Day Hiking: South Cascades
by Dan A. Nelson (The Mountaineers Books)
© 2007 Dan A. Nelson /The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.
Beautiful trail for what we saw of it. This was the first mountain hike I took my 15 year old son on (we are from out east) and we were eaten alive by mosquitos, even with the bug spray. We turned back at 2 miles and went to Packwood, where we did the trail out to Lake Packwood and back instead. We'll give it another go later in the season with additional attire!
A beautiful hike, moderate to difficult, but worth the effort. We found a few blow downs crossing the trail inthe forest, but nothing insurmounatble. We went up the third week in July after warm temperatures had melted most snow patches. One snow bridge had collapsed on our return trip, almost obliterating the trail. We had to scramble down a short but steep creek imbankment and up the other side to get back to the trail. All snow should be gone by now (August 2). The wildflowers in the Heart Lake Caldera were peaking. We saw a heard of 25 to 30 mountain goat. Pleanty of water after about 5 miles in from the trail head at Forest Service road 48. Heart Lake makes a good first stop to camp before going on to Goat Lake the next day. We stayed at Heart Lake for two nights and enjoyed the stars and sunshine. Now's the time to head to Goat Rocks. Oh yea, bring your bug spray. The black flys are hungry!
my wife and i took this trail during an extra clear three-day stretch and were blessed with spectacular views of mt. rainier and the surrounding basin. the trail is high on a ridge and is very steep at times with portions washed out and kinda dangerous. there was a beautiful lake about 5 miles in for camping, and even into september there was still plenty of snow at higher elevations so bring at least treking poles (VERY STEEP!) overall, an awsome experience, but the clear weather and the views made the trail...would HATE to do it in the rain.
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