Sleeping Beauty is a bare rock outcropping perched high above the Trout Lake valley near Mt Adams. The hike is only 1.5 miles in length but gains over 1200 feet of elevation in that short distance. While some exertion is required to reach the top, the view is well worth it, offering incredible views of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The trail is open in early summer and closes around mid November. The name “Sleeping Beauty” was given to this rocky hill due to its resemblance of a sleeping woman when viewed from the town of Trout Lake. Curious Gorge explains this in deatil and provides photographic evidence.
To reach the trail head, follow Trout Lake Creek Road out of Trout Lake and merge onto Forest Road NF-8810. Follow NF-8810 for 6 miles, turning right onto NF-040. I marked the exact location of the trail head in Google Maps. The trail begins in a heavy forest and starts gaining elevation immediately. In fact, the vast majority of the hike takes place under a heavy canopy, reserving the majestic views for the end of the hike.
Shortly after departing, we encountered a paper wasp’s nest clinging to a pine tree, so I asked the group to wait while I “shot” it. Our friends didn’t realize I was referring to my Nikon, so they fled up the very steep trail expecting an angry swarm. After this hilarious misunderstanding we continued on uneventfully, stopping for water breaks as needed. We reached the timberline about 40 minutes later. Having hiked Dog Mountain, I believe these two hikes are very similar in their setting and trail composition, however this hike is shorter and perhaps not as steep. Both hikes offer amazing views at the end.
We started hiking around 4PM, so the sun was beginning to set by the time we reached the top, casting long shadows across the landscape and bathing the peak in golden light. We discovered a concrete foundation and some steel cables at the top. Apparently, the peak was home to a fire lookout that was destroyed in the 1960s. Today, all that remains are the foundation and a few anchor points drilled into the rock.
My daughter wanted to get a head start on her modeling career, so I was happy to help. After her photo shoot, we spent a half hour exploring the peak and enjoying the view before heading back due to dwindling light. I’ll definitely start earlier in the day next time I hike this trail.