Hike to Heather Lake

Washington Mount Pilchuck Trail

Added by Tara Warolin

Heather Lake Trail is a great first hike for kids with flowers in the Spring and berries in the fall.

The trail takes you on a gradual climb up to Heather Lake with beautiful second growth to admire along the way. The trail can be very wet and muddy with many tree roots to catch your toes, so make sure to wear a sturdy pair of tennis shoes or hiking shoes.

When you reach the lake, the trail splits; take either direction, since both loop around the lake. About half of the loop is a nice flat boardwalk to admire everything.

Make sure to notice the huge rotting stumps with the springboard notches alongside the trail; springboards were boards placed in tree trunks for the loggers to stand on as they used a large crosscut saw to take down the tree.

Pack List

  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Day pack
  • Camera
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Fishing, Hiking, Swimming

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



4.6 Miles

Elev. Gain:

1034 Feet



Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Picnic Area
Swimming Hole

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How to Get There

5 months ago

Perfect Solo Hike.

I decided to hike this solo on a weekday because I know it gets pretty good foot traffic all week, and I wanted to make sure there were others on the path. I heard it's horribly congested on the weekends, so get there early. I'm new to hiking, and trying to get into shape, so I picked this hike because I had just completed Wallace Falls, and this one is similar in length and elevation. I didn't keep in mind the difference in terrain however. Heather lake is a lot less "manicured," and I found myself walking through lots of mud, tripping over roots, and navigating large slabs of rock. It took a lot more energy than I was used to, but it was worth it. I passed one couple coming down as I headed up, and I had the lake to myself for about 30 minutes before other hikers joined. I found a huge boulder at the opposite end of the lake (from when you first approach the lake). I climbed up it, and enjoyed my lunch surrounded by beautiful views. On the way down I passed about 40 people, and 12 muddy dogs (all off leash except for 1). I would definitely do this hike again (not on a weekend, and arriving by 9 once again). Also, road going up is a bit rough, so if you have a suv, bring it.

5 months ago

6 months ago

Great short hike

I grew up hiking all over the mountain loop but for some reason I always passed on heather lake until this last weekend. I needed a shorter hike for my family and this was a great one. There were some good spots to let my two year old out of the back pack to roam and throw some rocks in the water and the towering cliffs above the lake are pretty awesome. The trail is very wet this time of year so prepare to step carefully or wear some good boots. with the kids it took my wife and I about 3 1/2 hours round trip (kids were in backpacks). There are several trees across the trail that would not be a problem normally but with a kid on my back it got a little tricky.

6 months ago

7 months ago

Beautiful hike with a view and snow!

I went on this hike with a girlfriend of mine and my chow chow, we all had a fantastic experience! Great hike with amazing 360 degree views at Heather Lake. We left around 12 or 1, there is direct light up there until around 5 these days I would guess. My dog had a blast jumping and playing in the snow. The lake was in the process of thawing out when we were up there about a week ago. Bring a picnic to enjoy by the lake :-)

7 months ago

9 months ago

Great Hike

A very solid hike and relatively close to Seattle. Not as crowded as many of the other closer to the city and one of the shorter routes along the Mountain Loop Highway. Spectacular payoff for little pain.

9 months ago

Lovely lake basin and a great option for shorter/easier routes on the Mountain Loop Highway.

9 months ago

over 1 year ago

Bring water proof boots. Lots of flowing water on trail during late March

over 1 year ago

Added by Tara Warolin

I am a Washington native. I have lived in Washington, California, Iowa, New York and New Zealand. As you can tell I love the outdoors, but I also love movie bloopers, minimalist living, any sort of crafting and cats. I'm an introvert to the core so I like to hike alone.

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