Chain + Doelle Lakes

Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington

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Chain + Doelle Lakes


  • Fireweed flowers on the Pacific Crest Trail as it winds through Stevens Pass.- Chain + Doelle Lakes
  • Overlooking the backside of Stevens Pass.- Chain + Doelle Lakes
  • Talus slopes.- Chain + Doelle Lakes
  • Josephine Lake.- Chain + Doelle Lakes
  • The trail gets rougher as it heads up to the lakes.- Chain + Doelle Lakes
  • The view over Icicle Creek Canyon.- Chain + Doelle Lakes
  • Campsite at Chain Lakes.- Chain + Doelle Lakes
  • One of three Chain Lakes.- Chain + Doelle Lakes
  • Lake and peaks, evening and morning light.- Chain + Doelle Lakes
  • Talus slope above Chain Lakes, on the way to Doelle Lakes.- Chain + Doelle Lakes
  • View of Chain Lakes from the ridge.- Chain + Doelle Lakes
  • View to the north all the way to Mount Baker (10,781').- Chain + Doelle Lakes
  • Bull's Tooth.- Chain + Doelle Lakes
  • Doelle Lakes and surrounding peaks.- Chain + Doelle Lakes
  • Doelle Lakes.- Chain + Doelle Lakes
  • Doelle Lakes.- Chain + Doelle Lakes
  • Chain and Doelle shores.- Chain + Doelle Lakes
Overview + Weather
Great views. Lakeside camping. Solitude.
Alpine Lakes Wilderness, WA
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
2,800.00 ft (853.44 m)
Parking Pass: 
NW Forest Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
21.50 mi (34.60 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
4,062.00 ft (1,238.10 m)
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description


Less celebrated than lakes in the Enchantments, but no less beautiful, Chain and Doelle Lakes are a must see for backpackers seeking solitude in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Hikers aiming for these lakes will also get to experience a section of one of the most famous trails in the country, the Pacific Crest Trail. Established as a national scenic route in 1968, the PCT now hosts thousands of hikers per year, hundreds of whom attempt to thru-hike the entire 2,600 miles from Mexico to Canada.

The trail starts from Stevens Pass on the PCT, switchbacking up the ridge and down the other side, over ski slopes, and under power lines. Quickly leaving civilization behind, the trail passes little Lake Susan Jane before you must turn onto the Icicle Creek Trail toward Josephine Lake. The trail follows Icicle Creek for several more miles, rolling gently through forests and meadows before reaching the turnoff to Chain Lakes.

Here the trail gets steep, gaining over 2,000 feet in the last 2 miles to the lakes. Loose dirt and rocks make this section a real challenge, but it is more than worth the effort once you reach the first of Chain Lakes. A staggeringly high ridge surrounds the lakes, and the craggy granite Bull's Tooth looms impressively as the highest point in sight at 6,800 feet. There are numerous places to camp on all three lakes, and you likely will not have much competition for space.

Continue another mile over a 6,200-foot pass to the even more remote Doelle Lakes for the most private camping experience, or make it a day trip. The views from the ridge are stunning; on a clear day you'll see the peaks of the Chiwaukum Mountains and Stuart Range in the distance and Doelle Lakes in the basin below.

Note that fires are not allowed at Chain and Doelle Lakes.

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(28 within a 30 mile radius)

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(97 within a 30 mile radius)

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