Indian Heaven via Thomas Lake


Backpack - Indian Heaven via Thomas Lake

Experience the most beautiful area of the Cascades, with the most alpine lakes and huckleberries, missing both the bugs and the Labor Day weekend crowds, camping two nights at picturesque Junction Lake and doing an optional easy loop day hike on Saturday past 8 other beautiful lakes. We will swim at one of them during our lunch stop, if the weather permits.

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  • Easy
  • Mileage: 6.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 600 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 5,100 ft
  • Pace: 2.0 mph

Meet at 11 AM Friday at the Lone Fir Cafe, 16806 Lewis River Road, Cougar, WA. 98616,  It is reached from I-5 by taking Exit 21, signed Woodland, turning left onto SR 503, signed to Cougar and turning left into the Lone Fir Resort parking lot.

At the Lone Fir Cafe, which has covered outdoor dining, we will have an early hot lunch to fuel up for our hike.  There are two restrooms there and public restrooms are located across the road.  After lunch, we will caravan to the trailhead parking lot, involving  heading turning left onto SR 503, which becomes FR 90, turning right onto Curly Creek Road, left at FR 30 right onto FR 6507, left at FR 65 and right into the Thomas Lake trailhead parking lot.  The entire driving route is paved, except for the last four miles  on Forest Roads 6507 and 65, which are well maintained, allowing speedy travel.  The trailhead parking lot fills up early, so we may need to park along the road.  A Northwest Forest Pass or National Park Pass must be displayed by each car parked near the trailhead.  There is a restroom in the parking lot.

The 3 mile backpack in to Junction Lake, our campsite location, is mostly level, with two switchbacked rises accounting for most of the 600 feet elevation gain.  On the hike in we will pass by eight picturesque alpine lakes.  Friday night we will have a camp dinner followed by smores at the campfire.

Saturday there will be an optional 6.2 mile loop day hike with 500 feet elevation gain taking us by an additional 8 picturesque alpine lakes.  We will stop at one of them for lunch and a swim.  After returning to camp, there will be time for berry picking before our camp dinner, followed again by smores around the campfire.

Sunday we will have a camp breakfast, pack up camp and hike out by the route we hiked in.  On the drive home, we'll  stop for lunch at the Lone Fir Cafe.  So the only lunch that needs to be packed for this trip is for Saturday.

Water can be filtered from Junction Lake and the lake where we have our Saturday trail lunch.  Streams usually are not flowing at this time of the year.  The last public water source is in Cougar.  The only restroom facility on the hike is at the trailhead.  We will be hiking and camping in forested areas that are conducive to bathroom breaks. 


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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