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Nannie Ridge-Sheep Lake

South Cascades

Location

South Cascades
View map below

Length

9.3 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 2056 ft.
Highest Point: 5842 ft.

Rating

3.50 out of 5

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WTA worked here: 2017
 

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
 
 

A steep climb rewards you with huckleberries, stunning mountain views, wildflower meadows and a charming alpine lake along the Pacific Crest Trail.

The trail begins near the eastern end of Walupt Campground and the start of the Walupt Lake Trail. Just 70 yards up the trail, visit the information and map board and collect your wilderness permit if you are planning on staying overnight at Sheep Lake. At this point, veer left onto Nannie Ridge Trail, marked by a weathered wood sign indicating the Goat Rocks Wilderness and faded arrows for the connecting trails.

The trail starts uphill right away on a dirt path surrounded by tall pine trees. At about one half mile the trail crosses over a small bridge and depending on time of year, there may be shallow water over the trail. You can hear the sound of water flowing through the trees to your right as you continue up the hill. You will notice salal, ferns, trees covered in moss, beargrass and huckleberry bushes as far as the eye can see. 

At about a mile from the trailhead you may see more water across the trail in some seasons. In late summer, these creek beds may be dry. Continue your upward climb as switchbacks ease the climb a bit. The huckleberries start creeping closer to the trail and during August, these bushes are overflowing with delicious purple berries that make a great snack along the trail as you look up and catch glimpses of the sky through the trees.  Continuing on, you may see lupine, paintbrush and white rhododendron growing along the trail as well as purple asters and mountain bog gentian in late summer.

At 2.5 miles, you have gained 1,850 feet in elevation. At this point you are at the ridge crest just below Nannie Peak. Pause in the area to your right to catch your breath under the shade of the trees or you can continue to your left up an unmarked trail and add another half mile of uphill climb to Nannie Peak. 

If your wish is to end the climb upward and continue on to gorgeous views of Mount Adams and Goat Rocks, continue just a few more steps forward on the trail and to your right, an exposed ledge with views await. This is a great place to pause before continuing on to Sheep Lake another 2 miles ahead.

From the view point, the trail continues along a slight downhill grade of loose rock and dirt and ash with exposed roots and becomes more open. A quarter mile from the viewpoint, the trail has been rerouted. The old trail is to the right and the new trail is now well worn to your left going uphill. About half mile later, you will arrive at a small pond surrounded by trees and grasses. Continue over rolling hills and along Nannie Ridge and enjoy the surrounding mountain views, tall trees and wildflowers to Sheep Lake.

Sheep Lake, at 4.6 miles, is a small alpine lake surrounded by wildflower meadows delighting the senses in the summer.  Walk around the lake on the quaint dirt path. Established campsites surround the lake if this is an overnight destination.

Turn around the way you came or continue your adventure on to connecting the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT) #2000. 

WTA Pro Tip: Make it a loop by following the PCT right at the junction for just over 5 miles and return on the Walupt Lake Trail for another 4.6 miles for about 14.5 miles.

 

Nannie Ridge-Sheep Lake

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 46.4231, -121.4713 Open map in new window

Trailhead

South Cascades

Nannie Ridge (#98)

Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Cowlitz Valley Ranger District

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: South Cascades (Nelson - Mountaineers Books)

Buy the Green Trails Walupt Lake No. 335 map

Getting There

From Randle, Washington, head east on US-12 for 13 miles. Turn right onto NF-21 for 1.1 miles. Turn right to stay on NF-21 for 6.3 miles, then take a slight right to stay on NF-21 for 8.6 miles. Turn left toward NF-2160 for 150 feet then turn left onto NF-2160 and follow signs for Walupt Lake Campground. 

Just inside the campground, pass the day use area and look for a pit toilet on the left. Trail parking is available along the left side near the toilet. (Parking on the right is reserved for campers)

Parking near the trailhead for 13 cars with a sign that says trailhead parking only.  No fees, no passes required.  Additional overflow trail parking is available just before the bridge on the outside of the campground.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
 

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Nannie Ridge-Sheep Lake

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