National Forest Foundation

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail around Mount Adams on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest

Adventures, Hiking and Backpacking


Takhlakh Lake Campground, finally. After the dirt road adventure that gave us a few cold sweats and a dead end road to a campground that had no parking space, we were happy to find this pretty sweet campground on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

But let me back up a little. Last July, I had the chance to take a 10-day road and camping trip, sans kids, to discover the Cascade Range in the Pacific Northwest. It was the first time for both my husband and me, and believe me, we truly maximized our time. Adult hikes, here we come!

Mount Adams was one of our stops on the Presidential Range. Located in the southern part of Washington State, Mount Adams is one of the largest volcanoes in the Cascade Range and sits at 12,276 feet.

Photo by Melanie Saucier

Mount Adams with a view of the Adam Glacier

There are plenty of campgrounds around the mountain, but some are easier to access than others. After what seemed like forever and avoiding any road disaster, we made it through USFS road 23 and arrived at Takhlakh Lake Campground.

Those of you familiar with forest roads know it can be an adventure. Some roads might be severely damaged. We often parked to scout ahead. That being said, we always made it through. We drive a truck camper and have seen Class C RVs and trailers make it too. Anyhow, we found a fabulous site backing the forest.

Photo by Melanie Saucier

Campsite at Takhlakh Campground

Once we set up camp, we decided to take off our camper and let it sit at the campground. Bring on the dirt roads now! Our truck could handle it with ease, and we had such a fun ride! We parked at the Divide Camp Trail Head via USFS Road 2329. For about six miles, you'll hike through a dense forest. The floor was covered with fern and trees dressed with moss.

Photo by Melanie Saucier

Divide Camp Trail

The trail was well maintained. We couldn't miss the Pacific Crest Trail signpost when we hit the crossing. It was really when we reached that point that Mount Adams appeared in all its splendor. We were almost blinded by the snow on top, and the glaciers were beaming. All the while, lupines surrounded us in one of the cutest meadows.

Photo by Melanie Saucier

Lupines with a view of Mount Adams

From there, you can either turn South, and you'll be headed toward White Salmon and Avalanche Glaciers or go North toward Adam and Lava Glaciers. We took North and shortly into the trail, we turned our head around to realize, and be amazed, that we were having a view of Mount Rainier, no less!

Photo by Melanie Saucier

Pacific Crest Trail with a view of Adam Glacier on Mount Adams

Photo by Melanie Saucier

Mount Rainier, viewed from the PCT around Mount Adams

Picture that: Mount Adams on one side, Rainier on the other. Alpine wildflowers—lupine, paintbrush, aster, and arnica—punctuating our views of bright reds, purples, and yellows. Right? Pure bliss!

Bonus: many streams emanate from the mountain, so you'll get to cross Adams Creek if you follow our itinerary.

Photo by Melanie Saucier

Crossing Adams Creek in July

Photo by Melanie Saucier

Paintbrush flower with a view of Mount Adams

Oh and another "bonus": in July not only the flowers were in full bloom, the mosquitoes too ;)

About the Author

Melanie Saucier is a maker, a photographer and overall a creative entrepreneur who runs Lemonee on the Hills. She has combined her passion for the outdoors, her photography and product design background to handcraft a line of nature-inspired goods. You can see her photography and adventures on Instagram and find her products at or on Instagram at

Related Posts

A National Treasure, Without the Crowds

Patrick Shannon, the NFF’s Pacific Northwest Director, recently visited the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and avoided the nearby crowds while still experiencing the beauty of the region and our public lands.

Read more

Unforgettable Experiences - Squaw Peak Lookout

Constructed in 1942, historic Squaw Peak Lookout sits in the heart of the Siskiyou Mountains of southwest Oregon. Visitors to the lookout are treated to expansive views of the neighboring Red Buttes Wilderness Area, prominent peaks in the Cascade Range, including the rim of Crater Lake, and views down into California. Clear nights provide guests with a dazzling display of stars and planets.

Read more

Nine National Forests To Visit If You Want To Climb A Mountain

My favorite way to see a National Forest is from the top of a mountain. My husband and I spend as much time as we can in the mountains, which I credit to our big appetite for long days, sore legs, and views from the top. Often times people will ask how we figure out where to hike, or what to climb. After all, to reach the top of a mountain you often have to follow a remote trail – if there is even a trail to follow!

Read more

A Hike Through History on the Angeles National Forest

Traveling through Big Santa Anita Canyon is like stepping back in time to the “Great Hiking Era.” As you walk along the paths trees and bushes give way to historic camps and cabins built from the 1890s to 1930s to ensure that the residents of the growing city would have a place to find peace in nature.

Read more

Share this post on social media


Like this content?

If you enjoy this article and find it useful, support the NFF to ensure we can continue helping you and others discover our National Forests.

Donate Now