In the early part of the 20th century, this trail was used by sheepherders to reach their camps. Kincaid Lake is a tiny, 1-acre lake named for Sam Kincaid, a Yakima Valley sheepherder who ranged his herds in the area.
Now, this 9-mile, rugged trail trail delivers hikers into the remote William O. Douglas Wilderness at mile 3.5 and offers excellent views of Mount Rainier. It's also a great way to access the deep woods off of Highway 12, where you can loop hike to your heart's content.
Beginning at the end of Forest Road 4510, Kincaid Trail starts just past the access point for Cowlitz Horse Trail 44A. From the start, it descends, then begins to climb steeply before reaching the top of Carlton Ridge near Log Springs.
Then, cross the summit (the site of an old burn) and enter wilderness at 3.5 miles. From there, proceed along a semi-open ridge, which offers excellent views of Rainier. Soon arrive at a junction with the Judkin Trail. This trail descends to Jug Lake, but Kincaid continues to the left.
It's another 4 miles to the Kincaid Trail's terminus at an intersection with the Jug Lake Trail. Along the way, you'll switchback along Carlton Ridge, then up and over Fryingpan Mountain.