Backpack Gothic Basin to Foggy Lake

Washington Gothic Basin, Central Cascades, WA

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On this backpacking trip, take in stunning alpine peaks including nearby Del Campo Peak and Gothic Peak, and of course, Foggy Lake.

Drive the Mountain Loop Highway to Barlow Pass and park at the pass using your Northwest Forest Pass. (In early or late season, be aware of snow conditions at the pass and, more importantly, along the trail up to Gothic Basin.)

From Barlow Pass, start hiking south past the trail gate and in the direction of the old abandoned mining town, Monte Cristo.

After about one mile of easy hiking along this virtually flat and wide trail, take a right onto the Weeden Creek trail, which gradually navigates through the old-growth forests for about a mile or two and then starts gaining elevation with steep switchbacks. Once you reach the steep switchbacks, the hike becomes rather strenuous and remains that way for the remainder of the hike to the end basin.

Continue to hike up the steep trail and eventually cross several waterfalls. In the last mile or two before reaching the basin, the trail may require you to navigate around several trees ("blowdowns") and do some easy climbing and navigating over rocky sections of the trail.

In total, the hike to Gothic Basin is approximately 4.5 miles (one way) with over 2800 feet of elevation gain from Barlow Pass.

Upon reaching Gothic Basin itself, continue past the first few alpine tarns and eventually reach beautiful Foggy Lake, tucked between Del Campo Peak and Gothic Peak.

There are many great camp sites on the South side of Foggy Lake, as well as on the ridge closer to the base of Gothic Peak.

If you like to fish, Foggy Lake is a great place to try your luck, assuming it is not too early or late in the season when the lake is snow covered.

If you have the skill, required gear, and knowledge of the correct routes, one can scramble to the summits of Del Campo Peak and/or Gothic Peak, both of which can be reached from the lake and both provide stunning views of the surrounding Cascade peaks.

Pack List

  • Hiking gear (if day hiking)
  • Backpacking gear (if planning on overnight camping)
  • Camera
  • Fishing pole, tackle, and bait (if you plan to fish at Foggy Lake)
  • Northwest Forest Pass (for parking at Barlow Pass on the Mountain Loop Highway)
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Activities:

Backpacking, Fishing, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:

Intermediate

Season:

Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

9 Miles

Elev. Gain:

2800 Feet

Rating:

Features:

Forest
Lake
River
Scenic

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How to Get There

about 1 month ago

Awesome

This backpacking trip is one of my fondest memories. It is strenuous - after we left the old growth forest behind, we quickly realized that the trail-makers had "forgotten what switchbacks were." The views of the Basin were amazing. If you get the opportunity to explore, it is filled with small streams, steep drop-offs, grassy hills, and small mountain lakes. Take off your clothes and jump in - just make sure its sunny out and you have a way to dry off! (That glacier water will certainly cool you down) As the other reviewer mentioned, Foggy Lake wasn't as breathtaking as I expected. I was much more fascinated, and entertained, by the Basin itself. The ground there was also softer, flatter, and not on direct rocks, so we decided to head back down and camp there instead. The Basin is much more lush - Foggy Lake is higher up with little vegetation. Overall, it was a beautiful hike, and highly recommended. Hike or backpacking. We saw few people, but everyone was panting with exertion. Be prepared, and bring water!

about 1 month ago

over 1 year ago

lower your expectations

Backpacked this 9/26/15 - Overnight hike The steep forest switchbacks are quite mundane as no viewpoints to soak in some nature goodness . At least I was in good company to keep me entertained.... trail was busy and had to stop every 5-10mins to let people pass or the let us by , every person we passed said we HAD to push on pass the basin to see foggy lake (which was our game plan anyway) . The basin was beautiful and my partner mentioned how much it reminded him of New Zealand .... we didn't stip to soak it in much because we were too excited to see the mentioned "amazingness" of Foggy Lake . After following cairn after cairn up rocks and Boulder faces , and after a smaller tease lake , we found Foggy Lake . We were taken aback, not by its overwhelming beauty but by the fact that we didn't find it spectacular . We both looked at each other and asked "This is it?" We even shouted across the lake by Del Campo peak to ask the yonder group of it was in fact Foggy Lake . When it was confirmed , we took a minute to get over our nature snobbery and set up camp . Wish we would have headed back down and camped in the basin. Anyway , I give it four or of five stars because it's a good challenging PNW hike to check off your list , other than that there really wasn't anything grand about it .

over 1 year ago

Added by Scott Kranz

Full-time commercial and editorial photographer specializing in outdoor sports, lifestyle, landscapes, and travel photography.

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