Under the Stars near Seattle

The Cascades: Takhlakh Lake Campground
  |  Gorp.com
Directions : Take I-5 south through Tacoma, go west on Wash. 512,and then south on Wash. 7 to Morton. Turn east on U.S. 12 and continue to Randle. From Randle, drive south 1 mile and turn left on FS 23. Follow this road south toward Trout Lake for 331 miles and turn left on FS 2329 for another 2 miles.
Travel Time : 3 hours.
Information : Cowlitz Ranger District (360) 497-1100.
Reservations : Yes; National Recreation Reservation Service (877) 444-6777; www.reserveusa.com.
Fee : $11.
Open : Mid-June through October.

Once you see the view from this campground, you may never want to leave. The diminutive Takhlakh Lake perfectly frames the snow-covered bulk of Mount Adams, which, as the raven flies, is only about five miles away from the lake. You'll definitely want to crawl out of your sleeping bag early here so you can catch the mountain reflected in the still waters of the lake.

Takhlakh Lake is located on the northwest flanks of Mount Adams, and the campground is popular with trout-fishing families. Although the lake is small (about a quarter mile long), it's also fun to paddle around in a canoe or kayak. However, even if you aren't an angler, even if you don't have a canoe or kayak, you'll still be bowled over by the bewitching view of Mount Adams. In late summer, when the water has warmed up as much as it's going to, the lake is a great place to cool off after a long hike.

Though most of the campsites are under the Doug firs, there are some right along the lakeshore that are sunnier than most. These sites also put you right on the lakeshore and sometimes a bit away from the rest of the sites. However, to score one of these primo sites, you'll have to reserve in advance.

From the campground, a short, easy trail leads up and over a lava flow that looms through the trees not far from the campground. A short drive from the campground you'll find a trail that leads up the slopes of Mount Adams to the Pacific Crest Trail and miles and miles of blissful alpine hiking. There are also plenty of more lava flows to cross up high and the views of Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens.


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