Bird Creek Meadows Trail
WHY IT’S GREAT:
The Pacific Northwest’s latest-season wildflower blooms happen near Bird Lake, a deep green pool framed by Mount Adams’s 12,276-foot summit and torch-bright clusters of lupines and asters. From the western bank, pick your way over several crossings until you set sight on Crooked Creek Falls, a 50-footer that gushes down a steep hillside alight with white mountain heliotropes and dandelions. Continue east to the signed “Trail of the Flowers,” a quarter-mile loop overrun with Indian paintbrush and hosting the occasional hummingbird. Also on tap: a detour up to Hellroaring Viewpoint. Here, at 6,500 feet, enjoy the vast gulley beneath Adams’s summit. In the distance, multiple falls shoot down the slopes and the Mazama Glacier pops and rumbles. Descend toward Bluff Lake—an ideal spot for a quick dip.
Trekking poles. In some years (like last) the thaw never reaches the upper parts of Adams. Take extra care on snow bridges—they give way easily.
POST-HIKE WATERING HOLE:
Trout Lake Country Inn Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this red barn has been everything from an airplane hangar to a bowling alley. Today it’s home to buttermilk pancakes, burgers, and some of the region’s best live music. On hot days, try the Black Butte Porter float. 15 Guler Road, Trout Lake, Wash.; troutlakecountryinn.net
From Hood River head north to WA 14, and turn left (west). Turn right (north) onto Highway 141 and go 21 miles to Trout Lake. At the service station continue onto Mt Adams Recreational Area Rd, keeping to the right. After 4 miles the road turns to gravel. Continue 10 miles to Mirror Lake campground and the Yakama Reservation. Continue 1 mile to Bird Lake. Watch for cows. $5 Yakama Reservation day-use fee required.