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Lemei Rock via Lemei Trail Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Lake Wapiki from Lemei Rock Trail (romann)
After about 3.5 miles from the trailhead there are several good viewpoints toward Mt. Adams (romann)
Take a faint trail going along the left (southeast) side of Lemei Rock. Find a good lunch spot at the base of the rock, or scramble up a bit to see a view of Mt. Adams (romann)
Huckleberries along the Lemei Rock trail (Jeff Statt)
Map of the Route
  • Start point: Lemei TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Lemei Rock
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Out and Back
  • Distance: 9.2 miles round trip
  • Elevation gain: 2285 feet
  • High Point: 5,925 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Summer - Fall (Mosquitoes are heavy until mid-summer)
  • Family Friendly: Older Children (8 and up)
  • Crowded: No

Contents

Hike Description

Lemei Rock is the highest point in the Indian Heaven Wilderness, towering 500 feet above the surrounding lake-filled high meadows. While it's a moderately difficult scramble to the summit itself, there are several buttes and lookouts around the crater formed at its base that boast magnificent vistas. On a clear day, you will be treated to views up to six major Cascade Peaks, including a premiere front porch view of Mount Adams to the northeast. The Lemei Trail from either the Lemei Trailhead or the Filloon Trailhead is the closest approach to Lemei Rock. Note that from Lake Wapiki to the very summit of Lemei Rock, the mosquitoes can be quite voracious until the middle of August.

This hike starts at Lemei Trailhead. Look for a brown road sign for "Lemei Trail" (Trail #34), which starts across the road from trailhead parking. The wilderness self-registration station is a few yards further into the woods. The trail goes generally west; it gains very little elevation for the first 1.5 miles. At mile 1.0, reach the Lemei-Filloon Trail Junction. Keep straight, and soon pass a wilderness sign. At about 1.5 miles the trail starts to climb steeper and goes through a couple of switchbacks. You may see Mount Adams through the trees at one point if you look back, but the trail still goes through the woods and through occasional small huckleberry meadows.

At mile 3.0, you will veer left at the old junction with the Wapiki Lake Trail and reach the new Lemei-Wapiki Lake Trail Junction. The latter trail (#34A) continues off to the left. It's only 0.4 mile from here to the lake and it's worth a visit (See the Lake Wapiki Hike), but for the purpose of this hike keep right on the main trail, which steepens and becomes more rugged.

In about a quarter mile after the junction with trail #34A the things open up a bit and become more interesting. You'll start to see short trails to the left, which go to Lake Wapiki viewpoints (Watch children near the cliffs). Soon the lake is visible from the trail itself, Mount Adams looms large behind your back, and Mount Rainier and Goat Rocks are sometimes visible through the trees on the right. You'll come through pretty large "dead meadow" of cinders which stays bare year-round for some reason. At this point the climb ends; soon the large Lemei Rock will be visible through a fir thicket on your left. As the Rock comes into view, find the unsigned Lemei-Lemei Rock Trail Junction, and move off to your left, or just go through thicket a few yards, and you'll come to a park-like meadow that goes along the southeastern side of Lemei Rock. There's a small trail that comes along the base of Lemei Rock - go about 1/10th of a mile to where the trail starts to climb directly up the 300 feet high Rock monolith. Stop at this point if you are not going to climb; this place makes a beautiful lunch spot. You may scramble up a bit to see a view of Mount Adams. There are a lot of ground squirrels live among the rocks (Don't leave your lunch unattended), but please don't feed them or they will have trouble to re-adjust to their natural food when people leave.

If you do plan to climb Lemei Rock, make for the obvious chute or gully on the left side. This is the easiest way up. Avoid any loose scree and, once at the hard rock, stick to right side of the gully before crossing over to make the scramble up to join the use trail that leads to the summit. On a clear day, there are vistas from Mount Hood to Mount Rainier and over the entire expanse of Indian Heaven, including the prominences of Sawtooth Mountain, Bird Mountain, East Crater, Gifford Peak, and Berry Mountain. While in the summit area, search also for signs of mountain goat habitation as these creatures have been visiting the peak in recent times.

If you choose to continue on trail #34 beyond Lemei Rock, you'll come to a junction with Indian Heaven Trail (#33), near Cultus Lake (another possible destination) in 1.8 miles.

Maps

  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Green Trails: Mt. Adams West, WA No. 366 and Lone Butte, WA No. 365
  • Indian Heaven (USFS)
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Adams Wilderness, Indian Heaven Wilderness, Trapper Creek Wilderness
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Adams Ranger District
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Gifford Pinchot National Forest
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount St. Helens - Mt. Adams

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Self-issued wilderness permit
  • $1 toll at Hood River Bridge

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this destination

  • Hiking Washington's Mount Adams Country by Fred Barstad
  • 95 Virtual Hikes of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument by Northwest Hiker
  • Washington's South Cascades' Volcanic Landscapes by Marge and Ted Mueller
  • Skamania 231: A Scrambler's Guide by Kelly Wagner (Lemei Rock)
  • 33 Hiking Trails: Southern Washington Cascades by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • Exploring Washington's Wild Areas by Marge & Ted Mueller
  • Indian Heaven Back Country by Mel Hansen
  • Washington Hiking by Scott Leonard
  • Pacific Northwest Hiking by Scott Leonard & Megan McMorris

More Links


Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.