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Sleeping Beauty Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Mt. Adams from Sleeping Beauty (bobcat)
Last little part of the ascent, Sleeping Beauty (bobcat)
Peering goat on Sleeping Beauty (bobcat)
Sketch of the trail route to the summit of Sleeping Beauty (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Sleeping Beauty Trailhead
  • Ending Point: Sleeping Beauty
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 3.0 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1430 feet
  • High Point: 4,907 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Summer, Fall
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Sometimes


Hike Description

From the Trout Lake Valley, the profile of Sleeping Beauty resembles a maiden in repose, her petrified locks cascading down the south slope, her tears no doubt the bubbling source of Skull Creek. The short, steep hike up here, mostly switchbacking in shady woods until you get to the last tightly coiled section of the ascent, is a good family outing and rewards with expansive views of the Cascades, the spine of Indian Heaven, and the settled valleys to the south. Hike early or late and you will avoid most other visitors and perhaps also get a glimpse of one of Sleeping Beauty's permanent residents, a shy mountain goat!

At the trailhead, the Preston family is given credit for maintaining this trail. The path ascends through Douglas-fir, grand fir, thimbleberry, vine maples, wild rose, boxwood, pipsissewa, trailing blackberry, bracken, ocean spray and hazel. Wind steeply up and soon you will encounter larger trees. Traverse up and switchback twice and then do another long traverse. Switchback again and keep ascending. Now some silver fir and noble fir enter the forest mix. There are two more switchbacks before you see the rocky summit of Sleeping Beauty looming ahead through the trees. Switchback again to the ridge crest in predominantly silver fir woods with some mountain hemlock. Head along the ridge crest, ignoring a spur trail to a forest road to the north on your left, and then rise steeply up to the north side of the rock among mountain hemlocks. Switchback at a small talus slope and then switchback again at the base of the rock. There’s one more switchback and then you get a view of snowy Goat Rocks to the north. Switchback below a notch in the rock and get a head-on view of Mount Adams. In the fall, you will see larches lighting the forest like candles below. Then there are a series of mini-switchbacks on a constructed trail to the top of the rock.

Here, get your first views of Mount Saint Helens, Mount Rainier, and Mount Hood. To the right, you can scramble to the site of the old lookout. Mountain goats inhabit the rock and you can search for their sign (droppings, wallows, wool). To get to the east side of the rock, scramble up and down through the rocks. There are more expansive views of the mountains and the Trout Lake valley. Try to find the secluded last resting place of Tuter the Turtle. Stunted Douglas-fir, noble fir, mountain hemlock and ponderosa pine populate the summit area. Continue to quietly explore the top of Sleeping Beauty, and you may run into a goat or two!

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • $2 toll each way at the Hood River Bridge


  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • 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

  • 95 Virtual Hikes of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument by Northwest Hiker
  • Skamania 231: A Scrambler's Guide by Kelly Wagner
  • Washington's South Cascades' Volcanic Landscapes by Marge and Ted Mueller
  • Day Hiking Mount Adams and Goat Rocks by Tami Asars
  • Best Short Hikes in Washington's South Cascades & Olympics by E.M. Sterling & Ira Spring
  • Hiking Washington's Mount Adams Country by Fred Barstad
  • Curious Gorge by Scott Cook
  • Day Hiking: South Cascades by Dan A. Nelson & Alan L. Bauer
  • Best Hikes With Kids: Western Washington & the Cascades by Joan Burton
  • 33 Hiking Trails: Southern Washington Cascades by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • Lookouts: Firewatchers of the Cascades and Olympics by Ira Spring & Byron Fish
  • Washington's Columbia River Gorge: Camping & Hiking by Tom Stienstra & Scott Leonard
  • Washington Hiking by Scott Leonard
  • Pacific Northwest Hiking by Scott Leonard & Megan McMorris

More Links

Page 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.