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Deer and Sand Lake

South Cascades > White Pass/Cowlitz River Valley
46.6447, -121.3823 Map & Directions
5.2 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
960 feet
Highest Point
5,315 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Hiker at Sand Lake. Photo by Minitramp.
  • Good for kids
  • Lakes

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass
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This easily attainable series of lakes provides a good place for kids and adults alike to splash their feet in the sandy bottom and cool water on warm summer days. Continue reading

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Hiking Deer and Sand Lake

The trail starts off following the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail), ducking into the woods and gently climbing towards your destination.

At 0.4 miles, cross a service road which is used as a cross-country route in the winter; in the summer it seems a bit out of place.

Continue on the PCT and one mile from the trailhead, arrive at a junction with Dark Meadows Trail 1107. Bear left at the junction, staying on the PCT. Just shy of 2 miles from the trailhead, a beautiful meadow appears to the right which often contains the lake’s namesake, blacktail deer, so keep your eyes open.

To the trail’s left is a small spur that leads to Deer Lake’s shoreline, the perfect place for a picnic or a break. If you brought the little ones and they are getting tired, this is a fine turnaround spot.

If gumption allows, keep on rolling to Sand Lake, which is a mostly level 0.6 miles beyond. Sand Lake’s levels fluctuate, providing damp soil for healthy meadow wildflowers such as lupine and mountain bistort, as well as mosquitos. Bring your bug goop!

Hike Description Written by
Tami Asars, WTA Correspondent

Deer and Sand Lake

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 46.6447, -121.3823 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 Packwood, drive northeast on US 12 for 20.3 miles to just past the summit of White Pass. Look for a small dirt road signed for the Pacific Crest Trail North. Follow the narrow dirt road north for 0.2 mile, passing Leech Lake and locate the Pacific Crest Trail parking area to the right.

More Hike Details


South Cascades > White Pass/Cowlitz River Valley

Sand Lake (#60)

Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Naches Ranger District

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: South Cascades (Nelson - Mountaineers)

Green Trails No. 303 White Pass

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Deer and Sand Lake

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