Winter Backpack to Blanca Lake

Rate this Adventure Washington Blanca Lake Trail

Added by Warren Behymer

Spend the night next to this beautiful teal lake without the summer crowds.

Since Blanca Lake is a very popular place for folks to explore and with the nice and sunny weekend. I drove out Friday night and slept in my Jeep. Got up at 7:30am when folks first started arriving to the trail head.

A couple of things to keep in mind before you start this hike. The 7.5 miles round trip can be deceiving. You are gaining 3300 ft. This quite a strenuous hike, especially if you are not in the best of shape, or if you are carrying a large pack. I recommend starting early if you can, the gain in elevation and switchbacks can get the best of inexperienced hikers.

There is one massive blow down on the trail after you get started, just climb over the tree and after that the trail is full of switch backs. The last 1.5 miles of the trail is still covered in snow. I brought my mircospikes and trekking poles to help me get through the snow.

Virgin Lake is still covered in snow and after that the trail heading down to Blanca Lake is muddy and slippery. When I got the the lake I set up my hammock and rested for a bit before finding a spot to set up camp for the night.

I found my spot and proceeded to build a base for my tent for the next 1.5 hours. Since the area I was working the snow was soft and I packed it down. When finished I took off my wet shoes and socks and hanged them to dry in the hot April weather. I then changed out of my sweaty clothes and put on dry ones. Watch the sunset on the lake and then watched a few movies before starting to take night pics of the stars and lake.

Got up at 6:30am the next morning and broke down camp and packed out. Beautiful lake to visit and extremely popular.

Consider visiting Blanca Lake on a weekday. There is parking available here for about 20 cars, but the lake's popularity, particularly on weekends, often results in far too many cars for the small lot and access road. Please park so that cars and horse trailers can get in and out of the lot.

Driving Directions:

Take US Hwy 2 east from Monroe to just past the town of Skykomish. Turn left on to FR 65, more clearly marked as Beckler River Road, and drive past the Beckler River Campground. Take FR 65 for 15 miles all the way to the intersection of FR 63 and the private Garland Mineral Springs Road. Take a right on FR 63 and proceed about 2 miles. The trailhead is on a small spur road to the left, up another small hill.

Pack List

  • REI 3 Season Passenger II Tent
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Mirco Spikes
  • Trekking Poles
  • Ice Pick
  • Change of Clothes
  • Snacks
  • Jet Boil
  • Top Ramen
  • Nikon D5300 Camera
  • Tripod
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 for music and taking pics
  • LG Tablet to watch movies
  • Beats Pill
  • portable charger for Phone, Tablet and Pill
  • Water Bladder that holds 140oz of water
  • You don't need the parking pass in winter, but in late spring thru Fall you will a Northwest Forest Pass
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More



Backpacking, Camping, Chillin, Fishing, Fitness, Hiking, Photography, Running, Snowshoeing

Skill Level:



Spring, Winter

Trail Type:



7.5 Miles

Elev. Gain:

3300 Feet


Family Friendly

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Added by Warren Behymer

Sharing my weekend adventures in the mountains from Washington State. 
 Hiking, mountain running, camping and backpacking.

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