The Sleeping Beauty Trail in Washington state is a short, steep hike through pretty woods that rewards your efforts with jaw dropping views.
Chris & Mac
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Length: 2.7 Miles Roundtrip
Trailhead(s): Sleeping Beauty
Elevation Gain: 1,354’
Trail Type: Out & Back
Permit Required? No
Considerations: Significant elevation gain over only 1.35 miles.
Season: Late Spring to Early Fall
The Sleeping Beauty Trail in Washington state is a short, steep hike through beautiful woods that rewards your efforts with jaw dropping views.
What Makes the Sleeping Beauty Trail Hike So Great?
Views! The forest on the way up the trail is pretty, but the show is at the top. From the summit of Sleeping Beauty peak, you have an incredible view of Mount Adams, as well a solid view of Mount Hood and distant views of Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens. Even if the other volcanoes were not visible, just the view of Mount Adams alone would make this hike on the Sleeping Beauty Trail worth the effort. It is nothing short of amazing!
Hiking the Sleeping Beauty Trail in Washington State
The Sleeping Beauty Trail in Washington state is a short 1.35 mile trail leading to Sleeping Beauty Peak (I know, shocking!). The trail travels through old growth forest filled with Douglas furs and mountain hemlock, ending at a volcanic rock outcropping at 4,907′.
I recommend arriving early for this hike. It is a very popular hike and the rock outcropping at the top of the peak is small, so arriving early will minimize the number of people you have to share the summit with as you enjoy the views.
Leaving the gravel road where you park, the hike up requires a good amount of exertion, gaining 1,354′ in only 1.35 miles. Strong hikers who are used to significant elevation gain will not find the gain to be overwhelming. Others may want to take frequent breaks to avoid over-exertion.
The hike up the Sleeping Beauty Trail travels through a very pretty forest and the trail is well marked. Towards the top of the trail, the trail narrows and the first inkling of views begin to open up. The trail turns from loam to scree (small broken rock) as you move closer to the top. Very quickly you see the first signs that a structure used to occupy the top of Sleeping Beauty Peak.
In 1929, the Civilian Conservation Corps completed a fire lookout at the top of Sleeping Beauty Peak. (The peak gets its name due to the its resemblance to Sleeping Beauty if viewed from the Trout Lake area.) The lookout no longer exists, but signs of the construction on the peak remain. Don’t worry, though, they are not intrusive and do not detract from the experience.
Now, just before the top of the Sleeping Beauty Trail, you will arrive at a roomy area where you can start taking in the views and take some pictures. Make sure to continue on, however, the main show is at the top.
After climbing a narrow stretch of scree, you arrive at the top of Sleeping Beauty Peak. The rock outcropping at the top is an excellent place to have a snack or lunch while you soak in the amazing views. Mount Adams is right in your face and, next to hiking Killen Creek Trail to High Camp, I do not think you can find a better view of Mount Adams anywhere.
If you have a clear day, in addition view of Mount Adams, you will be able to see Mount Rainier in the distance to the left and behind Mount Adams. Turning the other direction, you will also have a solid view of Mount Hood and a distant view of Mount St. Helens. If you are really lucky, you may also get a see one of the mountain goats that inhabit the rocks. The goats are shy, however, so noise and activity will scare them off.
After enjoying all there is to see and taking a bunch of pictures, its time to return to your vehicle. Trust me, because you will be losing losing 1,354′ over 1.35 miles, it will be a quick hike back to the gravel road where you parked.
The Sleeping Beauty Trail in Washington state gives an amazing pay-off for the effort it takes to make this short hike. If you are in the Trout Lake area of Washington, do yourself a favor and pay Sleeping Beauty Peak a visit. She does not disappoint!
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