Backpack - Ancient Lake


Backpack - Ancient Lake

Preference to Tacoma Introduction to Backpacking students. Trip will open to all Mountaineers to register on April 30.

  • Easy
  • Easy
  • Mileage: 6.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 625 ft
  • Pace: 1.5 to 2 mph

10am Ancient Lakes Lower Trailhead. More details under Leader's notes!

Preference to Tacoma Introduction to Backpacking students. Trip will open to all Mountaineers to register on April 30.

This early-season backpack trip will take us to a sunny and dry destination just east of the Columbia River where we will find seasonal wildflowers, interesting geological features, and a rare desert waterfall.

This will be an easy trip ideal for beginning backpackers. We will focus on dialing in our backpacking gear, get experience setting up, breaking down camp, and get excited for longer, more challenging trips to come.

We will hike 1 to 2 mph average moving pace adjusting as needed for our group and trail conditions.

We will meet at the trailhead at 10:00 am ready to hike. It's about a 3 hour drive to this area from Tacoma. If you think you might want help adjusting your pack you can get there a little earlier and I could give you a hand. I'll get to the trailhead around 9:45 am.

Once we get to camp, we can set up and hang out for a bit. After a break, we can explore and wander on the nearby trails

NOTE: None of the water in the lakes is drinkable. You MUST carry all of the water you will need for dinner and breakfast and for the walk to and from the campsite. Everyone must carry at least four liters of water, and bring additional water to store in the car as a backup supply

We will start at the Ancient Lakes Lower Trailhead. Google maps link:

Take Exit 149 off of I-5, turn left and drive 5.6 miles north on SR-281 toward Quincy. Turn left onto White Trail Road, drive 7.8 miles, turn left onto Road 9-NW. Drive 5.9 miles as the road descends steeply down to Babcock Bench at the road's end. Avoid parking in a  way that blocks the gate which provides access to a private driveway.

Discover Pass is required to park at the TH. You will need to purchase this before the trip if you don't already have one.


Ancient Lake

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

To be discussed at lecture for Introduction to Backpacking course students.

The Ten Essentials plus overnight gear which may include:

  • Tent with footprint/ground tarp
  • Stove and fuel
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Water filter
  • Bear canister or Ursack
  • Cooking pot/pan with plate and utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel or blue bag to deal with waste
Trip Reports