Indian Heaven via Thomas Lake


Backpack - Indian Heaven via Thomas Lake

Enjoy fall colors & scenery among Indian Heaven lakes, 2-night camp at Blue Lake (or Junction Lake) & middle day hike to explore trails to more lakes from base camp.

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers activity.
  • Easy
  • Mileage: 15.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,100 ft
  • Pace: 1-1.5 mph

Arrive 8:30 am Thomas Lake trailhead; ready to backpack by 8:45am.  Toilet at TH.

Each vehicle must display Northwest Forest Pass , America the Beautiful or similar pass.

DIRECTIONS TO TH (details to follow soon): 

From  Seattle area:  I-5 south to Woodland exit at WA-503, east on WA -503 to Cougar, WA-503/FR 90 to Pine Creek Info Center, then south (past Eagle Cliff Park (restroom) to Curly Creek Road, right turn onto Curly Creek road then drive 5 miles to junction with Wind River Road, left turn signed "Berry Fields,"  right onto gravel FR-6507, then left .5 mile on gravel FR 65 to TH,   Approx 206 mi; 4.5 hours.

From Yakima area:  take i-82 E toward Richland, take exit 37 for US-97 S toward Goldendale/Bend; then take WA-14 W to 1st exit onto Wind River Rd  toward Carson, continue north on Wind River Rd (FR 30), past Curly Creek Road on right, right turn onto gravel FR-6507, then left .5 mile on gravel FR 65 to TH,  Approx 158 miles; 3.5 to 4 hours drive time.  Shorten drive time by taking I-84 between US-97 S and Cascade Locks, OR; toll bridge over Columbia River at Cascade Locks then E on WA-14 to Wind River Road turnoff near Carson.  Approx 158 mi; 3-3.5 hours.

Vancouver,WA  or Portland,OR:  Drive WA-14 east to Carson, north on Wind River highway, bypass junction with Curly Creek Road, continuing north toward on Wind River Road (FR-30) Berry Fields, then right onto gravel FR-6507, and left .5mi to TH.  Shorten drive time 20-30 minutes by taking I-84 between I-5 or I-205 and Cascade Locks, OR; toll bridge over Columbia River at Cascade Locks; then E on WA-14 to Wind River Road turnoff near Carson.  Approx 75-80 mi; 1-3/4 to 2 hours.

Please read leader notes.  Thanks!

Revised 9/10:   leader permission required.  Submit copy of vax card on leader permission form or via email to leader for leader's approval of registration.   Mask recommended when within 6 feet of other hikers.

Fully Vaccinated participants only.   

Enjoy vivid fall colors and scenery among Indian Heaven lakes, 2-nights at base camp (Blue, Junction or Rock Lake) and middle day hike to explore trails from base camp.   Leisurely pace. 

A limited number of designated campsites are located in Blue Lake area, for small group (4-5 tents) and likely some tent sharing.  An  alternate base camp at Junction Lake or Rock Lake's undesignated camping areas may be likely as it has greater capacity and is better suited for larger number of tents.  Blue Lake is approximately 3 miles from the TH; Rock Lake is just over 2 miles from TH:  Junction Lake is 1.5 miles north of Blue Lake via PCT trail #2000 or about 3/4 mile via Rock Creek/Junction cutoff trail.

Indian Heaven designated backcountry camp sites:  see link for more info and map at

For those driving 3-4 hours, consider motel stay or camping night prior to backpack.  Enroute you'll find motels in Woodland and Cougar), or car camping options (FS sites, Pacifc Corp sites along Swift Reservoir) near Cougar or closer to TH.  Dispersed camping available in Gifford-Pinchot NF.  Bring water for car camping and for backpack to base camp.  

Trail description in 100 Hikes and Travel Guide for Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington (William Sullivan); and Day Hiking Mount Adams and Goat Rocks (Asars) which includes Indian Heaven trails.


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
Trip Reports