on the trails, but when I got back to my car there were two new cars in the lot.

hiking
4 months ago

5.9 TH to lake. Solid workout.

hiking
4 months ago

5.2 miles to the lake from the trailhead. Great hike through with some old growth trees and views of Mt Hood on the return.

hiking
bugs
5 months ago

trail to the lake was 5.9 miles....a bit longer but spectacular. Last half of the hike to the lake is all up hill. There are switch backs... which helps. Take bug spray. Its not bad yet but, on our return from the lake the mosquitos were a bit frisky. water.... yes take plenty of water. The lake is really still. The last water flowing in about halfway point.

hiking
6 months ago

I told myself I wanted a challenging hike. And boy did I get it. I was trying to get in shape and decided to lug a 45 lb pack up to the top. Took me about 3.5 hours from trapper creek TH and it was death. Nice old growth at the bottom and I really enjoyed the ridgeline portion around the middle. The water was actually warm enough for swimming too!

hiking
6 months ago

I love the lake. it's a beautiful spot to visit, especially in the winter. you used to be able to access it from the west side of the mountain for a shorter hike but still very steep. it's a shame the road washed out, I wish they'd fix it.

hiking
over grown
7 months ago

Definitely a tough hike and parts of the trail are getting pretty overgrown. The lake is awesome. I had to access via Trapper Creek so it took about 3 total hours to get to the lake. It's too bad people can't access via Gov't Mineral Springs Camp. There are signs at Mineral Springs that say no access but after trudging thru 1.5 (unnecessary) Trapper Creek trails and starting on Soda Peaks trail you can clearly see two trails headed to Mineral Springs. It's at least 4 miles from the bridge, why make people add the extra Trapper Creek miles? Regardless, if it's the only leg you're taking in a day it's worth the time at the lake but man it's steep.

hiking
7 months ago

Fun but steep trail. Lake is amazing and pretty clear. About 6 campsites. It’s 6 miles from the car to the lake.

hiking
over grown
rocky
7 months ago

This was an awesome hike, but I gotta say it was hard. Really steep for a while, and cruelly gets steeper the farther you go. Really an endurance hike. You keep thinking you’re almost there, but then there seems to be more hike. It’s a ridge hike for a lot of it, so it gets repetitive and the tops of the trees get closer but you never quite make it. I wish I had known that before I left. The trail was overgrown, but was still walkable. That being said, I loved it. The view at the end was beautiful. We went on a Friday, and other than some rangers at the bottom of the trail, there was absolutely no one there! It was amazing. Such a beautiful spot, and plenty of streams for our doggos to stop and get a drink in. It was a toughie, but I would certainly do it again.

hiking
over grown
snow
8 months ago

This trail definitely needs some maintenance for sure. I’d have to say this is probably worst than dog mountain but the lake is pretty great! My dog and I camped at the lake for one night but there was plenty of snow patches and only one camp spot that didn’t have snow on it. If you plan on camping at the lake either go on a weekday or hope there’s no snow!

hiking
snow
8 months ago

The hurt level cannot be understated. This trail made me question life choices. It starts nice and easy, meandering through beautiful old growth but then you cross a bridge...a bridge that seems to lead to more pleasant meandering...but what it really leads to is the 7th portal to hell. The climb starts about a quarter mile after the bridge, and it never relents. Your calves will ache, your quads will burn with the fury of a thousand suns...you’ll ask for the sweet release of death. And then you’ll see the lake...and it’ll all be worth it. BTDubs, still beaucoup snow at the top. The last .5 miles took me about an hour

hiking
over grown
snow
8 months ago

still pretty snowy up there on the second of may. I would have liked to have trekking poles or micro spikes for the last two or so miles

hiking
snow
9 months ago

04/06/2019 - The road/parking lot for the trail head is still covered in a couple inches of snow. All the roads leading up to it are clear otherwise. We parked our car on the side of the Wind River highway and hiked in the 0.5 miles to the trail head. The trail is covered in snow for another 0.5 miles until you start gaining some elevation. Oddly enough the higher we hiked the clearer it was. But any time the trail dipped down, we were met with more snow. We stopped at the major creek crossing which we would’ve attempted on a nicer day or if our feet weren’t already drenched from the melting snow. Very beautiful wilderness, we will be back on a warmer day to complete this trail!

backpacking
Sun Sep 16 2018

First hammock camping trip. Tough climb to the lake. No bugs. Dry on the way up, but rained all night and on hike out. Saw fish caught. Probably swimmable with hot weather. 5 or 6 groups of day hikers but only one other overnighter at the lake. Lots of day hikers with dogs on the lower, first section of the trail.

hiking
Sat Jul 21 2018

oh goodness do not take this trail lightly. at about 3 miles on the actual trail I started a chant of "a****** trail I will defeat yooooou"... but I only saw one person at the lake, otherwise, so undertraveled for such a lovely place.

Mon Jul 02 2018

Great hike. Super steep. Bring the poles! Leaving from Mineral Spring TH would cut out another mile or 2. I started from Trapper Creek and pegged it at 9.9 miles. Very rewarding.

hiking
Sat Oct 14 2017

Well marked trail that features rushing creek, several foot bridges, old growth trees, and a spectacular lake. Stunning fall foliage and even snow on the trail near the lake. Definitely is steep in places & this time of year it’s good to bring poles to help your balance with snow on the trail (was very very slick in a few spots) The lake took my breath away- absolutely beautiful with crystal clear water and snow covered peaks surrounding it. Eating our lunch on a log by the lake enjoying the sunshine -it started lightly snowing! Did not see one person on the way up...so peaceful & serene. My hiking buddy clocked this trail as being 11 miles out & back. Took us about 6 hours total. I agree with the “HARD” rating. Hiked this on October 13.

backpacking
Wed Oct 04 2017

Hiked up on Sept 30 and had the trail to myself. I agree with the other reviews about the steeper incline. Set up camp at one of the 4-5 lakeside campsites. Pretty lake with mist rising from the water as clouds rolled over the mountain tops. Rained hard all night and next morning so it made for a soggy hike down the next morning. Camped the next day at one of the government mineral springs campsites and dried out by a campfire.

backpacking
Thu Oct 06 2016

Tough incline. Great view. No trailhead signage

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