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Pets allowed
Yes
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
4.40 mi (7.08 km)
Please respect the outdoors and leave no trace. One tip how to dispose of waste properly: Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products. For more information, visit https://lnt.org/learn/7-principles

Best known for its spectacular fall colors and easy access, Blue Lake is a classic hike in Washington's North Cascades. Just 2.2 miles and 1,000 feet of elevation gain from Highway 20, this short hike is a great way to break up the long drive between eastern and western Washington.

Begin hiking through a forest and over boardwalks to a big, open meadow at 0.9 miles. During summer, this meadow is covered in wildflowers. If you are visiting in September or October, watch for larches; their needles turn golden yellow in the fall. Continue along the trail to re-enter the forest, cross a stream, and arrive at the lake shore within an hour of parking your car.

A large boulder on Blue Lake's west side makes for the perfect picnic perch. From here, check out the Liberty Bell Group towering overhead. Usually viewed from the north at the Washington Pass Overlook, Liberty Bell and the Early Winters Spires are visible over Blue Lake from the southwest. Nearby, a larch arches over the lake for another irresistible North Cascade photo-op. Hiking trails run along both sides of the lake, but none encircle it. Head out along one of these paths to find solitude, and perhaps some wildlife, among the mountains.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

NW Forest Pass

Pros

Brilliant fall colors. Short trail. Great views.

Cons

None.

Trailhead Elevation

5,200.00 ft (1,584.96 m)

Net Elevation Gain

1,000.00 ft (304.80 m)

Address

WA-20
Winthrop, WA 98862
United States

Features

Big vistas
Wildflowers

Typically multi-day

No

Location

Field Guide

Comments

09.24.18
The fall colors are starting to show at Blue Lake
08.13.17
Blue Lake has some great views and wildflowers in the summer. The water was definitely too cold for swimming - even on a hot day.
09.24.16
I did this hike recently with my 3 y/o son. It is a beautiful hike and family friendly due to its accessibility and short duration.
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