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Cispus Pass

South Cascades


South Cascades
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12.8 miles, roundtrip


Gain: 2700 ft.
Highest Point: 6400 ft.


4.00 out of 5


Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

From Cispus Pass, a hiker can look down into two stunning river valleys, the Cispus to the west and the Klickitat to the east. It’s a challenging day hike or there are a few options for backpacking along the way.

The trail begins at Walupt Lake. Look for the trailhead on the east side of the campground, past the restrooms and day-use parking for the beach. The trail shares a route with the Walupt Lake Trail briefly. Soon after you start, you’ll see the trail to the left, which heads up toward Nannie Ridge. Begin climbing almost immediately through heavy forest. For this part of the trip, you’ll find few views but as you climb, you’ll begin to see peaks through the trees. At a bit less than 3 miles from the trailhead, find a trail heading off on your left to Nannie Peak. If you’d like, enjoy the detour to the peak before continuining on.

From here, the trail drops and rolls a bit before coming to Sheep Lake. Sheep Lake is a lovely spot for a break before you continue on. Be sure to look for the salamanders that like to hang out in the small tarn. Just beyond the lake, the trail intersects with the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Head left when you arrive at the lake for the most direct route to the PCT.

On the PCT, continue on toward Cispus Pass. The trail rolls up and down and then enters the beautiful valley above the Klickitat River. Look across the valley to spot a few waterfalls. Please be respectful and stay on the trail, as the signs request. The trail here passes through the Yakama Indian Reservation land. You’ll continue steadily climbing, with Cispus Pass now in site. Snow often lingers just below Cispus Pass well into the summer. Once you’re at the pass, enjoy the views into the basins on either side. Return the way you came.

If you’d like to turn this trip into a backpacking trip, there are a few sites at Sheep Lake and a few more site in Cispus Basin, which would require dropping down into the Basin. Beware that the Cispus Basin sites are popular and fill quickly.

If you’d like to make it a day hike and car camp, try the Walupt Lake Campground.   


Cispus Pass

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 46.4231, -121.4735 Open map in new window


South Cascades

Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Mount Adams Ranger District

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Guidebooks & Maps

Green Trails No 335 Walupt Lake

Buy the Green Trails Walupt Lake No. 335 map

Getting There

From Packwood, drive 3 miles west on Highway 12 and turn left onto FR 21 (signed FR 21 and Johnson Creek Road). Proceed 21 miles, to the end of this road, following signs for Walupt Lake. 13.6 miles into the trip, a road forking left is signed 2150 and the right fork is unsigned. Stay on the unsigned fork and continue downhill, passing a turnoff to your right, and then coming to a three-way intersection 17 miles from Highway 12.

Turn left here onto, surprisingly, a well-paved road that leads another 4 miles to the Walupt Lake Campground.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

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Cispus Pass

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