Trip Report: Indian Heaven Wilderness, Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Location: Indian Heaven Wilderness, Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Conditions: Mostly sunny and clear. Daytime temps in the mid 60s
Duration: 2 days/1 night
Kid Friendly: Yes
Dog Friendly: No
Usefull links: www.fs.usda.gov
The Full Report:
In June, I decided to do an early season overnight to get some quality time in nature. I have been to Indian Heaven wilderness twice before but never to explore the many lakes. My prior two trips were to get to the top of Lemei Rock.
Accessibility to this area is easy from Portland with several trailheads to choose from. I chose East Crater because of the short and easy approach to Bear Lake. I was planning to make this a lollipop with another visit to Lemei Rock. Almost immediately patches of snow began to appear and soon enough patches turned into full coverage. I began to worry that finding a campsite might be a challenge and I might have to bail on my plans due to lack of proper equipment.
It all worked out in the end. After some scouting once arriving at Bear Lake, I found a lovely established campsite on the west side of the lake. I had a relaxing evening with the sun setting behind me through the trees. The sun greeted me in the morning rising over the trees and lake to start another beautiful day.
After packing up camp I continued hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail to the junction for Lemei Rock. I dropped my pack at the second junction and started off for Lemei Rock. The going was relatively easy in the soft snow, sans pack. The view was well worth the adventure. Helens and Adams are so close you can practically touch them. Also, Rainier and Hood can be seen from the summit. Full 360-degree views.
My plans worked out perfectly. I cruised back down to my pack and back out to the car. A successful overnight despite the snowy conditions. I’m sure it has melted out now, and with the many lakes, there are sure to be plenty of campsites to choose from. I highly recommend visiting this small slice of nature.