Intro to Backpacking Field Trip - Adams Creek Meadows & Mount Adams High Camp

Field trip: Introduction to Backpacking

Intro to Backpacking Field Trip - Adams Creek Meadows & Mount Adams High Camp

Hike with us and spend two nights in beautiful Killen Creek Meadows on the shoulder of Mount Adams. Preference to Tacoma Introduction to Backpacking students. Trip will open to all Mountaineers to register on April 30.

  • Moderate
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 16.25
  • Elevation Gain: 3,400 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 7,500 ft
  • Pace: 1.5 to 2 mph depending on terrain

10am Killen Creek Trailhead, Northwest Forest Pass required for drivers

Experience one of Gifford Pinchot National Forest’s most stunning landscapes as we hike from forest to meadow and on to alpine territory to views of Mt. Adams, Mt. Rainier, Goat Rocks, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Hood on a clear day. This trip is planned for mid September when bugs are at a minimum, the weather is still favorable, and PCT thru hikers are making their way north. Expect out of this world views with a fraction of the crowds. Meadow roving has never been better! 


Day 1 - We’ll take the Killen Creek trail to the PCT and hike north to find a campsite in the meadows or near a waterfall where we’ll camp for two nights. Once camp is established, we plan to explore the meadows and bask in the views. 5.5 miles 1600 ft gain.

Day 2 – We plan to day hike to High Camp and enjoy Adams Creek Meadows then follow the climber’s trail to Glacier Lake at the foot of Adams Glacier. Our day hike will top out at about 7500 feet elevation at the lake. 6.25 miles RT 1800 ft gain.

Day 3 – The drive home will be long so we’ll plan to depart camp in the morning and hike the 4.5 miles back to our cars. Expect to be back to the trailhead by mid-afternoon.

Completion of this trip may satisfy one of several iconic backpacking routes listed in the Gold, Silver, or Bronze Backpack badges. Award badges are open to any member to earn.  

Special considerations

Before requesting leaders' permission to join this trip, be sure you are comfortable with the following travel and hiking conditions expected to be encountered on this trip:

Travel considerations

  • Travel time from south Tacoma is roughly 3 hours and 20 minutes.
  • Participants may opt to stay some place more local to reduce the travel time to the trailhead.
  • 4WD or AWD vehicle recommended.

hiking considerations

  • The trail to High Camp requires crossing some loose talus/scree on a steep slope. See photo below (photo credit HollyGoesHiking on WTA).Killen Creek_Descent from High camp.jpeg
  • Hiking in alpine territory at higher elevations can be strenuous. Our high point is planned at 7500 feet. Participants should spend time hiking at higher elevations in preparation for this trip.
  • Sustained rain, wind, or smoke will cancel this trip.    


Prospective participants should reach out to the leader to join this trip. This includes prospective participants for the waitlist. Leader will remove participants from the roster or waitlist that do not request permission before registering. 


I prefer a more social experience and enjoy the company of others on trips. When I'm not socializing, you will probably catch me gazing at the beauty of the backcountry or taking pictures of it. I've been known to swim in alpine lakes, stand underneath waterfalls, and soak my feet in cold water after a hard day hiking. In the evenings I like to sit around the campfire or communal area and drink my tea to wind down for the night and I'm usually up early in the mornings, sometimes to watch the sunrise with a warm drink. If these sound like experiences you would enjoy, I'd love your company!


Adams Creek Meadows–High Camp

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

To be discussed at lecture for Introduction to Backpacking course students.

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 Ursack
  • Cooking pot/pan with plate and utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel or blue bag to deal with waste
Trip Reports