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Difference between revisions of "Junction Lake-Bear Lake Loop Hike"

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

(New hike)

Revision as of 17:54, 10 November 2019

Junction Lake, Indian Heaven (bobcat)
Fir-rimmed meadow, East Crater Trail (bobcat)
Tarn, East Crater Trail (bobcat)
The East Crater Trail to Junction Lake (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: East Crater TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Bear Lake
  • Trail Log:
  • Distance: 8.7 miles
  • Hike type: Lollipop loop
  • Elevation gain: 1220 feet
  • High Point: 5045 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Summer into Fall
  • Family Friendly: Yes, for older kids
  • Backpackable: Yes
  • Crowded: Yes


Hike Description

The Indian Heaven Wilderness offers several loop opportunities for day hikers. While the popular Thomas Lake Trailhead, which leads to a string of lakes, gets a lot of attention, this lollipop loop from the East Crater Trailhead attracts somewhat smaller crowds and adds a little more variety, with more remote lakes and the meadow-studded Lemei Lake Trail being the highlights. Optional diversions include a trip up the East Creter (See the Junction Lake Hike), the spur to Elk Lake (See the Elk Lake Add-on Hike), and visits to Cultus Lake and Deep Lake.

The trail heads in past a wilderness permit station in montane forest of lichen-draped mountain hemlock, Douglas-fir, noble and silver fir as well as the odd western larch. Note the hemlock drilled with sapsucker holes right at the trailhead. Cross a boggy area on stepping stones. The path rises through bear-grass and huckleberry bushes and crosses a couple of rocky stream beds, the second on a footbridge. Cross two more footbridges and pass an abandoned trail bed leading to the right. Cross a stream on a footbridge, and then pass a wet meadow and wind up a slope. Pass a couple more small meadows and then one more with a shallow tarn, where you'll observe fire-charred conifers from the 2017 East Crater Fire. Rise alongside the small creek; the trail heads along the south side of a linear meadow with the steep slope of the East Crater to the left. Get a view of Junction Lake on the right. Reach the Pacific Crest-East Crater Trail Junction, and make a right.

Soon reach a footbridge and then keep left at the Pacific Crest-Lemei Lake Trail Junction (This is the return point to close the loop).


  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Green Trails Maps: Wind River, WA #397 and 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.

  • Self-issued wilderness permit at trailhead

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this destination

  • Hiking Washington's Mount Adams Country by Fred Barstad
  • Day Hiking Mount Adams and Goat Rocks by Tami Asars
  • 95 Virtual Hikes of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument by Northwest Hiker
  • 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington by William L. Sullivan
  • Portland Hikes by Art Bernstein & Andrew Jackman
  • Best Hikes With Kids: Western Washington & the Cascades by Joan Burton
  • 33 Hiking Trails: Southern Washington Cascades by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • Skamania 231: A Scrambler's Guide by Kelly Wagner (East Crater)
  • Exploring Washington's Wild Areas by Marge & Ted Mueller
  • Indian Heaven Back Country by Mel Hansen

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.