Blue Lake Hike

North Cascades, Washington

North Cascades, Washington

Start Exploring
Blue Lake Hike


  • 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
  • Wildflowers along the trail to Blue Lake.- Blue Lake Hike
  • Liberty Bell and the Spires along the trail to Blue Lake.- Blue Lake Hike
  • View to Liberty Bell along the trail to Blue Lake.- Blue Lake Hike
  • Blue Lake in the summer.- Blue Lake Hike
  • Blue Lake in the summer.- Blue Lake Hike
  • Blue Lake in the summer.- Blue Lake Hike
  • - Blue Lake Hike
Overview + Weather
Brilliant fall colors. Short trail. Great views.
North Cascades, WA
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,000.00 ft (304.80 m)
Parking Pass: 
NW Forest Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
4.40 mi (7.08 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
5,200.00 ft (1,584.96 m)
Typically multi-day: 
Current Local Weather:
Published in collaboration with
Hike Description

Hike Description


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.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

Published in collaboration with
Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(9 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(21 within a 30 mile radius)

Published in collaboration with
Related Content

Related Content

Adventure Community

Adventure Community

Who Wants To Do It
265 Members
Who's Done It
25 Members
Submission by
35 Adventures Explored
35 Adventures Published

Published in collaboration with Tito's Handmade Vodka

We created Vodka for Dog People to unite with friends, fans and partners to make the world a better place for pets and their families far and wide.

Visit to get involved.

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