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Cyclone Lake

North Cascades, Washington

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Cyclone Lake

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  • Be ready to use your hands for balance on the 1.5-mile climb to 5,500 feet.- Cyclone Lake
  • First views of Snowking Mountain (7,433') and Cyclone Lake at the base.- Cyclone Lake
  • The downhill isn't much easier.- Cyclone Lake
  • Found Lake in the valley below.- Cyclone Lake
  • - Cyclone Lake
  • Little Cyclone Lake and Snowking Mountain (7,433').- Cyclone Lake
  • A large granite ledge is a perfect platform for jumping into Little Cyclone Lake.- Cyclone Lake
  • Looking north to Eldorado (8,868').- Cyclone Lake
  • Scrambling on the ridge above Cyclone Lake to reach Snowking Mountain.- Cyclone Lake
  • - Cyclone Lake
  • Alpine views above Cyclone Lake.- Cyclone Lake
  • Alpine views above Cyclone Lake.- Cyclone Lake
  • Alpine views above Cyclone Lake.- Cyclone Lake
  • Cyclone Lake.- Cyclone Lake
  • - Cyclone Lake
  • Sunset on Snowking.- Cyclone Lake
  • An alpine reflection.- Cyclone Lake
  • Sunset in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.- Cyclone Lake
  • A beautiful end to the day near Cyclone Lake.- Cyclone Lake
  • Camp life near Cyclone Lake.- Cyclone Lake
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Solitude. Swimming. Great views. Wildflowers.
Cons: 
Challenging route finding.
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Region:
North Cascades, WA
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
4,300.00 ft (1,310.64 m)
Parking Pass: 
NW Forest Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Summer
Total Distance: 
13.60 mi (21.89 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
1,200.00 ft (365.76 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

Cyclone Lake is the largest and highest of the alpine lakes that lie on the flanks of Snowking Mountain in the North Cascades. The lake is a popular base camp for climbers attempting Snowking Mountain. The 7,400-foot peak is an enjoyable climb with sticky granite and a few mixed scrambles to spice things up. Go up on a weekend and you're likely to meet a couple of other hikers; go midweek and you'll likely have the place to yourself. 

The 7-mile trail to Cyclone Lake should be considered more of a climber's trail. There are a few switchbacks along the way, but for the most part, the trail goes straight up the fall-line. After nearly bushwhacking your way up an abandoned logging road for 3 miles, you'll take a sharp left and go straight up hill. Follow the pink or orange flagging as you gain 2,700 feet over the next 1.5 miles. The footpath can be hard to follow at times, so keep an eye out for the flagging to get you through the tough spots. After gaining the second ridge, you'll be greeted with views of Snowking Mountain and the numerous glacial lakes around it. Continue south along the ridge until you reach Cyclone Lake and the tarns that surround it. 

Climbers looking to summit will follow the prominent ridge working southwest from Cyclone Lake. A few scrambles along the way will keep things interesting. Ice axes and crampons are recommended if you are climbing in the early to mid-summer. Bears are in the area, so always hang your food away from camp and use bear resistant containers.

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Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(17 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(32 within a 30 mile radius)

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