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Killen Creek to High Camp

South Cascades > Mount Adams Area
46.2885, -121.5525 Map & Directions
Length
10.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
2300 feet
Highest Point
6900 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Hard
A camp along Killen Creek. Photo: Tahoe the Hiking Dog

Take this remote, flower-filled trail up the north side of Mount Adams to the rocky alpine terrain of giant glaciers. Continue reading

  • Wildflowers/Meadows
  • Mountain views
  • Old growth
  • Wildlife
  • Established campsites

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass
Rating
4.11 out of 5

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Hiking Killen Creek to High Camp

Take this remote, flower-filled trail up the north side of Mount Adams to the rocky alpine terrain of giant glaciers.

The Killen Creek Trail will take you on a dry, dusty climb through open lodgepole forest for more than 2 miles, but this initial stretch is more than worth it to get to the land of glaciers. Patches of summer wildflowers—lupine, paintbrush, aster—flank the trail and increase in number as you approach tree line; meadows appear and the forest drops away as you climb up into the heather-clad sub-alpine.

When the route intersects the Pacific Crest Trail just after 3 miles, continue straight ahead. The path quickly changes from dusty to rocky, and soon you’ll find yourself carefully picking your foot placement across some larger loose, rocky areas near a significant ledge. It gets a bit scrambly, but only for a few paces. Popping up around this area, the majestic world of Mount Adams’s icy dressing will be right in front of you!

From here, the trail becomes more challenging to follow in some spots, so pick your way—carefully stepping around the delicate phlox—and determine where you’d like to explore! Take note of where you popped up into the meadows—the return can be tricky to spot. Snow lingers late in this area and sometimes never fully melts out in these upper reaches. Be prepared to use your map and compass skills if you venture farther, or if the weather sets in at this elevation.

Now Adams Glacier is in full view, tumbling from the summit icecap. The enormous crevasses of the main icefall are right before you. Watch carefully and you may see some slides, and you are almost guaranteed to hear the glacier creak and moan. It is possible to hike right up to the terminus of the glacier at 7,000 feet, but do not attempt to climb the glacier unless you have the proper skills.

WTA worked here in 2018 and 2017!

Hike Description Written by
Ashley Morrison, WTA Correspondent

Killen Creek to High Camp

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 46.2885, -121.5525 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

See weather forecast

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

From Trout Lake, take FR 23 for approximately 24 miles to FR 2329. Pass Takhlakh Lake Campground and continue straight for just under 4.5 miles to the Killen Creek Trailhead. Check road conditions before departing.

From Randle, drive 1 mile south on FR 25. At the first main road junction, bear left onto FR 23 and drive 32 miles to a junction with FR 2329 (signed Takhlakh Lake Campground) and turn left onto FR 2329. Continue 4.5 miles to the Killen Creek trailhead.

More Hike Details

Trailhead

South Cascades > Mount Adams Area

Killen Creek (#113), High Camp (#10)

Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Mount Adams Ranger District

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: South Cascades (Mountaineers Books - Nelson)

Green Trails No. 367S Mount Adams

General Trail Map of Mt Adams Wilderness Area PDF: https://bit.ly/2QW0RoQ

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Killen Creek to High Camp

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