Sourdough Gap (past Sheep Lake)

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Mount Rainier National Park

Sourdough Gap (past Sheep Lake) is a 6.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Ashford, Washington that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and bird watching and is best used from July until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length6.7 miElevation gain1,440 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashHikingBird watchingForestLakeViewsWildflowersWildlifeMuddyRockySnowFee
Description
Waypoints (0)

Mount Rainier National Park charges a fee to enter. Fees are $30 per vehicle or $25 per motorcycle. If you are entering on foot, horse, or bike the fee is $15 per person. You can also purchase a park specific annual pass for $55. Note: Dogs aren’t allowed past Sourdough Gap as the trail enters the National Park and pets are not allowed past that point. You can take them on the trail to the boundary but you wouldn’t be able to go all the way to Crystal Lake.

Weather
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Daylight
Reviews (208)
Photos (638)
Recordings (189)
Completed (438)
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Danaher Dempsey
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Hiking

Very good decision to go high and get great views of Mount Rainier.

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Mohan Kumar
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HikingGreat!

Beautiful weather and nice beginning fall colors, moderate hike with great views.

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Eric Jones
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Hiking
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Kasey French
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Hiking

Good easy to moderate hike with a nice view over the lake

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Rob & Alicia Exploring
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Charles N
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Daniel Chang
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Hiking

Very solid day hike. Completed 75% of it before stopping at sheep lake on the way back to chill. Did it with a 2 year old in pack without much issue but there are a few steep drop offs where I was glad I had trekking poles. This is a bring a beer hike as you’ll really want one as you swing back sheep lake on a beautiful, sunny day.

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Geoff Wellington
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Jerry DiLeonardo
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HikingGreat!

Trail is in good shape but be prepared for dusty conditions and a lot of loose rock. Great views today of Mt Adams and Mt St Helen with peek-a-boo views of the top of Mt Rainier up near the gap. While the trail starts out forgettable along the highway, the views and ascetics improve as it turns up toward Sheep Lake. The best views are ahead as you make your way up the to the gap

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Bruce Barker
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Ashmita Pandé
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HikingGreat!
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Charles N
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Jesse Olson
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Vickie Wallace
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Hiking

The best

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Thais Monteiro
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HikingGreat!No shade

Great! Beautiful view and some wild flowers. Don’t stop in this trail! Go to crystal lake :)

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Lisa Zander
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HikingGreat!
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Heather Young
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Hiking

really nice. 4 miles in to Crystal Lake from Tipso.

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Stafford Cary
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Hiking

trail was great! lots of people camped at sheep lake but it thinner out beyond that. enjoyed the spectacular views at sourdough gap and continued on to crystal lake. sadly both camp spots were filled. We were fortunate enough to find an empty spot at lower crystal lake though. both crystal and lower crystal have 2 campsites and a toilet, but only lower crystal had a bear pole for storing food. definitely enjoyed the hike and would be happy to do this again!

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Jeff Kenyon
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Hiking

Pretty good! Only one fallen tree. A few rocky areas.

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Trent Skoda
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Ken Powers
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HikingGreat!

You get everything with this hike past Sheep Lake, to Sourdough Gap, and on to Crystal Lake. 2 lakes, meadows of wildflowers, and views of Mt. Rainier are within your grasp as you travel this approximately 8.5 mile out-and-back trail. Most of the 2200 feet of elevation gain you experience occurs while getting to the ridge to get to Sourdough Gap and climbing out of the basin where Crystal Lake resides. Follow the trail around Crystal Lake and find a place to sit and soak your feet or have a very cold swim. Bugs weren’t bad at Sheep Lake (the 1st lake) or Crystal Lake (the 2nd lake) which is a blessing for this time of year. The trail is well-maintained but fairly dusty if it hasn’t rained recently. You may want to wear a mask just to keep the dust out of your lungs. Note that the parking lot fills up fast, the parking lot toilets are still closed due to COVID-19, and dogs aren’t allowed past Sourdough Gap as the trail enters the National Park and pets are not allowed past that point. You can take them on the trail to the boundary but you wouldn’t be able to go all the way to Crystal Lake. Camping sites are available around Sheep Lake without a permit but permits are required at the sites around Crystal Lake. Overall, the magnificent views of Mt. Rainier coupled with the mountain lake fun make this hike a great experience.

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Terry Kneblik
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HikingGreat!

We hiked past Sheep Lake, Sourdough Gap, and over to Upper Crystal Lake. A lot of people on the trail to Sheep Lake, fewer people on the way to Sourdough Gap, and hardly anybody on the way to Upper Crystal Lake. Beautiful wildflowers everywhere, great views, and the trail is in great shape.

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David Vetrano
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Lauren Cramer
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Hiking

Gorgeous!!!

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Lauren Cramer
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Hiking

Lots of sun, not too long, perfect for the kids.

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Mark Koehn
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Hiking

Fun hike with easy access from the top of Chinook Pass (parking can be an issue on weekends). Be sure to push on from Sourdough Gap about a half mile towards Crystal Lake for stunning views of Mt Rainier.

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Sam McCoy
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HikingBugsGreat!No shade

Lotta bang for your buck on this one! The views to both the north and the south (at the same time) are incredible on a clear day. The last mile has a pretty good pitch and doesn't have much shade, so it can be difficult on a hot day, but the pain is short-lived. Your pictures from the gap, however, will last forever.

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