Hike to Blue Lake in the North Cascades

Rate this Adventure 4.4 miles 1050 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Crystal Guthrie

Quiet day hike with sweeping vistas of granite peaks, forests and a gorgeous lake near Seattle. Washington has a number of hidden gems in the North Cascades, including this hike to Blue Lake.

The trail begins adjacent to the parking lot and takes you over a few boardwalks as you descend from the road. You will then start ascending through the forest along a well-maintained trail. Near the halfway point of the climb, the trail transitions into sweeping meadows which will have wildflowers in the early Summer. This will be your first view of Early Winters Spire (a popular climbing destination for humans and mountain goats). Press on to Blue Lake and follow a rocky path that circles the lake and a nearby pond. Look in the other direction to see the Liberty Mountains which have sharp, craggy, glacier cut peaks that the North Cascades are known for.

Autumn is one of the best times to experience this hike because you can see and photograph the abundant larch trees, which turn to a golden hue around October. Although they are conifers, their needles turn yellow and then fall off as winter approaches. Take some time to sit by the lake and enjoy the moment. Try dipping your feet into the crisp, cold water to refresh yourself prior to heading back down the trail.

Getting there:North Cascades -- North Cascades Highway - Hwy 20Blue Lake (#314)Coordinates: 48.5191, -120.6742Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Methow Valley Ranger District

Take I-5 to Newhalem, then drive 42 miles further on Highway 20, trailhead will be on the right, just before the Washington Pass Overlook. There is an outhouse by the parking lot.

Read More


Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly


Have you done this adventure? Be the first to leave a review!

Stay Nearby

Stehekin, Washington

North Cascades Lodge at Stehekin

The North Cascades Lodge at Stehekin is a 30-room Lodge and Cabins that has a full-service restaurant with outside dinning and bar area, gift shop, and store.

From $109/night

Cascade River Road

Mineral Park Campground

Overview Mineral Park Campground is situated near the confluence of the North and South Forks of the scenic Cascade River in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.Scattered beneath a towering canopy...

Cascade River Road

Marble Creek Campground

Overview Situated on the banks of the scenic Cascade River in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Marble Creek campground offers some of the most stunning scenery in the northern Cascade Range.Ca...

Rockport, Washington

Colonial Creek South Campground

Overview Colonial Creek South Campground in North Cascades National Park is a remote, yet bustling campground nestled in old growth forest. Located on the south side of State Route 20 near mile ma...

Nearby Adventures

  • Hike to Blue Lake, WA

    Blue Lake is a fantastic alpine lake along a moderate trail in the sawtooth North Cascades, featuring views of some of the most impressive peaks in the range. A 4.5-mile out-and-back gaining about 1,100 feet, the trail to Blue Lake Trail features ...

    4.5 miles 1100 ft gain

  • Climb South Early Winters Spire - South Arete

    From the Blue Lake Trailhead, hike approximately 1.5 miles to an obvious clearing with subsidiary trails that depart uphill and right at a stream crossing. These trails will eventually lead up granite slabs and converge into a main trail. Follow t...

    3 miles 2600 ft gain

  • Climb to the Summit of Liberty Bell via the Beckey Route (5.6)

    Liberty Bell is one of the most prominent and well defined features of the Washington Pass formation in the North Cascades. This beautiful and stunning rock formation looks equally at home in Washington as it would in the Dolomites or Patagonia.Th...

  • Get your shot of Liberty Bell

    Liberty Bell is just one mile south of Washington Pass. This peak is part of a group of spires, which include North and South Early Winters Spires, Concord Tower, and Lexington Tower.If you’ve decided to take in the viewpoints driving Hwy 20 throu...