Blue Lake Hike

North Cascades, Washington

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Blue Lake Hike
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  • Start of the trail with a few boardwalk pathways.- Blue Lake Hike
  • A stream crossing on the Blue Lake Trail.- Blue Lake Hike
  • Rocky terrain on the edge of the trail heading into the forest.- Blue Lake Hike
  • Blue Lake Trail.- Blue Lake Hike
  • Blue Lake Trail in alpine forest.- Blue Lake Hike
  • Fall colors in the meadow at 0.9 miles.- Blue Lake Hike
  • Golden larches in October.- Blue Lake Hike
  • Cutthroat Peak (center, 8,050') seen from Blue Lake Trail.- Blue Lake Hike
  • An old log cabin near Blue Lake.- Blue Lake Hike
  • Blue Lake in the fall.- Blue Lake Hike
  • Golden larch over Blue Lake.- Blue Lake Hike
  • Liberty Bell Group over Blue Lake. From left to right: Liberty Bell (7,720'), Concord Tower (7,560), Lexington Tower (7,560'), North and South Early Winters Spires (7,760', 7,807').- Blue Lake Hike
  • Fall fireweed in the meadow.- Blue Lake Hike
  • Blue Lake.- Blue Lake Hike
  • Blue Lake.- Blue Lake Hike
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Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Brilliant fall colors. Short trail. Great views.
Cons: 
None.
Region:
North Cascades, WA
Congestion: 
Moderate
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Day-Use/Parking Pass Required:
NW Forest Pass
Total Distance: 
4.40 mi (7.08 km)
Trailhead Elev.: 
5,200 ft (1,585 m)
Net Elev. Gain: 
1,000 ft (305 m)
Trail Uses:
Hiking
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Dogs allowed: 
Yes

Current Local Weather

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Today

Flurries in the morning.
24°F
10°

Thu

Mostly cloudy starting in the evening.
29°F

Fri

Light snow (under 1 in.) until evening.
26°F
11°

Sat

Snow (under 1 in.) starting in the evening.
27°F

Sun

Light snow (1–2 in.) throughout the day.
27°F
11°

Mon

Light snow (under 1 in.) in the morning and afternoon.
28°F

Tue

Flurries starting in the afternoon.
28°F
10°
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Hike Description

Hike Description

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Best known for its spectacular fall colors and easy access, Blue Lake is a classic hike in Washington's North Cascades. Just 2.2 miles and 1,000 feet of elevation gain from Highway 20, this short hike is a great way to break up the long drive between eastern and western Washington.

Begin hiking through a forest and over boardwalks to a big, open meadow at 0.9 miles. During summer, this meadow is covered in wildflowers. If you are visiting in September or October, watch for larches; their needles turn golden yellow in the fall. Continue along the trail to re-enter the forest, cross a stream, and arrive at the lake shore within an hour of parking your car.

A large boulder on Blue Lake's west side makes for the perfect picnic perch. From here, check out the Liberty Bell Group towering overhead. Usually viewed from the north at the Washington Pass Overlook, Liberty Bell and the Early Winters Spires are visible over Blue Lake from the southwest. Nearby, a larch arches over the lake for another irresistible North Cascade photo-op. Hiking trails run along both sides of the lake, but none encircle it. Head out along one of these paths to find solitude, and perhaps some wildlife, among the mountains.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

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Field Guide

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(8 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(15 within a 30 mile radius)

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