The Alpine Lakes Wilderness hosts more than 700 beautiful lakes, and Talapus Lake is one of the more accessible and commonly visited of them all. The trek to Talapus Lake is a great introduction to hiking and backpacking, consisting of just more than 2 miles of wide trails and a mild grade that climbs 650 feet. As the trail leads past cedars, firs, salmon berries, and various wildflowers, you'll even have the chance to stop and wade in Talapus Creek, which the trail intersects several times on its way up to the lake.
Despite the lake's relative proximity to I-90, it is easy to feel days away from civilization as you stand among the tall trees and look out over the perfectly clear blue lake. There are several places to sit enjoy lunch or to take a dip in the chilly water and cool off as you continue along the lakeside trail. There are five or six primitive campsites and a pit toilet just off of the main trail, so for those wishing for a light backcountry camping experience, this is a good place to start.
Stop here for the day, or continue on another mile or so to Olallie Lake.
Note: You may want to bring bug repellent, as there are some mosquitos by the lake. Also, dogs are welcome as long as they are on a leash.