Takhlakh Lake & Takh Takh Meadow

Location: Gifford Pinchot, Mt. Adams
Roundtrip: 3 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Gain: 100 ft.
Rating: ★★★

If you’re camping at the Takhlakh Lake Campground, you’re in luck! You can leave the car there and start hiking right out of the campground.

If you’re not staying at the campground you can pass the campground’s entrance and travel about 1/4 mile farther down the road before parking where trail #132 crosses over. There is limited parking here, but doing so will avoid the $5 day-use fee for parking at the campground. Just make sure you display your Forest or Interagency Pass!

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When both trails are hiked together they form something like an odd figure 8.

While on the Takhlakh Lake trail you’ll pretty much be walking through the campground, though you are set apart from the campsites. The view of Mount Adams across the lake is worth it.

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Be mindful not to get mixed up between the trail and the social paths that have been cut near the meadows. It’s easy to continue along the edge of the lava formation and leave the real trail behind.

If you find yourself at a near dead-end like section of the trail that looks “straight up” you’ve gone too far. Only extraordinarily nimble trekkers will brave scrambling this hill – but it is doable.

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If you caught the right junction the trail should hug the meadow a bit before crossing back over the road. You’ll spend the next section of the loop traversing a lovely forest before returning to where you began, whether that be the road or campground.

F.Q.A.

Are There Toilets? : Yes. There are vault toilets available in the day use section of Takhlakh Campground. If you’re not staying at the campground and you didn’t pay the fee you’ll have to let it way on your conscience though.

How about Picnic Tables? : Yes, they can also be found in the day use area.

Do I Need a Parking Pass? : Yes. If you park on the road you’ll want to display a Forest or Interagency Pass, but if you park in the day use area you’ll need to pay the $5 fee.

Are Dogs Allowed? : Yes.

Can We Camp Here? : Yes! This trail runs through the Takhlakh Lake Campground.

When is the Best Time to Visit? : Late spring and summer are the best times to visit. Keep in mind that the campgrounds typically close the first week of September.

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One Comment on “Takhlakh Lake & Takh Takh Meadow

  1. Great guide and beautiful photos!

    But there’s one thing that’s sort of “wrong” in this guide. The trail up the lava bed, that you mentioned looks “straight up,” is the real (official) Takh Takh Meadows Trail, not the other.

    The trail that you mentioned that hugs the road and meadow (that you also showed in the video) is not the official trail, but a use trail. It’s gotten to the point that many people mistake it for the official trail. (It is the one that has those huge boulders that you need to step over just past the junction.)

    The true trail goes up and over the lava flow in a series of switchbacks, goes to a viewpoint/overlook, and then makes its way back down, re-joining the other use trails at Takh Takh Meadow, and then crosses the road. Many old maps confirm this, as well as the USFS page for the trail.

    A good, alternate loop option would be to use both the official trail up and over the lava, and the loop back around with the use trail that skirts the edge of the lava. Would make a shorter loop option, and arguably more scenic, too, considering the trail on the other side of the road is just forested with no views.

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