This 7.2 non-repeating trail has spectacular views the entire way. With majestic old-growth forests, a shimmering alpine lake, alpine meadows, enticing open ridges, and stunning North Cascades vistas. If you love wildflowers, Maple Pass's annual flower show is UNREAL!

Note to any hikers taking on this trail, this is a non-repeating trail meaning it goes in a big loop. The trailhead has 2 trail points of entrance. To the right (the pathway that is not paved) is the counter-clockwise route, a little less steep and more scenic at the start. To the left, the trail takes a steep start all the way to the ridge line. Both starts are beautiful, just depends on your skill level. I will describe the counter-clockwise route which you take the path directly behind fee/ sign-in station. There is a laminated sign on a tree that says Lake Ann/ Maple Pass.

In roughly 1.25 miles after starting there is a trail that branches left to take you to Lake Ann (really beautiful). The trail is 0.6 miles round trip and really stunning (so kind of a no-brainer) and you can also see to where you are heading.

0.75 miles past the Lake Ann detour is when you'll reach Heathers Pass, where you can see Lewis Lake, Wing Lake and Black Peak. Getting back on trail, it goes left on the ridge line and up to Maple Pass (which you will see NCNP signs).

Take in this amazing view at 6,650ft with the Corteo, Frisco, Goode, Stiletto, Black Peak mountains in the background...with the Liberty Bell group even further out. Time for a snack/ lunch or at least more water. Rest and then...

Going back down via the switch-backs is not too bad and first, but the final 2.5 miles is tougher, dropping about 1700ft. in that time. Once you reached the paved road it's only 1 mile back to your car.

Also, if you take highway 20 west after the hike, the Cascade Farm Organic ice cream shack makes the very best chocolate shakes.

Pack List

  • Water
  • Northwest Forest Pass
  • Day Pack
  • Hiking Boots
  • Trekking Poles
  • Snacks/Lunch
  • First Aid Kit
  • Bug Spray
  • Sunscreen
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RT Distance 7.2 Miles
Elevation Gain 2000 Feet
Activities Chillin, Camping, Photography, Running, Backpacking, Hiking, Fitness
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Loop
Features
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Groups
Lake
River
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Either Way You Go...

You'll love this hike. I took the clockwise route, the obviously less popular of the two, and loved it! I found it to be more interesting; you never see the pass until you are right on top of it with the trail winding from one ridge to the next, and the spectacular views evolve the whole way. This means on your way down, you have a more gradual descent as you work your way around Lake Ann. Also, go in the fall for some larch sightings!

The Most Beautiful Hike In The US

I was pleasantly surprised by this hike and after they hiking the Enchantments two days before, I didn't think anything could top those mountains. Sadly, due to the large amount of snowpacks my group was unable to hike past Maple Pass on the counter-clockwise route because it was late in the evening and we didn't want to get lost trying to find footprints in the snow. The views are incredible by Heather Pass!!!Don't miss this hike!

Non-stop views.

It's hard to believe that you can get such incredible views on an 8-mile day hike! I would also suggest the counter-clockwise route; the views on the way up are a nice distraction from the elevation gain. A quick note about the Lake Ann detour - this is not a "sit by the lake and enjoy a snack" kind of experience. It was more like, "let me take a few pictures and escape these bugs." Not saying you shouldn't go - just have the right expectations. Also, once you reach the paved trail, you have less than a half mile to go (not a mile).


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

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

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