Sand Lake


9:30 am


0d 2h 20m


5.8 miles

Elevation Change

1,069 feet

Min Elevation

4,500 feet


40 degrees, overcast.


On the return trip from Idaho, we took Hwy 12 west of Yakima to check out some new territory. After 4 hours of driving, we passed Rimrock Lake and started to look for a likely boondocking spot. We pulled into tiny White Pass Campground at about 6 p.m., just opposite the White Pass Ski Area. As usual, the last available spot was perfect for us, right beside Leech Lake. Our view just before sundown:

Morning panorama of Leech Lake

White Pass also happens to serve as a trailhead for the PCT, so we decided to hike a short segment in the morning. This turned out to be a good idea, since we also needed a way to warm up a bit after the brisk 36 degree night. The trail ascends through as series of switchbacks to several lakes, the first of which is Dog Lake at about two miles.

Sand Lake, with its exposed shoreline due to low water, is about a half mile further.

Sand lake surrounded by meadow.

We would have liked to have had time to keep going towards Chinook Pass.

The trail is well maintained but covered in horse poop. Lots of it! We’ve never seen this much evidence of equine traffic while hiking, but it’s reasonable since the PCT was designed for horses.

Lakeside camp site!

Since it’s bow season, we also kept a sharp eye out for the camouflaged hunters who occupied some of the neighboring sites. We made it back to the van just as the skies opened up.

We were joined by a very bold littl visitor.

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