From Portland take I-84 east to hood river. Follow Highway 142 north to Trout lake. Veer onto Forest road 23, and take this for about 30 miles to forest road 21, where you want ot head east. Both of these roads are intermitant gravel and pavement. From forest road 21 take the Walupt Lake turn off and drive to the end of this road where you will find the Walupt Lake Campground and trailhead.
This trail is a great loop that makes for an excellent summer weekend. The trail sits in one of the southern most valleys of the goat rocks wilderness and has fantastic views of Mt Adams. Alpine meadows, mountain views and several small lakes all make this short 13-mile trail packed with interesting terrain.
We hiked this trail on a weekend in June and only saw 1 other group of people. We hiked counter clockwise for a more gradual ascent onto the ridge, and spent our first night at the headwall of the valley. The trail starts in this direction by following Walupt Lake for 1.2 miles. The lake is quite picturesque as it has steep sidewalls and is crystal clear and a fantastic deep blue. From the end of the lake you traverse the valley bottom for another mile or so before you begin to climb to a small plateau. The plateau has several small lakes and a significant campsite, short trail camp. Beware of mosquitoes in this area; all four of us fought a fruitless battle with them while eating lunch. The trail through the plateau is about 1.75 more miles until you hook up with the Pacific Crest Trail, and you climb up the ridge north of the plateau.
The climb is where you start to get great views of Mt Adams as well as some views of the valley you just ascended out of sprinkled with a couple small lakes. The trail follows the ridgeline at a gradual ascent for about 3.5 miles until you reach the head wall of the valley. This is where we decided to camp. It had a great stream running through and some fantastic alpine meadows, perfect mountain goat habitat even though they eluded us this trip. We also took the opportunity to scramble up the ridge a bit and get some great views of Gilbert Peak and the other Goat Rocks to the north. I suspect that Rainier would also be visible on a clear day but there was a cloudbank sitting on the horizon where we expected it to be.
In the morning we continued around the valley following the western ridge for another 2.5 miles, again with some spectacular views of Mt Adams. Also Sheep Lake lies just about 1 mile from the headwall of the valley and makes for another excellent camping spot.
From the end of the ridge we then descended down 2000 feet back to the Walupt Lake campground and the trailhead. This trail down is another 2 miles and we did not find the grade to be too arduous.
All in all it was a great hike, perhaps not quite as picturesque as Goat Lake but definitely worth a trip.
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