Hike to Josephine Lake

Rate this Adventure Washington Stevens Pass

Added by Megan Justice

A beautiful and scenic hike along the PCT through the Central Cascades - this pristine lake is sure to take your breath away.  

Starting in the parking lot at Steven's Pass Ski Resort (roughly 4,062 feet in elevation; I recommend parking in E lot), start by walking between the two main lodges towards the ski lifts. You'll see a trail on the northwest-facing slope that switches back across the mountain - this is the PCT. Once on the PCT, continue through dense foliage and towering pines as you pass under the ski lifts and power lines supplying the ski resort. There are several mini streams along the path, which feed the vibrant plant life all along the trail. Wildflowers and mushrooms decorate the sides of the trail as you trek up towards the top of the mountain. If interested in mushroom hunting, the heavily wood-chipped areas are the place to look. After about 1.9 miles, you should be coming up to the top of the mountain. Enjoy the view of the Enchantments, Icicle, Mt. Stuart and even Snoqualmie Pass. There is much to take in, and this is a great spot for a snack or water break. After a brief pause to take in the scenery, continue down the trail on the other side of the mountain, where it switches back through fields of wildflowers, berries, meadows, and pines. Once passing the set of three power lines, you won't be bothered by societal disturbances anymore. The trail continues through the mountain side, climbing through rock fields, heavily wooded areas, and thick plant growth. You'll come to a small lake on your right called Susan Jane Lake, at the base of a rather large rock field. This is a smaller alpine lake, but just as beautiful as the others in the Central Cascades. Continue up the trail as it switches back above this small lake through rather thick brush and growth (I used my hiking poles to gently move thorned plants out of my path) and follow past a beautiful open meadow. You'll come to a crossroads, where the PCT intersects Icicle Creek Trail. Turn left onto Icicle Creek trail and follow it around and down. You'll start to see glimpses of the lake as you descend down towards the flatter area, closer to shore. Be careful on this part of the trail, as the rocks and roots pose as a tripping hazard. Once down by the lake, you'll find several hidden and private camp sites within the trees. Enjoy the beautiful view and quiet surroundings of this awe-inspiring lake.

Roughly 5 miles one-way, 10 miles roundtrip.

Coordinates:  47.718420, -121.054534

For more adventure, hike back up to the PCT/Icicle Creek Trail junction and continue south on the PCT for a couple miles. The views of the Cascades are just incredible. Definitely worth the journey. 

Pack List

  • Tent (with rainfly)
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Rain gear
  • Extra pair of socks
  • Fishing pole
  • Water filter
  • Stove
  • Headlamp
  • Camera
  • Trekking poles
  • Hammock
  • Food
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

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



Backpacking, Camping, Chillin, Fishing, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



5 Miles

Elev. Gain:

2100 Feet


Easy Parking

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

Have you done this adventure? Have something to add? You could be the first to leave a review!

Added by Megan Justice

Seattle. Nature. Backpacking. Camping. Bouldering. Yoga. Cycling.

More Adventures Nearby

Hike Mount Catherine

Washington / Mount Catherine Trailhead

Start off on the extremely rough Forest Service 9070 road. Follow this for just over 4 miles until you see a sign for trail #1348 on the right.

Bryan Carroll
25 Saves

Hike to Gem Lake

Washington / Snow Lake Trailhead

The trail to Gem Lake lies along the same trail that passes by the incredibly popular Snow Lake.

Shelby Pothier
20 Saves

Hike to Elk Pass via "the Knife"

Washington / Snowgrass Flat Trailhead

This is a rather long out and back, however, it can also be done as a backpack, which would give you more time to explore the Goat Rocks Wilderness, which is highlighted in other Adventures.

Isaac Desautels
18 Saves