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Sheep Lake Trail (PCT)

Intermediate
 4.3 (3) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Enjoy this route for a lovely day hike or short overnight backpack.


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Map Key

3.8

Miles

6.1

KM

Out and Back

5,760' 1,756 m

High

5,354' 1,632 m

Low

469' 143 m

Up

469' 143 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

16%

Max Grade (9°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Lake · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly A short hike with an alpine lake as the destination.

Best times are mid-July - October. Check road conditions before traveling here.

Overview

This out-and-back segment of the PCT gives users a small taste of what the larger PCT trail has to offer. From sweeping views to alpine forests and lakes, this is a fun and relatively easy hike.

Need to Know

Northwest Forest Pass required. Note that there are NO views of Mt. Rainier along this trail.

Description

Driving east on Hwy. 410, reach the peak and drive under an old wooden overpass. The parking area will be on the left side about a quarter mile after the peak. Find the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) trailhead on the north side of the parking area.

Most of the trail is cut out of a steep and rocky hillside, so a few places may be a little rough, but
still kid friendly. Although cut from the stone, the hillside above and below is meadow-land. After 1.25 miles, the trail turns in towards the alpine forest, becoming smooth and marking a halfway-point to Sheep Lake.

Campsites are first-come first-serve and are scattered around the lake. Scout troupes often use this Sheep Lake as an overnight camp, so don't be surprised if you see a large groups of kids. Everyone can enjoy finding tadpoles around the shoreline during the right season.

For an additional hike, folks can stay on the trail for another mile to reach Sourdough Gap, which offers additional views, though not of Mt. Rainier.

There are bathrooms in the parking area, which may be seasonally closed or crowded.

Flora & Fauna

Alpine wilderness, alpine lake.

History & Background

As part of the PCT, seeing through hikers on this trail is not uncommon. The PCT runs along the Pacific Crest from Mexico to Canada.

Contacts

Shared By:

Emily R

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 3 votes

#6

in Sunrise

#2947

Overall
  4.3 from 3 votes
5 Star
33%
4 Star
67%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
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Recommended Route Rankings

#6

in Sunrise

#166

in Washington

#2,947

Overall
17 Views Last Month
721 Since Jun 2, 2017
Intermediate

0%
33%
67%
0%
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0%

Photos

Great views along the trail looking down into the valley.
Aug 23, 2020 near Greenwater, WA
Sheep Lake offering a nice reflection in the morning.
Aug 23, 2020 near Greenwater, WA
At the start of the hike as the trail departs 410.
Aug 23, 2020 near Greenwater, WA
A rocky portion of the trail tests your ankle strength.
Jun 2, 2017 near Eatonville, WA

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Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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All Clear 96 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Aug 30, 2020
Breann Hogie
3.8mi — 1h 30m
Aug 23, 2020
Vikram Sahney
Hiked in on 8/22 and camped overnight at Sheep Lake. Went for a swim! Hiked out on 8/23. Saw 100+ people. Unfortunately only ~60% masked. 1.8mi
Aug 6, 2018
Emily R
Husband did an overnight w/our 4y/o. Temps up to 90°F, the sun exposure along the ridge was a rough, as there is little to no shade there. 3.8mi
Apr 14, 2017
Josh Gaydeski