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ELEVATION: 5926 ft on top of Minneapolis Rock; 5685 ft at Lake Wapiki overlook; 5237 ft at the saddle N of Bird Mountain; with vertical gains of 1925 ft, plus 100 ft for Lake Wapiki overlook; 1235 ft for Minneapolis Bird Mountain loop without Lemei Rock (plus 400 ft for Junction Lake loop).
DISTANCE: Minneapolis 1/2 mi one way to Lemei Rock with Lake Wapiki overlook, 71/2 mi round-trip no loops; more than 91/2 mi round-trip including Bird Mountain loop (62 mi Bird Mountain loop alone); 10 mi round-trip Junction Lake loop and Bird Mountain loop without Lemei Rock and Lake Wapiki overlook.
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DURATION: 3-5 hours round-trip for all routes.
DIFFICULTY: Mix of moderate for most routes (steeps near TH and on Trail 108, wide trails, well-traveled, mosquitoes, GPS device helpful) and strenuous for Lemei Rock (scrambling, mostly stable rock, route-finding, very steep, narrow ridgetop, some exposure).
TRIP REPORT: This listing encompasses several hike and loop options within one, the most popular being a trek up Lemei Rock (pronounced LEM-ee-eye), a break at Lake Wapiki overlook, then a loop around Bird Mountain to the same TH. You can also omit Bird Mountain or Lemei Rock and the overlook and venture farther past several more excellent lakes on a Junction Lake loop, then finish directly or add Bird Mountain or Lemei Rock and the overlook. There are around 175 lakes total (when the snow finally melts off by July) in Indian Heaven Wilderness (southernmost Cascades in Washington) worth revisiting many times, but remember to bring bug spray through August as swarms of mosquitoes will make you wish you came later when the huckleberries are ripe and the air is crisp. There’s a price to pay to catch the wildflowers in full bloom. Either way the views and experience are very much worthwhile. Be prepared for rapidly changing weather at all times. Closed late October through June. Northwest Forest Pass required, and a vault toilet is present.
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