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Minotaur Lake

North Cascades, Washington

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Minotaur Lake

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  • The trail up is very steep. - Minotaur Lake
  • Purple mountain heather (Phyllodoce breweri).- Minotaur Lake
  • Lush, green meadows and pale gray boulders cover the ground above Minotaur Lake.- Minotaur Lake
  • Working up the summit trail to Labyrinth Mountain.- Minotaur Lake
  • Your first view of Minotaur Lake as you enter the basin.- Minotaur Lake
  • Above Minotaur Lake, the blue waters of Thesus Lake appear.- Minotaur Lake
  • Minotaur Lake view from a saddle on the way to the summit of Labyrinth Mountain.- Minotaur Lake
  • It's hard not to stop and take in the scenic views on the way up to Labyrinth Mountain.- Minotaur Lake
  • Panoramic views from the top of Labyrinth Mountain.- Minotaur Lake
  • Looking south from the summit of Labyrinth Mountain at Theseus Lake (left) and Minotaur Lake (right).- Minotaur Lake
  • The view down the west ridge of Labyrinth Mountain.- Minotaur Lake
  • Life on the edge above Theseus Lake.- Minotaur Lake
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Breathtaking views. Nice swimming hole. Several camping options.
Cons: 
Short and steep ascent. Rough roads to trailhead.
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Region:
North Cascades, WA
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
2,700.00 ft (822.96 m)
Parking Pass: 
NW Forest Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Summer
Total Distance: 
3.00 mi (4.83 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
3,676.00 ft (1,120.44 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

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. 

 

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Nearby Camping + Lodging

(26 within a 30 mile radius)

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(73 within a 30 mile radius)

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