Just 1.75 miles from its trailhead off North Cascades Highway, Lake Ann rests in a cirque beneath 6,600-foot Maple Pass. Not to be confused with Lake Ann in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, this Lake Ann is easier to access and can be reached in an hour or less.
From the large parking area, follow “Lake Trail” signs to the Lake Ann and Maple Pass Loop Trail. The flat, paved trail that leaves to the left leads to Rainy Lake, so you will want to head right at the trail junction. Walk through the forest and wildflower fields on your way to another junction at 1.3 miles. Here, turn left for Lake Ann. The trail to the right continues to Maple Pass, a loop well worth considering if you're up for doubling the length of your hike and gaining 2,000 feet of elevation.
Reach the lake in a little less than half a mile from the junction. Take a break and ponder why this pristine lake, with its picturesque miniature island, lies just outside the border of North Cascades National Park rather than within it. Enjoy lunch here, but leave your backpacking tent at home. Camping is prohibited within a quarter mile of Lake Ann to protect this fragile environment.