Thorp Mountain Lake & Lookout

An easy to moderate, hike along Thorp Creek and up to a lake and then on to lookout. The trail boasts of a steep flower meadow in the summer and bright fall colors in the fall. The rustic gable-roofed Thorp Mountain Lookout, built in 1931, offers stunning views of Mount Rainier, Mount Stuart, Mount Daniel and the Dutch Miller Gap peaks. It's 6-10 miles and 1,200 to 2,300 feet of elevation gain.

driving directions

From Exit 80 off of I-90, head north on SR 903 (Salmon la Sac Road) for about 15 miles, passing through Roslyn and past Cle Elum Lake. Just past the upper end of the lake, turn left onto Forest Road 4308 (French Cabin Road). Drive 3.25 miles to Forest Road 4312 on the right. Go right and drive 1.5 miles to another road junction, with Forest Road 4312-121. This road is typically gated, so park here -- please don't block the gate. 

  • There is some washboard on French Cabin Road and some large potholes on Forest Road 4312.  This is no trouble for regular cars, just pay attention and don't go too fast.

on the trail

Thorp Lake

From the gate, head toward a bridge over Thorp Creek.  Turn left after the creek, following the closed road another quarter mile to find the Thorp Creek trailhead on the left.  The trail is a steady grade through areas popular with wildlife and local deer populations are regular visitors.  At almost 3 miles, take the 0.2 mile side trail down to the lake. After enjoying some time at the lake, head back to the trail head or continue on to Thorp Mountain Lookout.  To the lake and back is an easy to moderate 6 miles and 1,200 feet of elevation gain.

Thorp Mountain Lookout

From the side trail to Thorp Lake hike 0.4 mile to the junction with the Thorp Mountain Trail, turn left (southwest) and hike another 0.4 mile. Turn right (north) and continue on up to the summit of Thorp Mountain and the rustic gable-roofed Thorp Mountain Lookout, built in 1931.

Round Trip Return: Hike back the way you came for a 7.2 mile round trip with 2,300 feet of elevation gain.

Loop Return: Instead of turning right and back down Thorp Creek, continue north on the Thorp Mountain Trail for 1.2 miles to the Red Mountain Trail. Turn right and hike almost 3 miles to Little Joe Lake.  Turn right and head back to the Thorp Creek trailhead. The loop makes this trip 10 miles with 2,300 feet of elevation gain.

  • Suitable Activities: Backpacking, Day Hiking
  • Seasons: June, July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast.
  • Difficulty: Easy/Moderate, Moderate
  • Length: 10.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 2,300 ft
  • 5,854 ft
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