Gifford Pinchot – Trapper Creek Loop

Location Gifford Pinchot National Forest, WA
Distance 14 miles
Total Elevation Gain 4050 ft
Topographic Map


Trapper Creek makes a pretty pleasant loop for a quick, low planning effort hike. The trail is extremely easy to follow and the area is surprisingly uncrowded. I went on Memorial Day weekend and ran across about a dozen hiking groups until I hit day hiker territory on my way out.

The hike ascends through the classic PNW forest, complete with waterfalls, bubbling creeks, and one awesome (if not clouded) view of surrounding mountains.

  • Hidden Falls is a neat waterfall only slightly off route. The “trail” offshoot disappears almost instantly, but if you hike along the ridge you’ll eventually see the falls and can down climb to them. I went back following the creek, which was only the tiniest bit questionable and very short.
  • Going counter-clockwise on the loop is a much easier hike, as the route gently ascends to Observation Peak. However, were I to do this loop again I would probably go in the other direction. Observation Peak has a really neat, tabled out area where a tent could be pitched, but I reached the spot in about three hours from the trailhead and decided it was too early to call it quits for the day.
  • This could definitely be done as a really nice day hike for the experienced hiker.

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