Hike to Blanca Lake

Washington Blanca Lake Trail

  • Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Spring, Summer

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    7.5 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    3300 Feet

Easy Parking
Cliff Jumping

Blanca Lake is a challenging yet scenic hike in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness that is 7.5 miles roundtrip with 3300 feet of elevation gain.

Take US Hwy 2 east from Monroe to just past the town of Skykomish. Turn left on to FR 65 and drive past the Beckler River Campground. Take FR 65 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.

This lake is one of the most striking lakes in Alpine Lakes wilderness. The vibrant blue of the glacier-fed lake provides the perfect rest stop for any hikers who have braved the thirty-odd, steep switchbacks that lead to the lake. Lots of hiking through second old growth forests. The lake is framed to the north by the peaks of Monte Cristo, Columbia, and Keyes. It is remarkable.

Once you get to the top of the ridge line most of the trekking is over. The hard part is done :) Huckleberry bushes are scattered all through out the trail and BOY are they yummy.

Pack List

  • Snacks
  • Day Pack
  • Water
  • Hiking Boots
  • Trekking Poles
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Overall rating: 

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Beware, the trailhead has been viciously washed out, which adds a few extra miles to an already demanding hike, so only the brave and the foolish will prevail. Start early, not to avoid foot traffic, but because it will take a while to summit... and then the lake will take you captive like the silent siren it is. Switchbacks, bugs and intense inclines will make you hate life a little bit, but know that if you persist, you will be heavily rewarded. Spoiler alert: you will reach a point where the end feels near (you are at the highest point, there are lakes, the earlier intensity seems to have subsided etc). Please note it is not. You have a long, steep decline ahead of you that is significantly longer than you are prepared for. What got me through the whole thing was thinking I was close, but I have probably ruined that one for you if you disregarded the spoiler alert. All I can say is JUST KEEP HIKING! Eventually, gloriously, and with great aplomb, you will reach the mother effing Lake and she will knock your socks off. The suffering you've just endured will be forgiven because the price was just. Bring your swimsuit because you are a masochist now - the glacier water will be so cold it will hurt, and you will love it. Stay for a long time, because it puts off the fact that you eventually need to hike back. Know that it will suck, but your friends will be instagram-jealous and memories of Blanca will make you believe in magic again.

about 1 month ago
about 1 month ago

The access road is closed indefinitely so this adds an extra 4 miles round trip to the already challenging hike. But, the hike was worth it! When you round the corner and catch a glimpse of the lake for the first time, you feel a sense of enchantment. It's beautiful and serene, highly recommend it. The hike up is very steep and steadily climbs uphill the whole way so do ensure you're in good shape before you attempt it. There was still some snowfall at the top in July which made the hike interesting :).

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

When you turn the corner and take in your first views of Blanca Lake, you kind of want to stop right in your tracks. In many of the hikes I'v experienced around the state, the water at Blanca has been some of the most vibrant. As this trip is becoming increasingly more popular, remember to pack in and pack out.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

My first backpack trip was here, still one of my favorites! One of the best spots in WA...in my opinion.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

I'd recommend bringing some brews for the top :) the view is to die for.

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

Crossed the log jam and did an overnight next to this beauty of a lake. SUPER CROWDED on the weekends. Go on the weekday. Trust me.

almost 3 years ago
almost 3 years ago

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

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