According to the ancient Greeks, the Minotaur was a half-man, half-bull that lived in a complex maze called the Labyrinth. Theseus, a mythological hero, killed the Minotaur to save sacrificial children from being devoured by the beast. But don't let the gory nature of the namesake of Minotaur Lake scare you away from this beautiful alpine gem.
Minotaur Lake lies just beneath the rocky summit of Labyrinth Mountain and west of Theseus Lake. This hike is an excellent way to refresh your Greek mythology while enjoying some easy-access alpine scenery. Of course, the easy access is all relative; while the hike to Minotaur Lake is less than 2 miles long, the trail gains over 1,000 feet of elevation in the first mile. After that, the trail relents a bit. As it enters greener meadows on its way to the lake, you can catch your breath and observe colorful wildflowers along the trail. Overnight visitors can choose from several backcountry campsites on either side of the lake, which offers swimming opportunities if you're not afraid of cold water. Be sure to bring bug spray, since the mosquitos enjoy the lakeside views as much as we do.
Above the lake, Labyrinth Mountain beckons for exploration. Skirting around the east side of the lake provides the easiest way to the top. From the broad, open summit, views of Glacier Peak and myriad other peaks abound on a clear day. Listen for the squeaks of pika darting along the rocky slopes. Watch for birds and butterflies zooming above the summit ridge. Savor all that nature has to offer before descending the steep trail back to your car.