Indian Heaven on the Cusp of Autumn


I enjoyed a wonderful day in the Indian Heaven Wilderness. It was the last weekend of summer with sunshine quickly burning off the low-lying clouds.

Huckleberries were ripe with their leaves turning crimson in the early morning light. There were scattered signs of black bears and many fresh tracks of elk to see. 

I began the hike at the Thomas Lake Trailhead on the west side of Indian Heaven. The 32 square-mile Wilderness lies between Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens. It contains over 150 lakes and has many large, open meadows to explore.

After hiking several miles to the east, while passing multiple lakes, I followed a faint path across the meadows to Junction Lake and the Pacific Crest Trail. From there it was a relatively easy hike southerly to Blue Lake located below Gifford Peak.

After finding a nice spot in the sunshine, I laid back, ate a snack and marveled at the deep blue color of the lake. Reluctantly, I put my daypack on and savored every inch of the loop trail returning to the Trailhead.

Indian Heaven remains one of the prettiest autumn areas near Portland.

Blue Lake (where did it get its name?)

Blue Lake (where did it get its name?)

Colorful Huckleberry leaves framing a small pond

Colorful Huckleberry leaves framing the view of a small pond

Trail leading through an open meadow

Trail leading through an open meadow

Ripe Huckleberries

Ripe Huckleberries

East Crater Mountain (a small pond is in the crater of the old volcano)

East Crater Mountain (a small pond is in the crater of the old volcano)

Reflections in a lake along the trail

Reflections in a lake along the trail

Freshly recycled Huckleberries (thanks to a black bear)

Freshly recycled Huckleberries (thanks to a black bear)

Scarlett Huckleberry leaves reflecting in a small lake

Scarlet Huckleberry leaves near a small lake

Early morning sunlight shining through the trees

Early morning sunlight shining through the trees

Categories: Washington Cascades HikesTags: , , , ,

6 comments

  1. Gorgeous! There is nothing like seeing those meadows with autumn huckleberry foliage. I love your early morning shot through the trees. Did you camp? If so, where?

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  2. John,
    I get such pleasure not only in your pictures but your narratives to.
    Blessings

    Ed Lyon
    Community Director, FCA Ventura County
    P.O. Box 6033, Ventura, CA 93006
    805-746-4725
    elyon@fca.org

    See our Vision
    http://www.venturacountyfca.org

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    https://fca.webconnex.com/2014annualgolftournament

    For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” Mathew 6:21
    Please Donate: http://www.venturacountyfca.org/donate

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  3. Thank you John, I was up to Indian Race Track a couple of weeks ago (with Randy Roach and Steve Oliver) and we had a grand time, but for the wasps. took a couple of weeks before the sting went away. Love your pics!

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  4. Can’t pick a favorite in this batch! They are ALL super, super!!!

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