Winter Backpack to Jade Lake

Washington Hyas Lake Trailhead

  • Activities:

    Camping, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Advanced

  • Season:

    Winter

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    22 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    4000 Feet

Forest
Lake
Scenic

The winter hike up to Jade Lake offers a technical challenge, but you'll be rewarded with peaceful tranquility and stunning landscapes.

Starting at the Hyas Lake trailhead north of Cle Elum, it's a meandering easy hike through the woods for about 5.0 miles up to Deception Pass. You gain 1100 feet through this first five miles to the junction with the PCT. From here take a left to continue on the Lake Clarice Trail towards Marmot Lake. These next 4.5 miles see you lose several hundred feet of elevation before gaining it all back plus another few more. Enjoy sweeping views of the Deception Creek Valley off to your right as you gain elevation.

From Marmot Lake, things start to get interesting. Follow a sometimes-hard-to-follow trail past the campsites and continue on along the left side of the lake. Eventually you break out into a bolder field, and begin following the rock cairns up and up. This is where it gets dicey if you don't have the proper gear. Poles and spikes are definitely required if there is snow on the ground - there is much loose rock here!

However, if you brave the scramble, the 500 feet of elevation gain above Marmot Lake is worth the work. The views keep getting better below you, and soon you'll break out into an alpine meadow surrounding No Name Lake. From here pick back up a worn boot-trail, and continue South-Southeast and soon you'll see the emerald green waters of Jade Lake!

There are not many campsites around Jade Lake; however, this only means that you'll have fewer neighbors, which after all - is why you're here. Choose a site overlooking the brilliant jade waters, and enjoy the peaceful serenity of the mountains around. Take in the contrasting hues of the blue water and the white snow around you. If you're really brave, an assent of Dip Top Gap is warranted, however this should only be attempted by the prepared/skilled if there is snow.

Total mileage roundtrip by the map is around 22 miles - but my FitBit and GPS registered in closer to 30 with a brief detour on the PCT and a side trip up to Tuck Lake on the egress.

Pack List

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Warm sleeping pad
  • Trekking poles
  • Micro-spikes/trail-crampons
  • Camera
  • Hot chocolate
  • Whiskey
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Reviews

Overall rating: 

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If you do this hike in the winter the road to the trailhead is closed. You'll need a snowmobile if you don't plan on an extra 12-ish miles just to the trailhead. I walked it. Bring snow shoes too. I had one of the most spectacular trips though. Well worth the trip.

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

Matt England

I test airplanes Monday through Friday; I use my GoreTex and tent Saturdays and Sundays.

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

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