Indian Heaven via Thomas Lake


Backpack - Indian Heaven via Thomas Lake

Backpack in five miles through the best berry country in Washington, past nine magnificent alpine lakes, to beautiful Junction Lake, where we camp two nights, and do an optional seven mile loop day hike on Sunday, past more berries and eight other beautiful lakes, at one of which we'll have our lunch and do a swim, if weather permits, with a 700 foot elevation gain on Saturday, 500 feet on Sunday and 200 feet on Monday.

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  • Sat, Sep 2, 2017 — Mon, Sep 4, 2017
  • Tacoma Hiking & Backpacking Committee
  • Backpacking
  • 20-30 Somethings, Families, Adults, Singles, Youth, Retired Rovers
  • Easy
  • Easy
  • Mileage: 10.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 900 ft

Meet at 10 AM Saturday at the Lone Fir Cafe in Cougar, WA, reached by heading south on I-5, turning east at Woodland onto SR 503.  Allow at least three hours driving time from Seattle.

Indian Heaven is one of the most beautiful backpacking areas of the Washington Cascades and has more huckleberry bushes and lakes than anywhere else you will hike in the State.  The limited distance and elevation gain makes this a suitable trip for families with young children.  At the 10 AM meeting time at the Lone Fir Cafe in Cougar we will have an early hot lunch to fuel up for the hike in to Junction Lake.  We will caravan from Cougar to the Thomas Lake trailhead, which will take one hour on roads nearly all paved.  It takes about three hours to drive from Seattle to Cougar. The hike in from Thomas Lake trailhead to our campsite at Junction Lake will take about three hours and get us there in time to have camp set up before we need to prepare dinner.  Following dinner on Saturday and Sunday nights, we will have smores around the campfire.  Sunday's optional 7 mile loop day hike, with 500 feet elevation gain, will pass 8 lakes.  We will stop at Elk, Clear, Deep and Lemei Lakes and have lunch and a swim at whichever one we are at closest to Noon.  Because we need to keep the group together on this day hike, everyone going on this hike will need to do the hike as planned.  Those not able to do so, will need to remain in camp on Sunday, where there will be opportunities to swim in Junction Lake, toss frisbees, fly kites or just relax and read a book.  On the drive home, we will have an opportunity for another meal together at the Lone Fir Cafe in Cougar.  A Northwest Forest Pass, or the equivalent, will need to be displayed by each car parked at the Thomas Lake trailhead.  There are restrooms at the Lone Fir Cafe and at the Thomas Lake trailhead, but not on our hiking route, so prepare accordingly.  Weather varies at this time of year, so be prepared for  sun, rain, cold and warm weather.  The timing of this trip was selected to avoid bugs, which have not been a problem the past two years on this weekend, but it is recommended to have bug spray and a head net with you, in case they are needed. 



Indian Heaven via Thomas Lake

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
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