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Horseshoe Meadow-Lookingglass Lake Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Horseshoe Meadows with Mount Adams in the background (Jerry Adams)
If you continue on the Round-The_Mountain Trail, it's an extra 5 miles to the South side climbing route (Jerry Adams)
Lookingglass Lake is a small lake with views of Mount Adams (Jerry Adams)
The first 5 miles is a long slog through forest on an easy trail (Jerry Adams)
  • Start point: Williams Mine Trailhead
  • Ending Point: Lookingglass Lake
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Distance: 13.2 miles
  • High point: 6,075 feet
  • Elevation gain: 2000 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Summer
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Backpackable: Yes
  • Crowded: Yes


Hike Description

NOTE: The area of this hike was affected by the 2012 Cascade Creek Fire. Around Horseshoe Meadow and Lookingglass Lake, the forest was consumed by the burn.

The hike starts at Williams Mine Trailhead at 4000'. The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) goes north (up) and south (down) from the trailhead. We want to go north.

You could do almost the same hike by hiking up Stagman Ridge, which is a little shorter hike, but the trailhead is on a more difficult road.

In 1/2 mile there is a nice stream and campsite.

The first 5 miles of the hike are through forest, with few views, but the trail is easy (being the PCT). You'll pass the Pacific Crest-Riley South Trail Junction. The Riley South Trail #64A runs north a level two miles to connect with the Riley Creek Trail #64.

At mile 4.9 is the junction with the Stagman Ridge Trail (right). This is the return for this loop hike. The Stagman Ridge Trail starts about 4 miles below at the Stagman Ridge Trailhead (see nwhiker.com Stagman Ridge Hike).

Continue straight on the PCT. At mile 5.1 is the junction with the Round-the-Mountain Trail (9). We want to go right onto this trail. The PCT goes left. Eventually it joins with the Killen Creek Trail (Adams Glacier Meadows Hike and Foggy Flat Hike). Supposedly, there aren't any good campsites or drinking water streams in the next few miles.

Staying right on the Round-the-Mountain Trail, you immediately enter Horseshoe Meadow. Early in the season (July, early August) there is drinking water and nice campsites. The meadow is very scenic with views of Mount Adams.

In the next 1.5 miles there are numerous nice campsites but little drinking water.

At mile 6 is a primitive unmarked trail going up, a nice campsite, and maybe a trickle of water.

At mile 6.2 is the Round-the-Mountain-Lookingglass Lake Trail Junction. Go right to head down to Lookingglass Lake.

At this junction, there is a large stream. Just before the main channel (which is too silty for drinking water) there is a small stream that is clear enough to drink (without clogging your filter). There are a couple nice campsites on either side of the stream. The main stream is big enough to be difficult to cross, especially after heavy rain or early in the season when there's lots of snow melt.

The Round-the-Mountain Trail continues around the mountain. It's about 5 miles to the south side climbing route with excellent alpine views all along the way, many campsites, and several good drinking water streams. There are also some unmarked routes up the mountain for the more adventurous.

Our hike goes down Trail 9A. Lookingglass Lake is at mile 7.1 (5580'). There are several nice campsites on the way, with several good drinking water streams. The trail follows along the main stream which is too silty to drink.

At Lookingglass Lake there are several campsites, but they tend to be busy, and the lake is so small they are not private, so you might prefer to camp along Trail 9A above.

For the loop hike, about 0.1 mile before Lookingglass Lake, is an un-marked trail going west. There is an immediate somewhat difficult crossing of the stream. It's 0.9 miles to the Stagman Ridge-Graveyard Camp Cutoff Junction. Go right (up). In 0.3 miles is the junction with the Pacific Crest Trail, which we came up on, 4.9 miles back to the trailhead.

If the stream crossing is too difficult, or the un-marked trail too difficult to find, you can return the way you came.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • $2 toll each way at the Hood River Bridge


  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Green Trails Maps: Mount Adams, WA #367S
  • Green Trails Maps: Mount Adams West, WA #366
  • 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

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this destination

  • Day Hiking Mount Adams and Goat Rocks by Tami Asars
  • Day Hiking: South Cascades by Dan A. Nelson and Alan L. Bauer
  • Hiking Washington's Mount Adams Country by Fred Barstad
  • Exploring Washington's Wild Areas by Marge & Ted Mueller

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.