Backpack to Upper Wildcat Lake



15 miles

Elevation Gain

4600 ft

Route Type


Added by Scott Kranz

Avoid the crowd at Snow Lake and continue to more secluded lakes with a peaceful campsite at Upper Wildcat. Rumor has it there’s good fishing up there too!

Although this hike is possible if you’re looking for an all-day training hike, it’s much more enjoyable if it’s an overnight backpacking trip.

Head up the trail past Snow Lake toward Gem Lake. En route to Snow Lake will be a little crowded, but should lighten significantly as you continue hiking. The hike from Snow to Gem Lake is relatively level with only a few fluctuations. Once you get to Gem Lake at about 5 miles, you may want to stop for a quick break to grab a snack and refill water if needed. From here, you’ll hike around to the backside of the lake and start dropping almost 1,000 feet covering many switchbacks. Once you’ve done the full descent, it’s a flat stretch to Lower Wildcat Lake. Don’t get too excited about the campsite here, the campsite at Upper Wildcat is pretty amazing.

To get to to Upper Wildcat, look for the sign from the Lower Wildcat campsite, which will lead you to the trail toward Upper Wildcat. This stretch of the trail is about 0.5 miles with a gain of roughly 400 feet.

Once you're up to Upper Wildcat, set up camp and enjoy the peacefulness. You may even have the place to yourself.

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Wrong Location

This hike is depicted as originating in from the Icicle River out of Leavenworth and going by Snow Lakes. That is wrong. I’m not sure where the Wildcat Lakes are but they aren’t where the app says. There must be another Snow Lake some where. When Lakes were being named if a lake didn’t have a name it was named”Snow Lake” apparently.

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We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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