Added by Warren Behymer
Lake Ann is 1 mile shorter (and 600 ft. less of elevation gain) than Lake Ingalls, but both trail start at the same spot with a starting elevation at 4000 ft. You can fish for Cut Throat Trout, go swimming on a hot summer day and get close and personal with Mount Stuart with views of the mountain range.
Both trails start at the Esmeralda Trailhead, Trail Number 1394. Lake Ann has a handful of folks that you will run into, whereas Lake Ingalls is a well-traveled trail. Both offer camping spots along the trail, and Lake Ann has spots where you can camp by the lake. NO CAMPING ALLOWED at Lake Ingalls, however.
The first .3 miles is a rocky and loose dirt run uphill. When you see a post on your righthand side, continue onto the Esmeralda Basin Trail. For the next 2.7 miles you will have a rocky run and cross several streams. You will see an opening of the Basin that will give you a view of Esmeralda Peaks - a great photo opportunity. Continue uphill and after a few switchbacks, you will see another post on your right. Turn right towards Lake Ann. This starts out as a short uphill run, then it levels out for a bit.
At the top, you can get a view of Lake Ann and the mountain range in the background. There are visible campsites on top, and a few down by the lake. Consider spending the night, either in this area or back by the trailhead (I drove down the road and found a place to camp by a stream).
The next morning, head back to the trailhead. At the .3 mile mark, with the post on your right, turn right, this time, and make a steady uphill climb for the next 1.4 miles. It will be switchback after switchback, but this makes it easy to ascend. You will see a post for Longpass Trail, blocked by some trees and rocks, but continue straight up for the next 1.7 miles.
You will cross some avalanche shoots, (I did this in spring when it is covered in snow, very slippery) and just before Ingalls Pass, you will see where the trail breaks to the left and right. The left side is used mainly during the winter and early spring, and is a straight uphill climb. You want to follow it to the right and make the switchbacks. It is rocky, so instead of running I hiked up to the top of the pass.
Here you get an awesome view of Mount Stuart and the valley. Follow the trail to the left - the one to the right takes you down to some campsite areas. When you get about 0.75 miles in you will see larches and tons of camp spots. This is the closest you can camp to the lake. From here you can hike through the rocks, following the cairns up to Lake Ingalls. Enjoy some snacks, soak up some sun, and talk to other folks who might be there.
When I was done, I headed back into Seattle, but first made a quick stop at Red Robin to meet my oldest son, and spoiled myself to burger and fries!!!
- Camelpak with a 100 oz bladder pack
- 2 Fugi apples
- Cheese sticks
- Trail mix
- Extra 16 oz water bottle to use with Nuun Electrolytes
- Camera/camera phone
- Headphones to jam to some trail running tunes
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