Indian Heaven Wilderness Area

MapTech: Go to>Place Finder: Indian Heaven

Resources: SCSO, EMS: SCEMS, Primary SAR: Wind River SAR, Alternate SAR: VRT

Notes: One of two wilderness areas in Skamania County. This 20,000-acre Wilderness straddling the crest of the Cascades was established in 1984. Indian Heaven is a plateau averaging 4,500 feet in elevation. There are more than 150 lakes and ponds among subalpine forests and meadows within this Wilderness.

Indian Heaven contains many trails, covering several miles. The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT) #2000 Runs north to south through the center of the wilderness area. The lower elevations are wooded, with several popular huckleberry picking areas. The upper elevations contain the lakes and subalpine meadows. Many abandoned trails are not shown on current maps, and remain well used.

SAR: Extraction on most trails may be facilitated by conventional trail stokes evacuation. Some abandoned trails may present challenges to a stokes team because of no maintenance. Many side trails, and abandoned trails, may not show up on maps, and may cause confusion particularly at night.

Indian Heaven Wilderness Area Map

Area Road Map (pdf)

Wilderness Area: The Wilderness designation prohibits the use of motorized vehicles & equipment unless it is a life-or-death emergency.

Trails (clockwise from the south):

Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) #2000 (South end)

MapTech: Import Track>My Documents>SAR>Tracks: PC Ind.txf

Trailhead: Crest Horse Camp, on the 60 Rd. (R8E, T5N, Sec 21). The PCT continues north to the 24 Rd. (R8E, T7N, Sec 14).

Note: The course of the PCT has been shifted east, up off the meadows and more into the timber to protect the fragile meadow environment. The old trail remains, and is still popular with many hikers even though it is not shown on the newer maps. This may lead to some confusion, and should be factored into any planning process.

Trail 171

Trailhead: Falls Creek Horse Camp, on the 65 Rd. mp 15 (R8E, T6N, Sec 31). This trail heads southeast, climbing up to the Indian Race Track (R8E, T5N, Sec 5), and on to the summit of Red Mt. (R8E, T5N, Sec 8). Just north of the Indian Race Track, the 171A trail connects to the PCT.

Access: Falls Creek Horse Camp (Road 65) and Road 6048

Length: 3.1 miles (5.0 km)

Elevation: High: 4,200 feet, Low: 3.500 feet

Special Conditions: Difficult to cross Falls Creek in the early season due to winter melts.

Description: This heavily used trail is located in the southwestern portion of Indian Heaven Wilderness, near Red Mountain. Beginning at Falls Creek Horse Camp, the trail travels southeastward through second-growth forests and crosses Falls Creek with a natural crossing. The trail enters the wilderness, then climbs through rocky terrain for 1 mile to a meadow where the grade flattens. This area is called Indian Race Track. At this point, Trail #171A leaves Trail #171 and heads east for 0.5 mile before connecting with the Pacific Crest Trail. Trail #171 climbs from Indian Race Track to Road 6048 near the summit of Red Mountain.

Basin Lakes (Darlene Lakes)

Description: Also out of the Falls Creek Horse Camp is an abandoned trail to Basin Lakes (R8E, T6N, Sec 28/29). This trail also connects with the PCT, in the saddle between Berry Mt. and Gifford Peak.

Just north of Falls Creek, this trail cuts off the 171 trail to the east. While it has been abandoned and has some blowdown, the trail remains fairly easy to follow to the lakes. There the trail becomes diffused among the lakes, and is difficult to follow – however, traveling due east, the PCT is easy to find at the top of the ridge; after a steep climb.

Thomas Lake Trail #111

MapTech: Import Track >My Documents>SAR>Tracks: 111.txf

Trailhead: 65 Rd. mp 18 just north of jct. w/6507 (R8E, T6N, Sec 17). A very popular trail that heads east, into the heart of Indian Heaven’s meadows. Lakes along the trail include Dee, Heather, Thomas, Eunice, Brader, Naha and Rock Lake. At Rock Lake, the trail turns south to Blue Lake, passing Lake Umtux and Lake Sahalee Tyee. From Rock Lake, a section of the old PCT heads north to Acker Lake.

Placid Lake Trail #29

Trailhead: 420 Rd, mp 1, off the 30 Rd. (R8E, T7N, Sec 33). Note: Because of a washed out bridge, this is not accessible by the 65 Rd. from the south. Trail 29 heads south to Placid Lake, and from there turns east to intersect the PCT near Bird Mt.

Trail 29A continues south from Placid Lake to Chenamus Lake, from there an abandoned section of 29A swings southeast to meet the PCT south of Acker Lake, near Rush Creek.

PCT #2000 (North end)

Trailhead: 24 Rd, just south of jct. w/30 Rd (R8E, T7N, Sec 14). The PCT heads south into Indian Heaven, through the Sawtooth berry fields, and past Sawtooth Mt.

Trail #108

Trailhead: Cultus Creek Campground, on the 24 Rd (R8E, T7N, Sec 36). This trail heads west, up over the north flank of Bird Mt., and intersects with the PCT.

Access: Cultus Creek Campground (Road 24) and PCT #2000

Length: 1.5 miles (2.4 km)

Elevation: High: 4,900 feet, Low: 4,000 feet.

Description: This heavily used trail begins at Cultus Creek Campground, enters the wilderness and climbs semi-open slopes toward the summit of Bird Mountain, a 1.5-mile-long backbone ridge. The trail climbs 1,200 feet in elevation before passing through a saddle at 5,237 elevation where you will be rewarded with views of the west slope of Mt. Adams. Beyond the saddle, the trail enters large timber and eventually connects with the Pacific Crest Trail.

Just north of the intersection is Trail #185, west to Wood Lake.

Indian Heaven Trail #33

Trailhead: Cultus Creek Campground, on the 24 Rd (R8E, T7N, Sec 36). This trail heads southwest toward Bird Mt. and then south to Cultus Lake. #33A leads east to Deep Lake. Trail #33 turns west, past Clear Lake, to intersect the PCT near Deer Lake.

Access: Cultus Creek Campground (Road 24) or Pacific Crest Trail #2000

Length: 3.3 miles (5.3 km)

Elevation: High: 5,000 feet, Low: 4,000 feet

Description: From the Cultus Creek Campground, the trail climbs steeply through heavy timber. The grade eases as the trail skirts the base of Bird Mountain. (The trail climbs from 4,100 feet to 5,100 feet by the time it reaches Cultus Lake, approximately 2 miles from the trailhead.) At 5,100 feet elevation, the trail passes through several small meadows with spectacular wildflower displays. The trail passes Trail #33A, a short side trail that descends to Deep Lake, then continues to a saddle viewpoint below Lemei Rock. The main trail continues past the shore of Cultus Lake, then drops down to end on the Pacific Crest Trail near Deer Lake.

Filloon Trail #102

Trailhead: Little Goose Horse Camp off the 24 Rd. (R9E, T6N, Sec 5). A short trail leading to Trail #34.

Lemei Trail #34

Trailhead: Near Smoky Creek Campground on the 24 Rd. (R9E, T6N, Sec 4). This trail heads west into central Indian Heaven. Trail #34A leads a short distance southwest to Lake Wapiki.

Access: Road 24 or Trail #33

Length: 5.3 miles (8.5 km)

Elevation: High: 5,400 feet, Low: 3,600 feet

Description: This trail originates on Road 24 and passes through a second-growth forest. The trail then climbs to the ridge line, enters the wilderness, and intersects with Trail #102. Passing Lake Wapiki Trail #34A, the trail climbs steeply to open meadow slopes, providing excellent views of the lake and Lemei Rock before descending to Trail #33 near Cultus Lake.

East Crater Trail #48

Trailhead: 6035 Rd. north of Forlorn Lakes (R8E, T6N, Sec 26). Trail #48 goes northwest, past East Crater, to Junction Lake.

Access: Road 6035 or PCT #2000

Length: 2.5 miles (4.0 km)

Elevation: High: 4,900 feet, Low: 4,000 feet

Description: This moderately used trail is one of the main access routes from the east into the central part of Indian Heaven Wilderness. From Road 6035, the trail climbs gradually through a thick mountain hemlock forest, past a series of small meadows, shallow lakes, and ponds. The trail continues into alpine forests of noble and true fir before reaching the shore of Junction Lake, where it ends at the Pacific Crest Trail near the junction with Trail #179. Junction Lake sits at an elevation of 4,730 feet.