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Clear Lost Trail to Lost Lake Lookout

South Cascades


South Cascades -- White Pass/Cowlitz River Valley
View map below


14.0 miles, one-way


Gain: 3897 ft.
Highest Point: 6316 ft.


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WTA worked here: 2019

Parking Pass/Entry Fee


The trail begins with a 0.8-mile descent to the Clear Fork of the Cowlitz River. By late summer, the river should be easy to ford, though you may need to try upstream. The river is the wilderness boundary, so looking for the Goat Rocks Wilderness sign after crossing can help you find where the trail picks up on the other side.

The trail climbs for another mile to the junction of the Clear Fork Trail. There is a sign attached to a large log in the center of the intersection pointing out the directions of both trails. You’ll also find the partially collapsed Skeeter Shelter where the trails diverge.

At about 3.5 miles you’ll come to an unmarked intersection. Take the path right to Lost Hat Lake. At mile five, the trail comes to a narrow meadow where it can sometimes be lost. Follow the meadow to the right and the trail will reappear on the right-hand side as it climbs to an exposed side hill. The views during this part are excellent, as are the mountain huckleberries. At the top of this climb is Lost Hat Lake, a great place to camp and restock on water.

The trail makes a steep ascent to a former lookout site where you can see Mounts Rainier, Adams and St. Helens. Dropping back down, the trail intersects with the Packwood Lake and Bluff Lake trails.

Taking a right puts you on the Bluff Lake Trail through an old ridgetop burn boasting meadows and wildflowers. After mile 10, the trail begins a short but steep drop down to Bluff Lake then a comfortable 1.5 miles to the trailhead. Find your car shuttle here, or hike down the road to the Purcell Creek washout and meet your ride.


Clear Lost Trail to Lost Lake Lookout

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 46.6257, -121.4459 Open map in new window


South Cascades -- White Pass/Cowlitz River Valley

Clear Lost (#76)

Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Cowlitz Valley Ranger District

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: South Cascades (Mountaineers Books - Romano)

USFS Topo: White Pass

Old Snowy

and Ohanapechosh Hot Springs

Buy the Green Trails Goat Rocks-William O Wilderness No. 303S map

Buy the Green Trails White Pass No. 303 map

Buy the Green Trails Packwood No. 302 map

Getting There

The trailhead is located on the side of Highway 12 about 17 miles east of Packwood. After passing the Mount Rainier-Goat Rocks observation site, you’ll pass two large pullouts on the left side of the highway. After the second pullout, a third pullout will be on the right near where the road turns.

This pullout will be marked with two black and yellow striped signs stacked on top of each other. It is the only pullout with two signs. Pull over and park here. Just down a small gravel path you will find the trailhead and wilderness permit box.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee


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Clear Lost Trail to Lost Lake Lookout

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