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The Columbia River Gorge
Cascade Mountains. Photo by Susan Buce

The best places to play and stay in the Columbia River Gorge

Trout Lake, WA 98650
County: Klickitat
Population: 494
Elevation: 1,893 feet
Latitude: 45.594 N
Longitude: 121.311 W
Trout Lake Community Council
PO Box 31
Trout Lake, WA 98650

Mount Adams

Trout Lake, Washington

Trout Lake Ranger Station

As a summer resort Trout Lake has no rival. The location is ideal, the little town nestled at the foot of Mt. Adams, on the banks of a rushing stream and on the edge of a lake, is the fisherman's paradise and the attraction of Mountain climbers who love to scale the glaciers and dizzy heights of the famous snow peak.

The unincorporated community of Trout Lake is located in the northwestern corner of Klickitat County, is immediately east of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Trout Lake is a gateway for the Mt. Adams Wilderness and recreation area, a popular destination are for cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, huckleberries, fishing, hiking and hunting. There's also a network of lava caves in the area, notably the Guler Ice Caves, which once served as a source of ice for the entire Columbia Gorge before the development of artificial refrigeration. (Fine drinking establishments in The Dalles were able to offer chilled drinks to their clientele long before this amenity could be offered in Portland, thanks to these Ice Caves.) Today, Trout Lake is headquarters for the Mt. Adams Ranger District, and the USDA Forest Service.

Trout Lake Community Council
PO Box 31
Trout Lake, WA 98650

Trout Lake Arts


History of Troutlake

Trout Lake Farm, with Mt. Adams
Trout Lake General Store

Trout Lake Valley, located on the banks of the White Salmon River, 24 miles north of White Salmon, is a picturesque valley, completely surrounded by high hills and with only one natural outlet - following the course of the White Salmon River. The White Salmon River, which the Indians called "Nike-pum," runs the full length of the valley, made larger by the entrance of Trout Creek, which after broadening out to form Trout Lake, flows into the river in the center of the valley. It is not generally known, and seldom used, but the name of our valley as submitted by C.A. Pearson to the government is spelled as one word -- Troutlake. This means that officially, we live in Troutlake.

Long before the valley was discovered by white men, it was known as a fisherman's paradise for the Native Americans, and Indians for years had used it as a summer camp where they stopped on their way to the famous Mt. Adams Huckleberry fields; feeding their horses on the lush meadows surrounding the lakes, and weaving baskets from the reeds growing in the wet parts of the meadows. The area in the Gifford Pinchot forest now known as "Indian Heaven" was, for generations, a summer meeting spot where tribes would gather to socialize, play, hunt, fish, and harvest huckleberries from the lush fields on the slopes of Mt. Adams.

The Trout Lake Valley is over 20,000 acres of cultivable volcanic and decomposed lava rock soil enriched by forest decomposition, the unimproved portions bearing pine and fir trees, which thin out here and there into natural meadows. Most all of the valley now under cultivation was once covered with timber, scrub pine trees, and underbrush. The upper section as far as the Ice Caves and Peterson Prairie was a vast prairie which produced a native grass in abundance.Until irrigation ditches were made, there was little farming, but with water the settler planted grain and grasses. The Indian name for the White Salmon River was .

The earliest known white men in the valley was the 1853 McClellan Expedition which passed through the valley while attempting to make a study of the possibility of building a coast to coast railroad from the East to the Pacific Ocean. George B. McClellan was a Captain of the Corps of Engineers, and his task was to find a pass through the mountains, a feasible route for a wagon road from Vancouver to the northeastern part of the state. They explored the country from Vancouver, Wash., to the Lewis river and down into the Trout Lake valley by way of Goose Lake. From the mountain near this camp five snow mountains could be seen; Rainier, St. Helens, Adams, Hood and Jefferson. From Fort Vancouver to Camp Chequos they had traveled 93 miles. McClellan's company of men camped one night in the valley at what they called Camp Hool-hool-se, which was south and slightly west of Trout Lake. They were following the little used trail known as the Klickitat Pass which ran south of Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens, crossing the valley into Camas Prairie. The expedition crossed the Klickitat and made their way on across the Okanogan country.

The first white man to come into the valley with the idea of making a home was Peter Stoller, a native of Switzerland, who had heard of the valley, while living in Gilmer Valley. In 1879, he made a trip in by himself to look over the land and choose his homesite on the east and south of Trout Lake. He stayed a week and even began cutting logs and making preparations to build his cabin. In the spring of 1880, he moved his family which consisted of his wife, three sons, and four unmarried daughters, over from the Gilmer Valley. Their meager household goods were packed on horses backs and the family walked and drove a herd of twenty cattle. The trail the followed was rough and dangerously steep, taking them down into the Rattlesnake Canyon. The river was so rough and swollen from the melting snows that they were forced to ford it. This old ford was used for many years by the early settlers as the only way to get to the north side of the creek. They brought with them very few possessions to this new unbroken country with no fuel gathered, no soil prepared for planting and only a limited supply of food. The household goods were transported on packhorses and the family either rode or walked. They drove before them a herd of twenty cattle. Stoller and family homesteaded the place that became occupied by the Guler Hotel. Stoller wrote his friends in Switzerland that he had found a place the topography of which was similar to that of the land of their birth. Several came and were the first settlers in Trout Lake Valley.

Trout Lake valley was first settled by the Swiss, but Americans soon followed and soon constituted more than a majority of the families. The soldiers of Fort Dalles, in Oregon, cut oak wood for the big fireplaces in the buildings at Fort Dalles, from the hills in Klickitat county.

Source: Klickitat County, Washington Genealogy and History Research website by Jeffery Elmer.
To learn more about the history of Trout Lake, click here: http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~westklic/tlhistry.html

Huckleberry fields

Second highest peak of the state of Washington, Mount Adams is in what is now known as the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, which lies between Mount Rainier National Park on the north and the Columbia River on the south. Countless generations of Native Americans have come every year to the Huckleberry fields around the mountain.

Huckleberries now fetch a pretty penny, costing about $25.00 per gallon. Those of us who are huckleberry afficienados will tell you it's worth every juicy penny! The ripe berries are a dark purple. They resemble a smaller version of the blueberry, but have a vastly more intense flavor.

The huckleberries of the Cascade Range grow in "burns" which are lands denuded of their timber by forest fires. Lightning fires today are quite common and there is no reason to believe they have not always been so. The picture has another side, however; berry bushes grow not only in these burns but also in the surrounding second-growth timber that is fast taking over the burns. The bushes in the timber produce little if any fruit, so as the fields are encroached upon the berry producing area becomes smaller and smaller.

In addition, the tasty tiny purple berries have been tapped by the commercial market for ice cream, jams, syrups and other mass-produced gourmet foods. Over-harvesting by low-paid migrant workers strip the huckleberry fields and leave few berries to reseed for the next year. At this rate, it will not be long until berry picking in this area will be no more.

Huckleberries were, and still are, an important part of the local Native American diet. Huckleberries were often dried and used as a staple year round to add vitamin c and flavor. The purple juice is used to dye natural fibers woven into blankets or baskets.

Trout Lake Business Listings

Trout Lake Post Office

Trout Lake Community Council
PO Box 31
Trout Lake, WA 98650

Trout Lake Arts

Bob Jolley Construction
32 Torin Rd
Trout Lake, WA 98650

The Bridgehouse
172 Little Mountain Rd
Trout Lake, WA 98650

Carissa's Studio
2385 State Highway 141
Trout Lake, WA 98650

Church of Christ

Columbia Gorge Cedar Homes
Hwy 141, Suite D
Trout Lake, WA 98650

CP Ward Construction
3 Murdock Way
Trout Lake, WA 98650

DJ Records
28 Mt. Adams Rd 82
Trout Lake, WA 98650

Elk Meadows RV Park
78 Trout Lake Creek Rd
Trout Lake, WA 98650

The Farm B&B
490 Sunnyside Rd
Trout Lake, WA 98650

Foothills Hardwood Floors
PO Box 455
Trout Lake, WA 98650
Phone: 503-880-4412
E-Mail: randi@gorge.net

Glacier Springs Water Association

PO Box 123
2380 State Highway 141
Trout Lake, WA 98650

Gorge Massage & Personal Fitness
Cookie Gilpatrik, LMP, LMT, NCTMB
3 Murdock Way
Trout Lake, WA 98650
Phone: 509-395-2468
Fax: 801-740-2340
E-Mail: cookieg@gorge.net

Greenpastures Farm

472 Sunnyside Road
Trout Lake, WA 98650
Phone: 509-395-2816
Fax: 509-395-3629
E-Mail: greenpastures@gorge.net

Heavenly Grounds Espresso
Located next to the Chevron Station
2374 Hwy 141
Trout Lake, WA 98650
Phone: 509-395-2211
E-Mail: vanlaar@gorge.net

Jonah Ministries
31 Little Mountain Rd
Trout Lake, WA 98650

KJ's Bear Creek Cafe
2376 State Highway 141
Trout Lake, WA 98650

Kelly's Trout Creek Inn Bed and Breakfast

25 Mt. Adams Rd.
Trout Lake, WA 98650

Klickitat County Senior Services
501 NE Washington
White Salmon, WA
Toll Free: 800-447-7858

Klickitat Organics LLC
571 Sunnyside Rd
Trout Lake, WA 98650
or 509-395-3680

Little Mountain True Value Hardware
2170 Hwy 141
Trout Lake, WA 98650
Phone: 509-395-2773
Fax: 509-395-2859
E-Mail: lmtv@gorge.net

Mt. Adams Baptist Church

Mt. Adams Lumber Co. Inc.
40 Lava Rd
Trout Lake, WA 98650

Mt. Adams Lumber & Log Hauling & Construction
19 Lava Rd
Trout Lake, WA 98650

Mt. Adams Transportation
501 NE Washington
White Salmon, WA

On The Spot Express
18 Stoller Rd
Trout Lake, WA 98650

Parker Drywall & Construction
2294 Hwy 141
PO Box 361
Trout Lake, WA 98650
Phone: 509-395-3600
Fax: 509-395-3600
E-Mail: hevy@gorge.net

Presbyterian Church

Trout Lake Schools
Associated Student Body

Self-Mastery Earth Institute
172 Little Mountain Rd.
Trout Lake, WA 98650

Serenity's Chalet Cabins
2291 State Highway 141
Trout Lake, WA 98650

Stainless Systems Co.

Terry Schmid Gravel
Trout Lake, WA 98650
Phone: 509-395-2604

TLC Bookkeeping
2380 State Highway 14
Trout Lake, WA 98650

Time Out Pizza
2295 State Highway 141
Trout Lake, WA 98650

Trout Lake Country Inn
15 Guler Rd
Trout Lake, WA 98650

Trout Lake Farm
40 Warner Rd
Trout Lake, WA 98650

Trout Lake Grange No. 210

2390 State Highway 141
Trout Lake, WA 98650

Trout Lake Grocery

Trout Lake Motel
2300 State Highway 141
Trout Lake, WA 98650

United States Government
Forest Service, Mt. Adams Ranger District
509-395-3420 24-hour recording

US Post Office Trout Lake

USDA Forest Services
2455 State Highway 141
Trout Lake, WA 98650

2455 State Highway 141
Trout Lake, WA 98650

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