Josephine Lake sits at the head of Icicle Creek Valley, its sparkling blue waters an invitation to hikers looking for a place to stop for lunch or camp for the night. Hiking the 5 miles to Josephine Lake from Stevens Pass will give you the chance to experience a stretch of one of the most famous hiking trails in the country. The Pacific Crest Trail was designated a national scenic route in 1968, and it is now visited by thousands of hikers each year. Several hundred thru-hikers undertake the entire 2,600 miles of the PCT from Mexico to Canada annually.
Begin by hiking along the PCT, which switchbacks up a ridge from Stevens Pass and crosses under several immobile ski lifts. After 2 miles of climbing you will be rewarded by a stunning view of the Chiwaukum Mountains, neighboring ridges, and the valley down below. Descend over ski slopes and under power lines for another mile until civilization is left behind at the Alpine Lakes Wilderness border. Hike by little Lake Susan Jane on the PCT before crossing through a subalpine meadow and reaching the junction with the Icicle Creek Trail.
On the Icicle Creek Trail, drop down the ridge to the basin where Josephine Lake sits ensconced in fir and cedar trees. There are a couple of spots to camp near the lake, as well as another more inconspicuous spot further down the trail. Enjoy a rest on the log-strewn bank, or get out the fishing gear and prepare to catch your dinner. If you would like to hike further, consider visiting the beautiful Chain and Doelle Lakes another 5 miles down the trail.