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Trapper Creek and Observation Peak Loop

hard(37)
Trapper Creek Wilderness

Trapper Creek and Observation Peak Loop is a 16.7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Carson, Washington that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 16.7 miles Elevation Gain: 4,058 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

running

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

From Vancouver, east 55 miles on Highway 14 to the town of Carson. Turn north on Wind River Road and drive 10 miles to Forest Service Road 3065. Turn left and drive 1.5 miles to the signed trailhead at Government Mineral Springs.

hiking
bridge out
flooded
washed out
3 months ago

Pretty bad crossing, I would be prepared to get wet. Otherwise, fun lap!

hiking
4 months ago

Great day hike. We hiked this counter-clockwise in mid-November. My Garmin reported the hike as 15.6 miles long. The Trail to Observation Peak was in good shape and easy to follow. The trail climbed relentlessly, but wasn't too steep. The view from Observation creek was fantastic. We took the Trapper Creek trail back down, and it wasn't in as good a shape. It was easy to follow most of the time, but we had three spots where the trail was a bit hard to follow. Not bad though. There were several creek crossings, but nothing bad. Our boots stayed dry all day. We didn't encounter any snow yet. The road to the trailhead is in good shape.

backpacking
7 months ago

Backpacked the loop counterclockwise. Did the majority on the first day, camped along Trapper Creek, then had an easy hike out in the morning. Few bugs and even fewer people -- surprising for a beautiful Labor Day weekend. Like others are saying, the switchbacks on the Trapper Creek side of the loop (~halfway between Berry Camp and Deer Cutoff) are narrow and steep; I definitely had to be mindful with a large pack on. Generally speaking, Observation Peak side felt like steadier elevation changes while Trapper Creek side had steeper ups/downs. Tip - don't take the Deer Cutoff, stay on Trapper Creek. Some of the prettiest old-growth is on that section.

running
bugs
8 months ago

Did the loop counter clockwise as I thought the downhill would have been a little more gradual this way (I was wrong). The way up was nice. Trail is in good shape and not much overgrowth. Saw some cool birds, slugs and a good chunk of bugs but the uphill was just a nice 6-ish mile climb to the top with ~3300ft of climb. The peak is pretty cool. It was at this point I saw my first person all day and I didn't want to leave. Even though it was slightly cloudy which blocked the view of the bigger mountains it was still about a 280 degree view and incredible. The downhill ended up being a bit more technical down (Note: This was a trail run) than I had assumed but it wasn't bad. Could of creek crossings, super cool waterfall, and eventually a nice rolling single track to the trail head. Most people were coming up this way and/or heading to soda peaks lake. Edit: Accidentally selected 4 stars, updated to 5 stars

backpacking
8 months ago

This hike is punishing but absolutely worth it. Be prepared for lots of upward movement! We stayed out two nights and went clockwise around the loop. Night one we stayed at the first campsite you come across which was nestled in a creek bed and had a short stroll down to a secluded river to get water, it was very beautiful. There are also two more campsites a little further down the trail if the first is taken! The second night we stayed at Berry Camp (Camp Berry?). It was pretty and wooded, but close enough to another trailhead that a few hikers passes us on there way in and out of the trail. There is also a second cluster of campsites about halfway between where we stayed the first night and Berry Camp. Day 3 was easy and downhill back on Observation Trail, passed a few cool campsites on the way down by some rivers that made us wish we could spend more time out. The forest was awesome, the views were awesome, I would definitely do this hike again!

hiking
9 months ago

Amazing views. Took the pup with and it was an amazing hike. For my first go, I highly recommend.

backpacking
9 months ago

Backpacked the loop. Went Observation trail first as it's a gradual climb and the trail is usually well traveled so not a lot of overgrowth. It was a hot day and the mosquitos were out above 3000' (worst on the approach to Observation Peak and the trails just after). I'd call the Observation Peak trail "moderate" but that stretch of the Trapper Creek trail between the waterfall viewpoint and about Deer Cutoff trail is definitely hard. There's a reason the 50+ year old sign says "trail too narrow for horses". A lot of switchbacks and exposed roots and rocks. Camped along the Creek just past Deer Cutoff and was a breeze getting out in the am.

hiking
Mon Jul 09 2018

Hiked 192 with my walking club on Saturday. We went to the end of the trail and at the top we connected with the 132 Observation Peak trail & hiked down the mountain.... overall it was 18.23 miles & 3,444 elevation according to my fitbit. This is definitely a hard trail up & it looked like most hikers do this loop over a weekend. Was pretty moderate up till the 5 mile mark when you start climbing up the mountain on switchbacks. Most of us did great, I struggled on the incline but made the top. There were wild blueberries & orchids along the way & quite a few log bridges to cross over the creek. It’s beautiful & the waterfall platform was breathtaking.

hiking
Thu Jun 21 2018

Beautiful old growth with many saprophytic orchids out today. 5.9 miles to waterfall overlook. Nice campsites around 5 miles.

hiking
Mon Sep 21 2015

Did this trail yesterday and learned that sometimes trail maps lie about mileage. We started with the Observation Peak trail (#132) and recommend doing the trail in this order. We prefer to get the hard inclines early on. We reached the summit in about the time we expected.The trail is absolutely gorgeous, and was the steady climb we expected As the available maps seemed to suggest that the summit was at or near the midpoint, we lunched there and expected a relatively steady hike back down the Trapper Creek side. The Trapper Creek side is equally as beautiful as the Observation Peak side, and has some spectacular features. This is not a trail for children. There are many places that require somewhat ginger footing on a trail that is in places as narrow as 8 inches wide. All in all it is a magnificent hike, just know ahead of time that the loop is 17 1/2 miles long, not the 13.1 that the map at the trailhead purports.

hiking
Mon Jul 02 2012

We chose this trail as our first REAL backpacking trail. Looked relatively easy in the book. 2,800 feet of elevation over 6.3 miles. Packs were between 40-50 pounds (too heavy we realize now). The hike in is pleasant and the trail is in good shape and marked well. We did a loop of Trapper Creek Trail 192 to Observation Trail 132 (13+ miles total). It's an uphill grind most of the way, there are some breaks when you go downhill just to head right back up again. This seemed very difficult due to the pack weight. It was slow going and after about 6.5 hours we were all pretty dead and made camp for the night only about 5.5 miles in. There are plenty of opportunities to refill water along the way (filter it). This trail is difficult but a very good workout. I think next time I might try to do it with a day pack and see if it's easier.

recorded Trapper Creek Trail

hiking
11 months ago

hiking
Fri Jan 25 2019

hiking
Fri Jan 25 2019

hiking
Sun Jan 13 2019

Mon Aug 27 2018

hiking
Tue Jul 03 2018

hiking
Sat Jun 16 2018

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