Winter Backpack to Jade Lake

22 miles 4000 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Matt England

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.

Read More

Tags

Camping
Backpacking
Hiking
Forest
Lake
Scenic

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

December

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.

Stay Nearby

Snoqualmie Pass, Washington

Kachess

Overview Kachess Campground sits just off the forested northwest shore of Kachess Lake in Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Set in dense old-growth conifer forest and surrounded by high mountai...

Ronald, Washington

Cayuse Horse Camp

Overview Cayuse Horse Campground sits in the foothills of the Cascade mountains in Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. A favorite among horse enthusiasts, the campground is nestled in a mixed-c...

Cle Elum, Washington

Salmon La Sac

Overview Salmon La Sac Campground is bordered by the Cle Elum and Cooper Rivers in Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. This campground is a popular gathering place for individuals and families wa...

Ronald, Washington

Cle Elum River Group Site

Overview Cle Elum River Group Campground is located within the Cle Elum River Campground situated just off its namesake river in Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Set in a mixed-conifer forest ...

Nearby Adventures

  • Hike to Dip Top Gap

    This is a great side trip from Backpacking to Marmot & Jade Lakes. Check out the Adventure linked above for directions on how to get as far as Jade Lake.  I would recommend 2 nights at either Marmot or Jade to allow for a full day of explorati...

    25 miles 5000 ft gain

  • Trail Run to Robin Lakes

    Starting Elevation: 3400 Feet Ending Elevation: 6178 Feet Round Trip Run: 17 Miles Total Elevation Gained for the Day: 4100 FeetIt's best to drive to the trailhead the night before and camp out (I slept in my Jeep to get an early start on the next...

    17 miles 4100 ft gain

  • Backpack to Marmot and Jade Lakes

    The road in is passable with basically any vehicle, though there are some potholes to be avoided. Start at the Deception Pass Trailhead near the parking lot. There is a quick and easy 4.5 miles as you pass Hyas Lake, then you start climbing up to ...

    18 miles

  • Backpack Tuck and Robin Lakes

    Robin Lakes have been coined "The Little Enchantments", and once you visit, you'll realize the nickname is strikingly accurate. But while the hike up is no Aasgard Pass, it's far from a walk in the park.When you leave the car at the end of the pot...

    16 miles 3000 ft gain