Wagonwheel Lake – 5.8mi / 9.4km
An incredibly steep trail leads to the small, tree-lined Wagonwheel Lake with limited access to its shoreline. You begin your merciless ascent right from the trailhead and it doesn’t let up for almost 3,300ft/990m.
The forested trail is scant on views, but contains quite a variety of flora as you change aspects and elevation. Once the majority of the elevation is gained, the trail breaks from the forest. It opens up to views of jagged ridgelines as you pass through small meadows. You’ll climb through slide alder crossing the path, before dropping back into the forest to the lake.
For those looking for extra, a social trail takes off to the north and steeply scrambles to alpine meadows with sprawling, panoramic views.
Trailhead: From Hoodsport, take Hwy 119 towards Cushman-Staircase Recreation Area. Follow the signs all the way to the ranger station in the national park. Parking and the trailhead are behind the ranger station.
Elevation Gain: 3,300ft / 990m – Elevation Loss: 3,300ft / 990m