top of page
  • Writer's pictureTina McLain

Placid Lake

Updated: Apr 29

A lake near FS 30-431 in Indian Heaven Wilderness in Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

Placid Lake - August 2023

Lake Name: Placid Lake Lake Coordinates: 46.04118, -121.81712 Lake Elevation: 4040′ Access: Trail Distance: 1.18 miles (round trip) Elevation Range: 4000′ to 4100′ Ascent/Descent: +73 ft / -65 ft Trail: Placid Lake Trail #29 Permits/Fees: Requires FREE wilderness permit at trailhead. Note: The road conditions vary by year. Sometimes there are severe washouts, but most years it is still passible.

Location: Near FS 30-431 in Indian Heaven Wilderness in Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Washington, U.S.A.

Administration: Gifford Pinchot National Forest

Ranger District: Mt Adams Ranger District

Date Accessed: Start of September for most of my life

My family has gone to this area near Mt Adams since before I was born. Indian Heaven Wilderness is a special place to me and I have many good memories, especially from Placid Lake. We’d go camping in the area over Labor Day.

Placid Lake
2009 – Photo Credit: Gary McLain

It’s an easy hike and is slightly downhill to the lake and slightly uphill back to the trailhead. When I was younger, all us kids in the family would be so excited to go to the lake. Some years at the start of September there would be tadpoles or frogs in the lake and along the shore. We loved the frogs!

There are many funny stories surrounding the frogs such as my cousin deciding to take some home with her in her jean pockets and my aunt discovering frog skeletons when she was doing the laundry.

Placid Lake
2009 – Photo Credit: Gary McLain

My sister and cousin have swam clear across the lake on a not particularly warm day.

When my sister, cousins, and I were younger we would run ahead and hide off trail and “scare” everyone when they’d walk by. We religiously did it every year so it really wasn’t that scary after the first time.

One of my favorite parts of this hike is that it’s easy enough and short enough that everyone from a 2 year old to an 80 year old can hike the trail.

The trail is used by people and horses. Some years there are people camping by the lake and we usually see at least one horse. The trail usage is labeled as heavy. Placid Lake is an easy start for accessing the rest of Indian Heaven Wilderness, so most of the time even if there are many cars at the trailhead there isn’t that many people at the lake.


  • Trailhead: 46.04837, -121.80928

  • Placid Lake edge: 46.04339, -121.81580


How to get there (from Bridge of the Gods)


My Wild Adventure is not responsible for your safety, any possible injury, or anything that happens if you choose to follow anything on this website. Maps are not intended to be used for navigational purposes, but to give an overview of the route taken. By going outdoors you are solely responsible to know your strengths and limitations, be aware of current conditions and proceed with the appropriate caution. My Wild Adventure is not responsible for your choices and the outcome. Reference my disclaimer for more information on being responsible outdoors.

Recent Posts


bottom of page