Explore the most popular mountain biking trails near Randle with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Purcell Mountain Trail #284
5-19-18

There are two trails to Purcell Mountain Lookout. Trail #285 (via FR63) and Trail #284 with access from Hwy 12. An access trail from Hwy 12 to trail #284 made it much easier to get to. This access trail was made within the last month or so. Yesterday I was finally able to hike it. Trail #284 is the longer of the two trails at 7.7 miles one-way. The shorter trail is 4.2 one-way and as TR’s indicate, the one accessed more, overgrown and hard to get to.

There is parking in a pullout across Hwy 12 or on the same side next to the access trail. The access trail is sandy and inconspicuously meets trail #284, so much so that I missed it on the way back. It is steep right from the get go. Trail #284 is just as steep and overgrown in the first miles. Actually the whole trail is overgrown but lower parts are worse.

There has been some recent maintenance as blowdowns are cut and one blowdown was routed around. This trail is all elevation gain, right from the start. Only one flat-ish spot around the 3100ft level makes a good resting point. From here it continues elevation gain but not as steep and starts resembling a regular trail. Pleasant actually.

First signs of snow were at 3700ft but only one spot. It was clear for the next .7 miles til after a trail junction marked by an old non-used barbed-wire gate. Right is the Purcell Mountain Trail, left goes toward a location unknown to me. After I got back, I found out it goes toward Grassy Mountain and not marked on any maps I could find. This is also the first signs of water on the trail.

Take the left junction a hundred feet for a nicely flowing stream, 4.3 miles in at 4011ft. Go right to stay on the Purcell Mountain trail. I got blocked by snow 200-300 feet after the junction. It was constant and I lost sight of the trail. I took the left junction to see where it went and turned around after it appeared to be going more down than up and away from where I wanted to go, Elevation, 4100ft. Elevation gain to this point, 3228ft in 4.9mi.

Going down was a much needed reward and fast! 1.75hrs total going down. 5hrs going up. It seemed there were more tripping…. hazards going down than up. From rocks to round twigs to small branches crossing the trail and rain and wet. It rained going down which made an overgrown trail soaking.

All and All this is an exciting and strenuous trail. It’s easy to get to. Leave early and plan on 15 miles RT. There are no views however… they come later (I hope). Only 1 flowing water source on the trail 4.3 miles in and this could be seasonal, but I suspect one of the many that feeds Hopkins Creek. Plan accordingly. I will certainly be doing this later I the year.

hiking
6 months ago

Difficult trail to find and very strenuous. We could see 4 peaks at the top so it was worth it!

hiking
9 months ago

This trail is actually more like 9 miles to get out to Sheep Lake and the PCT, and should be rated as hard due to the extreme upward first two miles. After that, however, it levels out and is a gorgeous hike along the ridge to Sheep's Lake that serves as a great campsite for PCT hikers and more. We found a great wildflower meadow toward the end and our dog thoroughly enjoyed the water.

This hike was a bit of a chore getting up because of the rutted out nature of the trail, the mosquitos, and the fact there were motor cycles on the trail. Be careful for that! They are allowed on the trail and probably the cause some of the rutting of the trail.

But after dealing with all of that the payoff was amazing! Truly spectacular wildflowers and awesome views of Mt Rainer and Mt Adams. The is also a view of the top part of Mt St Helens that is not as amazing but still cool. We ate lunch at the summit... with a few bugs :)

For us the payoff was worth the rest for sure.

We enjoyed this hike overall thanks to the top and would consider it again in the future!

hiking
Friday, April 28, 2017

Absolutely beautiful hike!

hiking
Sunday, July 31, 2016

Hiked from just west of Jackpot Lake on FR 20 to the top of Cispus Butte. 5 year olds did a great job on a steep, overgrown trail. Can't say enough about how beautiful the top is. Lots of bugs at the bottom and throughout the hike. It is a little over 1 mile to the top.

hiking
Sunday, May 08, 2016

Yesterday, I hiked the Purcell Lookout Trail #285. The hike starts on unmarked, overgrown and not drivable FR6310 where it meets Purcell Lookout Trail #285 after ¾ mile. It’s on the west side of the road and easily missed. I drove past it about a mile where snow stopped me. Sparse parking only allows one, maybe two vehicles.

The hike starts on FR6310 with a somewhat discernable trail through the grass. This soon becomes more overgrown but direction of travel and orange tape indicate the way. Someone marked the trail with orange tape. MANY THANKS to this person. The tape makes route finding easy which comes in handy at higher elevations.

Soon you’ll ford Davis Creek which was quite raging this time of year. It’s somewhat wide and the other end is a doable 10-15ft climb up the bank. Look for orange tape to mark the way. Hike this overgrown FR6310 for about ¾ following orange tape if need be til the signed junction of Purcell Lookout Trail #285. This is where the switchbacks start. The switchbacks are lightly traveled but discernable and orange tape marks the way. There are a couple long switchbacks in the beginning but soon they get closer together. Some views of Mt. Adams, Pompey Peak, Tower Rock and others can be seen through the trees.

Snow started at the 3900ft level and became almost constant at the 4000ft level. There were some breaks in the snow that were much welcomed but they become shorter as you gain elevation. Follow orange tape. Now the trail is covered by snow but direction of travel and thankfully orange tape mark the way. Old blowdowns block the trail and at times become heavy. This especially obscures direction of travel and coupled with heavier snow makes it easy to lose the trail. Yet there is still orange tape to follow. Sometimes tape takes you off trail around the obstruction. However, do not rely on the orange tape. There were some times where the tree the tape was on was crushed by blowdowns or snow. Be confident in your route finding during these times.

At 4300ft I stopped for lunch and turned around, 600ft from the top. Too much snow and too many blowdowns. Funny how when traveling in the opposite direction on the same trail route finding is different even easier.

While overgrown in the beginning, and snow and blowdowns near the top, this was still a great hike and was only moderately difficult. It will become even easier in late June or mid-July.

hiking
Monday, June 08, 2015

My husband and I took the Juniper Ridge Trail in early June. A strange year with little snowpack allowed our early trip. We were dissappointed with the trail, it is rutted and hard to hike in places, but the views and wildflowers made up for the poor trail.
Most high country trails in this area are packed and we were happy to have this trail to ourselves, aside from two groups on motorbikes that we passed.
This area gets rather dry towards the end of the season. We felt lucky to see lush green views with Beargrass, Paintbrush, Penstemon, Mariposa Lily, Lupine, Asters and Wild Carrot popping up everywhere we looked. there are not many places that offer such stunning views for the distance of this hike. We made it to Jumbo Peak and were rewarded with views of Mt. Rainier, St. Helens, Mt. Adams and even Mt. Hood!

We looked for goats but only saw their tracks. Next time, we plan to leave early to catch cooler weather, better light for photography and hopefully spot a few goats.

mountain biking
Tuesday, May 05, 2015

The description of this trail isn't quite accurate; it can be much longer than 4ish miles one way. The trailhead starts at a parking lot just north of Highway 14 outside the town of Lyle, WA on the Klickitat River. The trail is good for horseback riding, hiking and mountain biking. My wife and I biked about 6 miles of it before we turned around and headed back out where our car was parked.

The trail is a "rails-to-trails" conversion, so much of the trail is gravel. For those who are starting out mountain biking, there's a singletrack portion starting around Mile 2. It's good for beginners because there's very little elevation gain within the first 10 or so miles. Parts of the trail run along the Klickitat, so my wife and I took a break to dip our feet into the river. A great experience overall!

hiking
Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Access to Pompey Peak is from a number of places but for this hike it's from FR 2304 in Randle. Alternatively FR 20 to Jackpot Lake/Castle Butte on Hwy 12 (the most direct) or from FR 55 via FR 23 in Randle can be used.

Take FR 25 from Randle and turn left (east) onto FR 23. Continue east for 3.5 miles on FR 23 and turn left (north) onto FR 2304. At 3.3 miles, stay right at the "Y" and continue uphill to the trailhead at end of the road.

FR 2304 is WASHED OUT and IMPASSABLE 2.5 miles after the "Y" (at The Left Fork of Owens Creek), 5 miles from the TH. Effectively, this is the new TH. Plan on 6.5 miles to the summit, 13 miles RT.

I started from the washout. What's a 5 mile walk on a dirt road anyway. Easy? Well, it wasn't quite that easy. The road was completely overgrown and in someplaces it didn't look like a road. It's narrow in places. There are about 8 other washouts severe enough to stop the road if it hadn't already been stopped. There were blowdowns throughout. Heavier, denser and more often near the end. At times the going was slow trying to find a route through it all. Some could easily be walked around others required yoga moves. I highly suggest gaiters, pants and boots for the whole rode. I turned around about a half mile before the trailhead. I left late in the day, wasn't prepared for the blowdowns, the distance, the time and didn't bring enough food or water and still managed to get in a 10 mile hike. On the bright side, there was a nice viewpoint of the Cowlitz Valley and Pompey Peak around the half way mark.

Accessing via FR 20 from Hwy 12 might be a better way although I haven't done it yet. I think I'll do it again just so I can complete it.

hiking
Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I hiked this trail as a loop consisting of 3 different trails. Nannie Ridge Trail 98, PCT 2000, and Walupt Lake Trail 101. It's a 15 mile loop with excellent vistas once on Nannie Ridge and the PCT and views of Mt. Adams and The Goat Rocks.

The trailhead starts at Walupt Lake Campground. Weekends tend to get busy with campers and parking is at a premium, however there is overflow parking just for people using the trails. Park before the Walupt Lake Campground on one of 2 or 3 designated (with yellow printed signs) areas for hikers.

Access the trail by walking through the campground to the end of road. The loop can be done in either direction and I choose clockwise, taking Nannie Ridge Trail 98 first. After Sheep Lake, it's all downhill which I preferred. Take Walupt Lake Trail 101 for 70 yrds and register at the TH. A NW Forest Pass is required. You'll see the Nannie Ridge/Walupt Lake junction shortly after this, head left for Nannie Ridge. The trail climbs steeply for the first 2.5 miles or so and I saw only 3 people till Sheep Lake. Once it starts to open up, look for the Nannie Peak trail. It's unmarked but you'll know it when you see it. Turn left. The hike to the peak is beautiful with meadows opening up the forest. On top, Mt. Adams is in your face and Mount St. Helens can be seen in the distance. Nannie Peak is about 1/3 mile long. Before you go down, hike to the other end of the peak. You'll be greeted with views of Gilbert Peak and the Goat Rocks which you'll see until you reach Sheep Lake.

Return to Nannie Ridge Trail 98. Now the ridge trail takes you in a northerly direction along the contour of the ridge for 2.2 miles with many wonderful vista and meadows. A mile or so after the peak you'll reach a small picturesque lake. From this point on there are many more meadows and vistas. Nearing Sheep lake wildflowers appear. If you're in season, they are stunning. And did I mention the meadows and Vistas? Beautiful.

Once I arrived at Sheep Lake, I started seeing people, about 7-8. This is a popular place to overnight if you're Thru-Hiking the PCT or doing a multi-day hike. Walk around the lake to pick your campsite. The lake is clear and surprisingly warm. Just right for a swim.

Upon leaving I ran into a field of wildflowers and in no time reached the PCT junction. The next .8 miles of the PCT is Beautiful! If going clockwise, be sure to turn around and look for views of Mt. Adams. This section follows along the contour of the ridge and is mostly a huge meadow. Look across to the upcoming ridge for views of the PCT you'll be hiking. When you cross a small creek, you're at the junction of the two ridges and now traveling in a southerly direction toward Walupt Lake trail 101. The map shows camping here, but I don't remember seeing anything that stood out.

Heading south on the PCT, again you're hiking on the contour of the ridge oppsite, east of Nannie Ridge. This section climbs a bit, levels out a bit, then descends toward Walupt Lake trail 101. The huckleberries were out in force along this section. A nice surprise once I took my eyes off the views of Mt. Adams and Walupt Lake. I ran into more people here than anywhere on the hike. Some Thru-Hiking the PCT or sections of it, others on mulit-day and day hikes. Once you reach the Walupt Lake trail 101, it’s 4.7 miles to the TH. Turn right and enjoy a nice level stroll for a bit, then descend some and enjoy the final level 1.6 miles to the TH.

This loop has alot of views, meadows and is worth the effort. If doing the loop in one day, plan on 9 hrs of unrushed beauty.

hiking
Sunday, June 22, 2014

Juniper Ridge Trail #261 trailhead is on the right side of FR 2904 with moderate parking. Tongue Mountain trail #294 can be accessed from the same place but on the left side of the road.

Juniper Ridge Trail #261 is an OHV trail and rated Most Difficult, allowing for Motorcycles, Mountain Bikes, Horses and Hiking. And right from the get-go, its obvious. The trail starts out steep, with few minor reprieves. Since ATV's are not allowed and motorcycles are, it's not a foot-friendly trail with one deep rut in the center of the trail all the way to the top. Of course snow melt run-off adds to the rut near the top.

Not a sole was there when we started and saw only 2 others hiking the ridge while we were eating lunch from the summit of Juniper Peak. Hiking is either in the center of the rut (with feet never completely flat) or on top of the rut on either side if and when one presents itself. Near the 2 mile mark, you'll get your first view point. Lovely Mt. Adams. Go on a cloudless day to see the whole mountain. From this point you'll hike another 1.5 miles on a thinning forested ridge till you get to the timberline. You'll have a couple good views of your destination along the way .

Nearing the top we found parts of the trail covered with snow. Once past timberline, your on top at ridge level at approximately 5400 feet where you can explore the small peak left of the trail with views of Mt. Rainier to the north, Mt. Adams to the south-east and Mount St. Helens to the south-west. To your right, is the rocky cliff face of Juniper Peak.

Continue on the ridge around the base of Juniper Peak. Once at the backside of Juniper Peak, climb a couple hundred feet to the summit. Approximately 5611 feet in elevation. You'll have a 360 degree view from here of Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, Mount St. Helens and Juniper Peak Ridge which runs North/South. Continue along the ridge for better views of Sunrise and Jumbo Peaks and others along the ridge.

We continued along the ridge for another 1/2 mile past a small peak and returned. Hiking back down the rutted trail proved to be somewhat difficult, however it went quick and hiking on the sides of the rut were easier. I rated this a 4 out of 5 simply because of the trail. The views were 5 stars!

Definitely go on a cloudless day for the best views, however, our partly cloudy day was still gorgeous! On cooler days, bring something to block the wind and cold.

hiking
Thursday, June 19, 2014

I wrote the overview for this trail. I've hike up this mountain probably 6 times with my dad. My dad even created his own trail (0.87 miles in 2700 ft elevation gain) up to Grassy and I'm pretty sure he and I are the only ones crazy enough to hike it in the middle of winter. The actual Purcell trail is a seemingly endless line of switch backs but once on the ridge, you merely hike to the left at the Y and greeted to large open meadows. Like I said, watch for black bears! In the 5 times I've been up here, I've seen a black bear 3.

hiking
Monday, September 09, 2013

Great hike with some territorial views, and access to the PCT. Easy access from Walupt lake.

hiking
Thursday, August 16, 2012

Nice out and back hike. Most of the elevation gain is in the first two miles, then it levels out for the rest of the way to the PCT. Did in the middle of august and there was a very small amount of snow...I'm sure earlier in the year the snow can be a bit of a challenge.

There was nobody on the trail while we were on it (granted it is the middle of the week). We saw a tent near the PCT, but the owner was absent. With about 1 1/2 miles to go, we saw the first person the entire hike.

You can read a much longer review with pictures up on my blog:

http://scottsk.wordpress.com/2012/08/16/car-backpacking-walupt-lake-and-nannie-ridge-trail/

hiking
Sunday, March 11, 2012

A great hike, but back when we last did the trail, we camped at Walupt Lake, and in the late 1990s dogs could even be off leash.

hiking
9 months ago

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