Hike Alta Mountain

Washington Rachel Lake Trail

  • Activities:

    Camping, Fishing, Photography, Running, Swimming, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    12 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    3300 Feet


You'll have access to three lakes, a full 360 view from the top of Alta Mountain and plenty of overnight camping spots at Rachel, Ramparts, and Lila Lake. There may be wildlife sightings, fishing and swimming in the lakes and views and more views of Rachel Lake :)

Start off at Trail #1313 to Rachel Lake. The first 2.5 miles is a flat, slow uphill hike till you get to a river crossing. From there, the next 1.3 miles will be a 1,000 foot elevation gain to Rachel Lake. Once you arrive, this is a good spot to rest, eat some snacks, and replenish your water supply.

To your right, you will pass two signs, pointing to the toilet and a trail. Follow the trail up and around the lake. There are many side trails that are dead-ends, but most are blocked by trees or rocks. Follow the trail for 0.6 miles until you reach a T-intersection in the trail. Left will take you to Rampart Lakes (0.7 miles), but you want to continue right to Lila Lake (1.1 miles).

About 0.3 miles along the trail, the trail will break to the right, blocked by rocks and tree branches. This trail will lead you up to Alta Mountain. The trail with two cairns on it will lead you to Lila Lake. The next 3.6 miles is an uphill scramble, and you will reach 3 false summits before heading to the 4th summit. Here you will find a cairn on top and a full 360 view.

Getting there: From I-90 East, take exit 62. Take a left and head over the highway. At 5.2 miles, the road veers left, passing Lake Kachess Campground. Go another 0.3 miles, now on gravel, and take a right at a sign for Rachel Lake/Trail 1313. At this point, the road gets a little rough. 3.8 miles from the campground, take a left into a pair of one-way parking lots.

Pack List

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Water filter
  • Camelpak
  • Protein bars
  • Snacks (apple, cheese, crackers)
  • Sleeping pad
  • Nikon 5300 camera
  • Tripod
  • Change of clothes
  • Towel for after the swim in the lake
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Hand wipes
  • Northwest Forrest Pass
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Alta is also a great spot for fall colors! While most others are chasing golden larches elsewhere, you can find a beautiful array of oranges, reds, and yellows coloring the landscapes surrounding Alta in the fall season. Check it out now before those beautiful colors fade away!

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

Warren Behymer

Sharing my weekend adventures in the mountains from Washington State. 

 Hiking, mountain running, camping and backpacking.

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