USDA Forest Service
 

Gifford Pinchot National Forest

 

Gifford Pinchot
National Forest

Forest Headquarters
10600 N.E. 51st Circle
Vancouver, WA 98682
(360) 891-5000
TTY: (360) 891-5003

Cowlitz Valley
Ranger District

10024 US Hwy 12
PO Box 670
Randle, WA 98377
(360) 497-1100
TTY: (360) 497-1101

Mt. Adams
Ranger District

2455 Hwy 141
Trout Lake, WA 98650
(509) 395-3400
TTY: (360) 891-5003


Mount St. Helens
National Volcanic
Monument

Monument Headquarters
42218 N.E. Yale Bridge Rd.
Amboy, WA 98601
(360) 449-7800
TTY: (360) 891-5003

Johnston Ridge Observatory
24000 Spirit Lake Highway
P.O. Box 326
Toutle, WA 98649
(360) 274-2140

Mount St. Helens
Visitor Center
at Silver Lake

3029 Spirit Lake Highway
Castle Rock, WA 98611
(Operated by Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission)


TTY: Phone for the Deaf



Recreation
Wilderness Areas
General Information |  Wilderness Act of 1964 |  Wilderness Map
Glacier View Wilderness |  Goat Rocks Wilderness |  Mount Adams Wilderness |  Indian Heaven Wilderness
Tatoosh Wilderness |  Trapper Creek Wilderness |  William O. Douglas Wilderness

Camping in Designated Sites

Indian Heaven Wilderness

 

Indian Heaven Wilderness is 20,600 acres of broad, rolling country, straddling the crest of the Cascade Range with subalpine meadows and 175 small lakes. Originally known to the Indians as "Sahalee Tyee," the area has been and is culturally important to Native Americans. "Indian Heaven" offers visitors wildlife and panoramic views, as well as wildflowers and huckleberries, in season.

Indian Heaven Wilderness was created in 1984 as part of the Washington Wilderness Bill. Located between Mt. Adams and the Columbia River Gorge, Indian heaven is situated on a high plateau with numerous open meadows, forested areas, and more than 150 lakes. Many of the lakes are stocked to provide good fishing for anglers.

The natural scenic beauty of Indian Heaven is enhanced by several interesting volcanic formations such as East Crater and Lake Sahalee-Tyee. Lemei Rock is the highest point in the area, at 5,927 feet, and provides majestic views of the Cascades and Wapiki Lake.

Snow melts away in the area about mid-July. Fall is a good time to visit, with brilliant colors flourishing, and the mosquito season nearly over. There are nearly 42 miles of trails providing a variety of backcountry travel experiences.

Who Passed This Way?

For almost 10,000 years, Native people have been traveling to what we now know as Indian Heaven Wilderness. Archaeological evidence and historic records tell us the area provided a wealth of resources for Northwest Tribes.

The Sawtooth Berry Field in the northern part of Indian Heaven Wilderness is world renown for its wealth of huckleberries. The area was burned in the late 1890's and again in the Great Fires of 1902. The fields were subsequently maintained by later fires, which may be attributed to Native Americans whose berry-dry8ing fires would escape. From 1902 to the mid-1920's, the area served as a famous summer gathering place for Northwest Tribes. Much festivity, trading, and ritual surrounded the annual huckleberry feast. The tribes would pick and dry huckleberries, race horses, play games, make baskets, dry meat, tan hides, and fish in many lakes. The local tribes included the Yakima, Klickitat, Wishram, Wasco, Cascade, and Umatilla. Tribes from as far away as Montana and Wyoming also participated.

Picking HuckleberriesA council in 1932 between the Yakima Nation and the Forest Service resulted in a handshake agreement, thereby designating part of the Sawtooth Berry Fields (east of Road 24) as an area of exclusive use to the local Indian peoples.

The annual huckleberry harvest is still an important part of Native American tradition. Please observe the signs reserving part of the berry fields for the local tribes.

Huckleberry Legend
A Traditional Yakima Indian Legend

Long ago, this world was inhabited only by animals. The animals could talk and understand each other, and they were just like we are today. One day the Creator called everyone together and said, "There are new people coming to live on this earth. You must make room for them by selecting new names and identities. You have the choice of what you want to be in this new world, and I will help you."

The animals all declared what they wanted to be in the new world. The Creator asked each one to perform certain feats in order to qualify for their new identity. If an animal failed to perform the feat he had to choose something else for which he was better qualified.

Coyote, as usual, monopolized all the best choices, but each time he could not perform the feat. First, he wanted to be the eagle, but he was unable to fly high in the sky, and did not have the keen eyesight the eagle must have. Next, he wanted to be the salmon, but he could not swim well enough. At last, the only position he could qualify for was the plain old Coyote, which he is today.

Every time an animal qualified for what he wanted to be, the Creator took part of his body and placed in the new creature. For this reason, the Indian people respect everything that has life, be it plant, animal, or human, because they are all part of the Creator.

When the Creator was finished with his work, he looked and say that he did not have any berries in the mountains. The only part of his body that was left were his eyes. So, he took his eyes and put them into the ground in the mountains. The veins in his eyes bled into the earth and become the roots. The roots became the plant, and the berries sprouted and became the huckleberries.

Trails of the Indian Heaven Wilderness

 

CHENAMUS LAKE 29A

  • MILES: 0.7
  • AMOUNT OF USE: Medium
  • DESCRIPTION: Located in the north portion of the Indian Heaven Wilderness, Trail #29A begins at the northeast end of Placid Lake. It proceeds part way around the lake, then climbs south to the shallow, 4-acre Chenamus Lake.
  • HIKER: EASIEST
  • HORSE: EASIEST

CULTUS CREEK 108

  • MILES: 1.5
  • AMOUNT OF USE: Heavy
  • ACCESS: Road 24 at Cultus Creek Campground and Trail #2000
  • DESCRIPTION: Trail #108 is located in the east central portion of the Indian Heaven Wilderness. The trail begins at Cultus Creek Campground and ascends semi-open slopes to the northwest toward the summit of Bird Mountain. The trail climbs 1,200 feet in elevation where it passes through a saddle, enters large timber, and intersects Trail #2000.
  • HIKER: EASIEST
  • HORSE: EASIEST

EAST CRATER TRAIL 48

  • MILES: 2.5
  • AMOUNT OF USE: Heavy
  • ACCESS: Road 6035 or Trail #2000
  • DESCRIPTION: The East Crater Trail #48 is located in the east central portion of Indian Heaven Wilderness. This trail is one of the main access routes from the east into central Indian Heaven Wilderness. The trail proceeds uphill through thickly forested areas, passing (at the far end) shallow lakes and ponds in meadows and rolling terrain. The trail terminates on the Pacific Crest Trail at the west end of Junction Lake.
  • HIKER: MORE DIFFICULT
  • HORSE: MORE DIFFICULT

ELK LAKE 176

  • MILES: 0.4
  • AMOUNT OF USE: Heavy
  • ACCESS: Trail #2000
  • DESCRIPTION: Elk Lake Trail #176 is a short segment of trail located within Indian Heaven Wilderness. The Elk Lake Trail descends from Trail #2000 near Bear Lake to Elk Lake.
  • HIKER: EASIEST
  • HORSE: EASIEST

FILLOON TRAIL 102

  • MILES: 1
  • AMOUNT OF USE: Medium
  • ACCESS: Road 2400161 and Trail #34
  • DESCRIPTION: Filloon Trail #102 is located on the east central side of the Indian Heaven Wilderness. It is a short access between Little Goose Campground and Lemei Trail #34. The trail proceeds south from Little Goose Campground through heavy, second-growth timber and brush.
  • HIKER: EASIEST
  • HORSE: EASIEST

INDIAN HEAVEN 33

  • MILES: 3.3
  • AMOUNT OF USE: Heavy
  • ACCESS: Road 24 or Trail #2000
  • DESCRIPTION: Located in the east central portion of the Indian Heaven Wilderness, Trail #33 climbs steeply to the southwest through heavy stands of timber on the slopes of Bird Mountain. Once on top, the trail enters open meadows, passes Deep and Cultus Lakes, then intersects Trail #34 and #179. The trail then continues past Clear Lake, descending to its termination with the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail #2000 near Deer Lake.
  • HIKER: MORE DIFFICULT
  • HORSE: MORE DIFFICULT

LEMEI 34

  • MILES: 5.3
  • AMOUNT OF USE: Medium (Heavy use by horses)
  • ACCESS: Road 24 or Trail #33
  • DESCRIPTION: Located in the east central portion of the Indian Heaven Wilderness, Trail #34 leaves Road 24 following an old skid road through second-growth timber, ascending to the ridgeline and intersects Trail #102. Passing Wapiki Lake Trail #34A, the trail climbs steeply to open meadow slopes, providing excellent view of Lake Wapiki and Lemei Rock before descending to Trail #33 near Cultus Lake.
  • HIKER: MOST DIFFICULT
  • HORSE: MOST DIFFICULT

LEMEI LAKE 179

  • MILES: 1.9
  • AMOUNT OF USE: Medium
  • ACCESS: Trail #33 and Trail #2000
  • DESCRIPTION: Trail #179 is located in the heart of the Indian Heaven Wilderness. It is a trail through very open, meadow terrain. The trail commences at Trail #33 near Clear Lake and proceeds in a southerly direction passing Lemei Lake, terminating at Junction Lake and Trail #2000.
  • HIKER: MORE DIFFICULT
  • HORSE: MORE DIFFICULT

PACIFIC CREST NATIONAL SCENIC TRAIL 2000

  • MILES: 50.4
  • AMOUNT OF USE:
  • ACCESS: State Road 14, west of the Bridge of the Gods which crosses the Columbia River, Forest Road 60.
  • DESCRIPTION: The Pacific Crest Trail travels though the Mt. Adams Wilderness, as well as Indian Heaven Wilderness and non-wilderness terrain. It has subalpine vegetation, fragrant meadows of wildflowers, interesting rock formations, glacial streams, scenic vistas of the Cascades as well as timber.
  • HIKER: MORE DIFFICULT
  • HORSE: MORE DIFFICULT

PLACID LAKE 29

  • MILES: 3.5
  • AMOUNT OF USE: Heavy
  • ACCESS: Road 3000420 or Trail #2000
  • TRAIL PARK PASS: Yes
  • DESCRIPTION: Placid Lake Trail #29 is located in the north end of the Indian Heaven Wilderness and leaves from Road 420. It proceeds southwest through large timber stands. At Placid Lake the trail turns left and travels 0.5 mile before intersecting with the Chenamus Lake Trail #29A. The trail then climbs the west slopes of Bird Mountain to a high meadow area where it terminates on the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail #2000.
  • HIKER: MORE DIFFICULT
  • HORSE: MORE DIFFICULT

RACE TRACK 171

  • MILES: 3.1
  • AMOUNT OF USE: Heavy
  • ACCESS: Road 65 to Road 6048000
  • DESCRIPTION: Trail #171 is located in the southwest portion of the Indian Heaven Wilderness. Race Track Trail #171 begins near Falls Creek Camp on Road 65. The trail goes to the southeast through second-growth timber and crosses Falls Creek with a natural crossing. The trail then climbs through rocky terrain for 1 mile to a meadow area where the grade flattens; this area is the Indian Race Track. At this point, Trail #171A leaves Trail 171 and proceeds east for 0.5 miles connecting with the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. Trail #171 then climbs from Race Track to Road 6048 near the summit of Red Mountain.
  • HIKER: MORE DIFFICULT
  • HORSE: MORE DIFFICULT

SAWTOOTH TRAIL 107

  • MILES: 2
  • AMOUNT OF USE: Medium
  • ACCESS: Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail #2000.
  • DESCRIPTION: It is hazardous to climb rocks at Sawtooth. This trail is the old Pacific Crest Trail which skirts Sawtooth Mountain. From Sawtooth Mountain, many beautiful areas can be viewed across the treetops. Trail begins and ends on Pacific Crest Trail #2000.
  • HIKER: EASIEST
  • HORSE: EASIEST

SHORTCUT TRAIL 171A

  • MILES: 0.5
  • AMOUNT OF USE: Heavy
  • ACCESS: Trail #2000 and Trail #171
  • DESCRIPTION: Trail #171A is a shortcut trail that connects Race Track Trail #171 to Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail #2000.
  • HIKER: EASIEST
  • HORSE: EASIEST

THOMAS LAKE 111

  • MILES: 3.3
  • AMOUNT OF USE: X Heavy
  • ACCESS: Road 65
  • TRAIL PARK PASS: Yes
  • DESCRIPTION: Thomas Lake Trail is located in the west central portion of the Indian Heaven Wilderness. Trail #111 commences on Road 65 and goes east through heavy timber passing a camp spot at 0.6 mile. Lakes visible at that point are Dee, Thomas, and Heather. Eunice Lake is a short distance to the east. The trail climbs to a meadow area and passes Lake Naha. It continues to Rock Lake and turns south and passes Lake Umtux. Descending a slope into timber, the trail passes Lake Sahalee Tyee and ends at Blue Lake.
  • HIKER: MOST DIFFICULT
  • HORSE: MOST DIFFICULT

TOMBSTONE LAKE 55

  • MILES: 0.5
  • AMOUNT OF USE: Medium
  • ACCESS: Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail #2000 and Trail #111
  • DESCRIPTION: Tombstone Lake Trail #55 is a short segment of trail located in the Indian Heaven Wilderness near Blue Lake. It begins at a campsite near the east shore of Blue Lake and terminates at Tombstone Lake.
  • HIKER: EASIEST
  • HORSE: EASIEST

WAPIKI LAKE 34A

  • MILES: 0.5
  • AMOUNT OF USE: Medium
  • ACCESS: Road 24 to Trail #34
  • DESCRIPTION: Located in the east central portion of Indian Heaven Wilderness, trail #34A leaves trail #34 approximately 3 miles from Road 24. The trail traverses a timbered hillside to Wapiki Lake, part of Lemei Rock's old crater.
  • HIKER: EASIEST
  • HORSE: EASIEST

WOOD LAKE 185

  • MILES: 0.5
  • AMOUNT OF USE: Medium
  • ACCESS: Trail #2000 and Trail #108
  • DESCRIPTION: Trail #185 is located in the north end of the Indian Heaven Wilderness. It is a short trail through semi-open areas, descending from Trail #2000 to the edge of Wood Lake.
  • HIKER: MORE DIFFICULT
  • HORSE: MORE DIFFICULT

US Forest Service
Gifford Pinchot National Forest - Vancouver, WA
Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument - Amboy, WA
Last Modified: Monday, 28 March 2005 at 19:13:17 EDT


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