backpack: Indian Heaven – Deep Lake
One night backpacking trip in Indian Heaven Wilderness
Total distance: 15.8 miles with 2,900 ft gain
(2.5 miles, 1,135 ft. elevation gain)
We began our hike in on the Indian Heaven Trail #33. The trailhead is located in the Cultus Creek campground’s day use area. The first mile is all forested and quite steep.
At one mile in, a big opening on a rocky ridge has views towards Mount Adams, Goat Rocks and Mount Rainier. The next mile is forested again, and less steep, but still climbing.
At about 2.3 miles in, a side trail goes to Deep Lake. We found a nice campsite above the lake. When we arrived, there was only one other group camping in the area. The sky was clear and blue, and we could see Mount Adams peeking over the trees above the lake. From our campsite, we could see Mount Rainier through the trees.
DAY HIKE: LAKES BASIN
(6.2 miles with 912 ft. elevation gain)
After we set up camp, we went on a day hike around the lakes basin. Back on trail #33, we took the Lemei Lake trail south to Junction Lake, then took the PCT back north to the Indian Heaven trail #33 and our campsite. The Lemei Lake trail passed through meadow after meadow, filled with huckleberries and grasses. The PCT portion of the hike is through forest, with lakes seen below the trail through the trees.
When we returned back to camp, we discovered that at least three more groups of people were camping, including two families with kids and dogs. For a short time, it sounded more like we were at a campground than backpacking, but everyone was having a good time and quieted down as it got dark. At sunset, I walked around the meadows behind our campsite to take photos, and then watched sunset’s pink streaks in the sky over the lake before going to bed.
DAY HIKE: LEMEI ROCK & VIEWPOINT ABOVE LAKE WAPIKI
(4.3 miles with 768 ft. elevation gain)
After breakfast, we did a day hike to Lemei Rock and the viewpoint above Lake Wapiki. The huckleberries were in brilliant shades of yellow, red and purple, and the berries were ripe and delicious.
(2.5 miles with 1,184 ft. elevation loss)
After our hike, we broke camp, packed up and hiked out.