Sourdough Gap (past Sheep Lake)

MODERATE 69 reviews
#48 of 131 trails in

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 is best used from July until October.

Distance: 6.7 miles Elevation Gain: 1,440 feet Route Type: Out & Back

hiking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

Trail is in excellent condition. No bugs and a beautiful walk to an overlook of Crystal Lake. Even saw families with very small children enjoying the trail.

Sheep Lake to Sourdough to Crystal Lake

backpacking
1 month ago

Good first time backpacking trip for first time scouts to Sheep Lake. Experience scouts backpacked further to Crystal Lake.

Very busy!

hiking
blowdown
bugs
2 months ago

Nice trail, great views. It is a little bit more difficult than people claim, lots of people seem rather unprepared especially on a hot day. Make sure you pack water. Mosquitoes were out but not too bad, it got hot in the middle of the day. Flowers were in full bloom everywhere.

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail! Went with a group on 7/4. Perfect weather and trail in good condition. Everyone made it up and back down no problems. Ages ranged from 20yr olds to 60yr old! We all loved it! Bring plenty of water.

hiking
2 months ago

This is a very well-maintained and very well-travelled trail. The parking lot is rather small for the number of people who likely use this trailhead. There are a couple of restrooms at the parking lot but, as always, you may want to bring some toilet paper with you as they frequently run out. We arrived at the trailhead around 11:30AM and the parking lot was full which forced us to park along the road. The trail was a very easy trek up to Sheep Lake. We continued on to the viewpoint where the trail splits between the Pacific Crest Trail and the Crystal Lake Trail. This adds another mile and some additional elevation gain. You can continue another mile if you want to go to Crystal Lake but keep in mind if you have brought your dog that this crosses into the National Park and pets are not allowed past the Rainier National Park Boundary. Overall, we went about 6.9 miles round trip with an elevation gain of close to 1500 feet. The highest point we reached was around 6400 feet in elevation. The hike had wildflowers, a marmot, sections of remaining snow, and plenty of view opportunities even when it was fogged in. Very enjoyable and highly recommended!

hiking
2 months ago

Went from the Crystal Lakes TH up to Sourdough Gap and then down past Sheep Lake to the TH at Chinook Pass (took 2 vehicles). A beautiful hike, even tho it was a cloudy day. A steady climb up to the lakes but nothing too steep. Wildflowers are starting to put on a show!

backpacking
2 months ago

Great first backpacking trip with my kiddos (10, 6, 4) last weekend (6/22). Gorgeous ridge of wildflowers for the first half of the trail - full of bear grass, Indian paintbrush, two shades of purple, yellow, another white one (I need to learn their names!). We extended up to the gap and the Crystal lake overlook with light packs - such amazing views. My youngest was tired but did it! Snow isn’t a factor. A couple patches but totally crossable and no problem finding the trail. Dropped into the 30’s at night and was windy so be ready for those temps - thankfully we were! Amazing memories!

hiking
snow
3 months ago

We hiked last week. We were .2 miles away from reaching the official sourdough Gap end point because the snow field was no longer passable but we were at the top and wow!!! This hike was so fun! Snowshoes are not necessary but trekking poles, sunglasses and sunblock are. We also used the AllTrails map (downloaded) to find the trail since 60% of it is not visible. We were the only ones there!

hiking
11 months ago

Today was perfect for weather and fall colors. We went past Sheep Lake through Sourdough Gap and we’re convinced by two passing hikers we had to continue to Crystal Lake - they were correct - it was a must see!! You can almost reach out and touch Mt Rainier. The elevation total for us was 2700 in total but the elevation is very gradual so never needed to catch our breaths. I would recommend hiking poles. We only passed 2 sets of people all day! Mind you it was 32 degrees most of the morning and we went on a Wednesday.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

once a year we do this hike and it never disappoints.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Trail was beautiful today. I highly recommend this trail. Easy hike and the wildflowers were everywhere. Make sure to hike to crystal lakes after going through sourdough gap

hiking
Sunday, August 12, 2018

Did this today for the second time in a month, took a friend today. Wildflowers were plentiful both times. Saw a hummingbird! Moderately busy, people swimming in Sheep lake and camping. No mosquitoes! A few flies is all. Parts are very hot now. Not rated a 5 due to the long slog that follows the road, albeit well above, at the beginning and thus the end. Get there early in the day for parking and fewer people.

hiking
Sunday, July 30, 2017

Trail is in good condition. Expected crowds at parking area, along the trail and at the lake. Lots of friendly dogs to greet our dog (most on leash). Not too many bugs. Wildflowers are in full bloom. Try to avoid the weekend if you can.

hiking
Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Trail was in good condition, I wish I was. Weather was perfect, no wind, light clouds, temps mild. Trail can branch off in places but if you stay on the well traveled path you will not stray. There are nice views from this trail but I reached the ridge near midday and the noon sun tends to wash out the colors. I was hoping for some good fall colors but there was little. Most of the flowers were gone and there was a decaying stench on the lower portion of the trail. Crowds were low but present. There were a lot of dogs and even one puppy. Trail starts out fairly level almost to Sheep Lake then starts to climb to Sourdough Gap on a mild slope. All in all, an easy trail. To see Rainier and Crystal Lake, you have to hike to the next ridge which is a short distance and a little beyond. I was anticipating the lake at the first ridge. Once you get to the second ridge, Mount Rainier will be to the extreme left obscured by the trees. Continue along the trail into the park and you will be rewarded with beautiful views of Crystal Lake and Mount Rainier.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Loved it. Very gradual climb. The views are unbelievable.

Monday, September 12, 2016

always a great hike

Monday, July 25, 2016

Nice morning hike from sheep lake

hiking
Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Hiked in a couple months ago. No bugs but a bit windy at times...I'm a big guy so it helped to cool me off but if you run cold, you may wanna bring a windbreaker during the early months of summer. Great views after Sheep Lake and Before Crystal Lake. It was a steady climb to the top so nothing to really worry about. Take your time and you'll get some awesome views to talk about when you get home. Happy hiking.

hiking
Saturday, June 13, 2015

06/12/15 - Friday - Beautiful day at the lake. No snow. No bugs (that bite). Very few people all day. We took the hike up to Sourdough Gap and found the weather very different. The wind was strong and cold. It was nice returning to the lake after that. More on my hiking blog at cairnguru.com

hiking
Monday, August 18, 2014

08/17/2014, Sunday - The parking lots were full by the time I arrived at noon so I had to park on the side of the road with the rest of the late-comers. Hiked to Sheep Lake where I found ~20 others. It didn't seem crowded, but you could hear the activity of people around, so it wasn't the relaxing atmosphere I was looking for. Continued on to Sourdough Gap with it's incredible valley views. Took a side detour to Crystal Lake, then kept going to Bear Gap overlooking Crystal Mountain Resort. That's a five mile trip. By the time I returned to Sourdough Gap there was nobody around and I sat for 20 minutes or so with the sun on my back and the valley in front. I even spotted a mountain goat at the top of a peak. Passed very few people on the way back to the truck. There were some flies, but no mosquitos bothered me. Wear nothing with fragrance and you'll be ok typically. I even crossed paths with two young girls headed to Canada. I always enjoy running into through-hikers on the PCT. That's so impressive to me. More on my hiking blog at cairnguru.com

hiking
Sunday, January 19, 2014

We only planned to hike to Sheep Lake, but once we got there we hiked to the very top to Sourdough Gap. Incredible views of the Cascades and of course Sheep Lake. We hiked in Early July and there was still some snow cover throughout. It didn't make it difficult, it just made some parts extremely wet/muddy.

hiking
Monday, June 24, 2013

one of my favs, a bit snowy (understatement)but made it to the lake and saw bear tracks in the snow!

hiking
Thursday, April 12, 2012

Fantastic, relaxing place. Good pack trip for beginners , beautiful scenery

running
5 days ago

hiking
13 days ago

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