Try This Trail: Soda Peaks Lake

Rating: Difficult

Distance: 7 miles round trip

Welcome to the only lake within the 6,050-acre Trapper Creek Wilderness, which sits in a cirque surrounded by majestic ancient trees. The way is tough and steep, but tenacity is rewarded with tranquility at a little subalpine lake and a mighty fine viewpoint entices those who want to push on a little farther.

To begin, head north from the trailhead past the old Government Spring Resort site, up a gated road and past a row of cabins, then alongside Trapper Creek. Shortly after entering the Trapper Creek Wilderness, you'll reach a junction with the Soda Peaks Lake Trail.

Now continue left, immediately commencing a steep climb. Utilizing tight switchbacks, steadily ascend up a rib shrouded in salal, huckleberries, and old-growth greenery. Gaps in the forest canopy provide glimpses to a lush jungle-like landscape that may very well be harboring Sasquatch or the remains of DB Cooper.

After three strenuous and challenging miles, arrive at the welcoming shores of Soda Peaks Lake (elevation 3,760 feet). Nice camp and picnic sites are found by the outlet stream. There's good huckleberry harvesting in autumn throughout the basin. If you’re not totally winded, continue another mile and 600  vertical feet up the trail to a splendid viewpoint overlooking the lake, Trapper Creek Valley, and beyond.

Watch For: The remains of a 1910 mineral springs resort at start of hike.
    
Getting there: Take I-5 south to I-205 toward Vancouver. Then follow State Route 14 west to just past Stevenson, turning left onto Wind River Road. Proceed 14.4 miles to Forest Service Road 3065 (Mineral Springs Road). Follow this road for 1.2 miles to the trailhead at Government Mineral Springs.

Note: Northwest Forest Pass Required

Craig Romano is the author of nine Washington hiking books, including Day Hiking Columbia River Gorge.

 


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