Updated: Nov 28, 2022
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: 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. Date hike was done: 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.
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.
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)
Take Hwy 14 E for 6 miles. Turn left on Wind River Rd and proceed for 14.3 miles. Turn right on to NF 30 and continue for 18 miles. Turn right on to NF 431 and proceed for 1.1 miles. Trailhead parking is on the left and the trailhead is on the right side of the road.
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