The hike begins on a former roadbed, climbing .7 mile to the Mount Adams Wilderness boundary. Enter forest burned in the 2012 Cascade Creek Fire. Hike along a ridge through thick huckleberry shrubland. Wildflowers— aster, goldenrod, fireweed and yarrow—bloom profusely.
Notice patches of live trees that survived the hopscotch fire and listen for sooty grouse hooting from their tops. Dead trees provide perches for mountain bluebirds, flycatchers, pine siskins and many other species. Views toward Mount Adams entice you onward.
Climb steeply to the next ridge, then climb again to the shoulder of Grassy Hill at 2 miles. Descend to a saddle and drop down to a lush valley that escaped the fire. Pass a meadow known as Bottle Camp to cross a small spring-fed creek at 2.6 miles.
Ascend through grassy woodlands and huckleberry fields. At 3.2 miles, reach a beautiful meadow with the first open view of Mount Adams. Oldtimers named it “Squishy Meadow” due to its early season dampness.
This meadow is so beautiful that you might be tempted to stay here all day to soak up the view. Cross the meadow and enter burned forest. Climb several switchbacks and reach a branch of Cascade Creek at 3.7 miles. A sign points to the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in a hard left turn. Another sign announces Graveyard Camp, which got its name from a large herd of sheep killed here during a severe storm in the late 19 century. (Sheepherders named geographical features on all sides of Mount Adams, including Stagman Ridge.)
Follow the trail as it climbs over several ridges to reach the junction with the PCT #2000 at 4.5 miles. Turn right and follow the PCT for .5 mile to a junction with Round the Mountain Trail #9. The PCT turns left. Go right and follow the Round the Mountain Trail a few hundred yards to Horseshoe Meadow, which offers seasonal wildflowers and excellent views of the southwest face of Mount Adams. Several campsites are nearby.
Continue east on the Round the Mountain Trail to the junction with Lookingglass Lake Trail #9A at 6 miles. Descend through meadows and charred timber toward the lake. Cross three streams, looking for cairns to stay on route. At a junction at 6.8 miles, go left to Lookingglass Lake at 7 miles. From the southern shore on a still day, Mount Adams is reflected in the lake, hence its name. Several campsites are located around the lake. Spend an hour or the night, then return the way you came.
Loop Option: This loop isn’t for everyone due to challenging stream crossings and routefinding. The Graveyard Camp Trail has been abandoned since the 1970s and the 2012 Cascade Creek Fire severely burned much of this route making it more indistinct. If you are confident of your backcountry skills, climb .3 mile from Lookingglass Lake to the Y intersection. Turn left and descend to swift Cascade Creek. Figure out the best way to cross. Cross a boggy area, several creeks and three gullies to reach Graveyard Camp in 1 mile. Rejoin the Stagman Ridge Trail and return to the trailhead for a total distance of 11.5 miles.
WTA Pro Tip: Mosquitoes are abundant in July and early August.