Cramer Mountain Loop


Backpack - Dumbbell Lake

Explore the most beautiful area of the William O. Douglas Wilderness on one of the less crowded South Cascades trails, camping at a spectacular lake, with a Sunday loop day hiking opportunity past multiple pristine alpine lakes, providing a less crowded and closer to home version of the popular Indian Heaven Wilderness.

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  • Moderate
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 8.8 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 900 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 5,400 ft
  • Pace: 2.0 mph

Meet at 9 AM Saturday at the Dog Lake Campground trailhead parking lot on  the north side of SR 12, a mile east of White Pass, reached from Enumclaw by going  east on SR 410, right onto SR 123 at Cayuse Pass and left onto SR 12 at the T junction.  From Olympia, drive south on I-5 and east on SR 12.  A Northwest Forest Pass or National Park Pass must be displayed by each car at the trailhead parking lot.  Parking there is severely limited.  Last year only the first arriving car found a parking place there and the others had to be shuttled to a parking area along SR 12.  So carpooling is critically important. 

There are two restrooms at the Dog Lake Campground, where we meet.  The hike in is mostly level for the first 1.5 miles.  At the 1.3 mile point, the route crosses a stream where there is the option of crossing a round log about a foot wide or fording the stream.  Time will be allowed for everyone to cross by their preferred method.  All but one time I have been able to ford the stream in my boots without getting either foot wet.  It just takes careful route planning.

Shortly after the stream crossing, the trail begins a steady rise of 600 feet that plateaus after about a mile and takes us by a viewpoint of Dog Lake, where we can stop for pictures.   After a rest stop (and possible lunch stop) at Cramer Lake, we'll hike the last mile, with 100 feet gain, to Dumbbell Lake, where we set up camp for two nights.  If the weather permits, there will be a swimming opportunity in the afternoon.  We'll have a camp dinner in the evening.

Sunday there will be an optional mostly level 5 mile loop day hike by many of the beautiful alpine lakes in the area, with a trail lunch at one of them.  Part of the loop will be on the Pacific Crest Trail, where last year there was a through hiker passing by about once a minute.  They have interesting stories to tell.

We'll have a camp dinner Sunday evening and Monday morning we'll have a camp breakfast, break camp and hike out by the route we hiked in.  On the drive home there will be the option for a lunch stop at the Naches Tavern in Greenwater, or possibly at White Pass, if we find a suitable eatery there.  


Cramer Mountain Loop

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

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 extra stuff sack and cord designated for hanging food
  • Cooking pot/pan with plate and utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel or blue bag to deal with waste
Trip Reports