Hike to Monogram Lake

Lookout Mountain Trailhead - Search Nearby - Added by Emily Noyd

Your burning legs will be rewarded with panoramic views, few people, and maybe even some bears!

On a drizzly day, we set out to patrol Monogram Lake. Sore legs and thousands of feet later, we had the pristine lake all to ourselves with gorgeous fall weather and peek-a-boo views of the North Cascades.

From Highway 20 in Marblemount, take Cascade River Road for 7 miles and look for a small parking pullout on the right. The trailhead is across the street, heading north from the road. Primarily a forested hike, the trail climbs on switchbacks for 4000 feet until finally popping out on a ridge where the epic views make every mile worth it. Notice the lush vegetation changing as you ascend, including where the snow level impacts the landscape. Monogram Lake is frequently frozen until July, so if you come in the spring, be prepared for snow! Descending about 500 feet will bring you to the lake and designated backcountry camps.

This hike enters North Cascades National Park which means no dogs allowed to the lake and no parking permit required. If you want to spend the night at the lake, you must get a backcountry camping permit at the Wilderness Information Center in Marblemount. First-come, first-serve, up to 24 hours before your hike.

Monogram Lake Trail shares a trailhead with Lookout Mountain (#743). Branching left after 2.8 miles will bring you to the historic lookout, and since this alternate route is entirely within the National Forest, dogs are allowed and no permits are required for overnight stays. Monogram Lake is special though. Its visitation is very low, the sub-alpine experience is breathtaking, and there are frequently black bears in the meadows around the lake. On my journey, we saw a mom and a cub from a safe distance.

Park ranger pro tip: stay on trail and don't be a meadow-stomper. This is a well kept secret, and hopefully by practicing LNT we can keep it a gem of the North Cascades for a long time. Enjoy!

Distance

9.8 Miles RT

Elevation Gain

4500 ft Gain

Type

Out-and-Back

Activities

Photography, Hiking

Forest
Lake
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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Community Photos

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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