Home  •   Field Guide  •   Forums  •    Unread Posts  •   Maps  •   Find a Hike!
| Page | Discussion | View source | History | Print Friendly and PDF

Deep Lake Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Mt. Adams and Sleeping Beauty from the Indian Heaven Trail, Indian Heaven Wilderness (bobcat)
Spire on Bird Mountain above Indian Heaven Trail (bobcat)
Cultus Creek where it passes under a footbridge on the Deep Lake Trail near Cultus Lake (bobcat)
Deep Lake with Mt. Adams behind (bobcat)
The route of the Indian Heaven Trail #33 to Deep Lake (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo/USFS
  • Start point: Indian Heaven TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Deep Lake
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 5.4 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1270 feet
  • High point: 5,155 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Summer to mid-fall
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: Yes
  • Crowded: No


Hike Description

A short foray into the Indian Heaven Wilderness takes you up the eastern slope of craggy Bird Mountain to sparkling Deep Lake with its view of Mount Adams. This is an excellent introductory backpack as the Indian Heaven Trail is well-graded, there are campsites near the shore of the lake, and you can indulge in huckleberry gathering in season (late August). Also, Deep Lake lives up to its name and is one of the most swimmable Indian Heaven lakes. For a longer loop all the way around Bird Mountain, see the Bird Mountain Loop Hike.

From the Indian Heaven Trailhead, head into a stand of old-growth Engelmann spruce, cross a small creek, and begin climbing a slope to pass the wilderness sign. Traverse the eastern slope of Bird Mountain in a mixed conifer woodland of spruce, mountain hemlock, noble fir, and silver fir. Continuing ascending, with Cultus Creek burbling to your left. At a switchback, you'll get a magnificent view of Mount Adams and Goat Rocks and then also Steamboat Mountain, Mount Rainier, and nearby Sawtooth Mountain. The trail levels on a turnpike as you pass a small meadow, getting views up to the rocky crest of Bird Mountain. Cross a small stream, and continue to rise in hemlock and fir forest. Pass a meadow and tarn, and reach the Indian Heaven-Deep Lake Trail Junction.

Turn left on the quarter-mile spur trail to Deep Lake. Cross Cultus Creek on a footbridge near where it flows out from Cultus Lake. Hike up a slope to reach Deep Lake. Standing on the south shore, you'll see Mount Adams' snowy summit peeking above the surrounding forest. Paths lead left and right to access campsites.


  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Green Trails Maps: Lone Butte, WA #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.

  • Northwest Forest Pass required
  • Self-issued wilderness permit
  • Wilderness restrictions apply

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A


  • Hiking Washington's Mount Adams Country by Fred Barstad
  • Day Hiking Mount Adams and Goat Rocks by Tami Asars
  • 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington by William L. Sullivan
  • 95 Virtual Hikes of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument by Northwest Hiker
  • Exploring Washington's Wild Areas by Marge & Ted Mueller
  • Indian Heaven Back Country by Mel Hansen

More Links


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.