Kelcema Lake

Share:

Advertisement
  • Gate at the parking area for Kelcema Lake.- Kelcema Lake
  • First turns on the way to Kelcema Lake.- Kelcema Lake
  • Second-growth forest.- Kelcema Lake
  • First mountainous viewpoint.- Kelcema Lake
  • The road to the Bonanza Queen Mine property.- Kelcema Lake
  • Continuing through the forest.- Kelcema Lake
  • Nearing the one and only switchback.- Kelcema Lake
  • Devils Peak (5,456') lies to the east.- Kelcema Lake
  • Crossing Dear Creek near the Kelcema Lake Trailhead.- Kelcema Lake
  • Exiting Dear Creek Road at the summer trailhead.- Kelcema Lake
  • Following the Kelcema Lake Trail.- Kelcema Lake
  • Passing a large cedar.- Kelcema Lake
  • Following Dear Creek up the final half mile.- Kelcema Lake
  • Looking up at some fungi.- Kelcema Lake
  • Looking back down Deer Creek.- Kelcema Lake
  • On the eastern shore of Kelcema Lake.- Kelcema Lake
  • Edging around the lake shore.- Kelcema Lake
  • Looking south across the lake at Bald Mountain (4,780').- Kelcema Lake
  • Looking east toward the mouth of the basin.- Kelcema Lake
  • The eastern view from Kelcema Lake.- Kelcema Lake
  • The north shore of Kelcema Lake.- Kelcema Lake
  • Frozen fir tree bark.- Kelcema Lake
  • Views of the nearby peaks from the switchback on the way out.- Kelcema Lake
  • Closer view of the nearby peaks.- Kelcema Lake
  • Final view looking west down the valley.- Kelcema Lake
Advertisement
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Non-motorized recreation. Old mining area. Frozen lake basin.
Cons: 
Sometimes crowded at the trailhead.
Region:
North Cascades, WA
Congestion: 
Low
Preferable Season(s):
Winter
Day-Use/Parking Pass Required:
Not Required
Total Distance: 
9.00 mi (14.48 km)
Trailhead Elev.: 
1,240 ft (378 m)
Net Elev. Gain: 
1,900 ft (579 m)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trail condition: 
Backcountry
Trail Uses: 
Snowshoeing
X-Country Skiing
Dogs allowed: 
Yes

Current Local Weather

Powered by Dark Sky

Today

Light snow starting in the evening.
36°F
30°

Sat

Snow (1–2 in.) in the morning and evening.
38°F
31°

Sun

Light snow in the morning and overnight.
37°F
26°

Mon

Flurries starting in the evening.
36°F
19°

Tue

Flurries in the morning and overnight.
38°F

Wed

Partly cloudy overnight.
37°F

Thu

Mostly cloudy throughout the day.
40°F
24°
Advertisement
Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

If you are looking to snowshoe or cross-country ski in a beautiful and secluded lake basin during even the worst avalanche conditions, Kelcema Lake is for you. While certainly not remote, Kelcema Lake is a worthy winter destination and a great workout that provides a sense of accomplishment during those meager months when few trailheads are accessible. Though the majority of the route winds mildly up a forest service road, you can count on peace and quiet through to the spring snow-melt thanks to seasonal restrictions that allow for non-motorized recreation only.

The winter trailhead is located directly off the Mountain Loop Highway where Deer Creek Road begins and the plowed pavement ends. After gearing up, make your way past the occasionally crowded sledding area through the open gate. You immediately become wrapped in thick second-growth forest while warming up for the first mile before catching an open glimpse of Bald Mountain looming further up the valley. Continue above Deer Creek for another mile past a gated road that leads to the 300-acre Bonanza Queen Mine property, which was purchased from the Auker family in 2000 by the U.S. Forest Service to preserve critical salmon habitat.

The next 2 miles provide some steeper elevation gain and increasingly grand views of jagged Devils Peak to the east and Big Four Mountain and Sperry and Vesper peaks down the valley to the south. At 4 miles from your vehicle, a bridge leads over Deer Creek to the open Kelcema Lake summer trailhead. Exit the road here into a meadow while staying to the right of Deer Creek. The hiking corridor will be obvious at times, passing by several burley trees as it leads up to the creek outlet and lake basin. The eastern (and conveniently closest) shore offers many lovely open spaces for taking in the scenery. A massive snow-covered boulder on the north shore can be safely climbed for fun views back toward the mouth of the basin.  

Note: Stay alert for holes and unstable snow when traveling near creek beds.

Backcountry Safety

Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.

Field Guide + Map

Field Guide + Map

Download
Advertisement
Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(8 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(33 within a 30 mile radius)

Related Content

Related Content

Adventure Community

Adventure Community

Who Wants To Do It

10 Members

Who's Done It

1 Members

Submission by

Contributor
58 Adventures Explored
56 Adventures Published
AWARDS:
Advertisement

Newsletter Signup

Join the Outdoor Project Community

Get access to essential planning materials and information for your next adventure. Take a few seconds to join the community. It’s FREE!

Free Field Guides + Maps

Post Updates, Tips + Comments

Organize + Track Your Adventures

Insider Detailed Info, News + Benefits

Custom Driving Directions

Recommended Campsites, Photos + Reservation Info