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Deep Lake

South Cascades > Mount Adams Area
46.0480, -121.7548 Map & Directions
5.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
900 feet
Highest Point
5,100 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
  • Mountain views
  • Dogs allowed on leash
  • Established campsites
  • Ridges/passes
  • Old growth
  • Good for kids
  • Lakes

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass
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This moderate in-and-out trail makes a lovely picnic destination, or ideal short backpack, to a brilliant blue lake with peeks of Mount Adams. Continue reading

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Hiking Deep Lake

From the trailhead at the Cultus Lake Campground, fill out your self-issue wilderness permit and start climbing, immediately entering the Indian Heaven Wilderness.

Views are limited to the surrounding Douglas-fir forest, but if you listen carefully you can hear the sound of Cultus Creek trickling down the hillside in the near distance. After the first mile, near the end of most of the climbing, a viewpoint opens up showcasing the nearby peaks: Sawtooth Mountain, Mount Rainier, the Goat Rocks and Mount Adams.

Take a moment to gaze at this beautiful vista before you continue climbing for another 0.4 mile, where you come under the rocky cliffs of Bird Mountain. Here the trail levels out and turns south. Wander through pleasant pocket meadows and stands of forest lined with plenty of flora. Munch on sun-ripened huckleberry and take in the vividly colored wildflowers that surround you.

At 2.2 miles, come to a junction at the corner of Cultus Lake and turn left. Proceed over the bridge spanning the lake’s outlet—Cultus Creek—and continue 0.3 mile eastward. The way is rooty and rutty in places, so watch your footing.

The trail ends at the shore of aptly named, vividly-hued Blue Lake, an ideal spot for a picnic. To the east, Mount Adams’ snowy summit rises above the forest. The shores of Deep Lake offer many likely resting places with beautiful views of the snowcapped volcano.

If you're planning on camping, follow a faint path left to a large campsite on the northwest corner of the lake, or head right to a smaller campsite on the east side slope.

WTA Pro Tip: Basecamp at the Cultus Lake Campground and spend several days exploring the Indian Heaven Wilderness on a variety of moderate day hikes.

WTA worked here in 2020 and 2018!

Hike Description Written by
Eli Boschetto, WTA Community

Deep Lake

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 46.0480, -121.7548 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

From Trout Lake, drive west on SR 141 for 8 miles to the junction at Peterson Prairie. Turn right onto FR 24 and continue another 8 miles to the Cultus Creek Campground. Trailhead parking is at the back of the campground loop.

More Hike Details


South Cascades > Mount Adams Area

Deep Lake (#33.1)

Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Mount Adams Ranger District

Guidebooks & Maps

Green Trails No. 365 Mount Lone Butte

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Deep Lake

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