The Maple Pass Loop Hike is known as a classic, five-star route in Washington's North Cascades. The trail is incredibly diverse. You'll hike across talus fields, through old-growth forest, and along open ridges colored with wildflowers. Wildlife can be seen all around, from whistling marmots, scurrying chipmunks, and vegetation-gathering pikas to rare predator sightings – was it a coyote or a wolf? Because it is a loop, the terrain is always new, and you won't be backtracking during this trek. And of course, the trail is known for its views. Maple Pass Loop offers alpine lake views of too many North Cascade peaks to name, from nearby Corteo and Black to Glacier in the distance. As far as North Cascade day hikes go, this one is hard to beat.
From the large parking area, follow “Lake Trail” signs to the Lake Ann and Maple Pass Loop Trail. At this junction you can go either way. Hiking this loop counterclockwise is best for a gentler approach, so head right and reach another junction at 1.3 miles. The trail to the left leads half a mile out to Lake Ann, a pretty lake in the cirque beneath Maple Pass. To the right, continue climbing to reach Heather Pass at 2.3 miles. Climb some more, looking down upon Lake Ann before reaching Maple Pass in a little over a mile.
Check out the endless views at Maple Pass, then hike to the trail's high point upon Frisco Mountain's shoulder. Relax at the nearly 7,000-foot perch, and it's all downhill from here. Switchback down the ridge, watching for Rainy Lake off to the right. Once you hit pavement, take a left to complete the loop or go right to reach Rainy Lake in half a mile. Either way, the Maple Pass Loop Hike is a premier route that showcases some of the best that Washington's North Cascades has to offer.