Soda Peaks Lake
Low Point: 1150'
High Point: 3783'
DirectionsFrom Carson, Washington, drive north on Wind River Road past the Carson National Fish Hatchery, taking a left onto Forest Service Road 3065 (the intersection is marked with a sign for “Trapper Creek Trailheads”). Follow this road a short distance, crossing the Wind River, taking a right at another sign marking the “Trapper Creek Trailheads”. Drive this road for a half mile, crossing Trapper Creek and a small campground to its end and the trailhead.
This fairly tough trail leads to a peaceful lake surrounded by forested ridges and views through the trees of distant snow-covered mountain peaks.
The trail meanders gently along the forest ridge out of sight and sound of Trapper Creek as it makes its way through the valley above Government Mineral Springs Resort. Three-quarters of a mile from the trailhead, the path reaches a four-way intersection; continue straight on the Trapper Creek Trail. The trail grade stays mostly level throughout the first 1.5 miles, eventually coming to small, bridged stream crossing. After crossing the creek which makes its way down from Howe Ridge, the trail reaches another trail intersection. Take a left on the Soda Peaks Trail.
The trail descends for a quarter mile, coming to an old bridge crossing the creek. On our visit, this bridge was “officially closed” due to the rotten wood that formed the deck of the bridge. However, there had been wooden planks placed on the deck, allowing us to cross safely. The trail continues on an old road for a short distance before turning left (keep an eye open for this, there is a trail that continues along the road bed). The pathl turns back southeast before meeting another trail leading down to the resort. Continue on the Soda Peak Trail as it abruptly starts climbing the ridge.
The steep climbing continues for the next 1.75 miles before leveling somewhat as it rounds a 3,370’ peak. Views open up along this section, with a great view of Mt. Hood to the south, and many of the valleys to the east. Vine maple also covers the trail, making a nice spectacle during the peak of fall colors. The climbing soon begins again, making it a short distance to a short level section, and then begins its final ascent towards the Lake. Views can be gained through the trees of Mt. St. Helens, Ranier, the Goat Rocks and Mt. Adams. The hillside soon recedes into a large bowl containing a very peaceful, clear lake. Several campistes were located around the northern edge of the lake.