Lake Ethel Trail is a 5.2 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Leavenworth, WA. The trail is rated as difficult and primarily used for hiking and trail running.
Directions from Lake Wenatchee: Take State Route 207 south, then U.S. Highway 2 west to Forest Service Rd #6940 at the town of Merritt. Turn south onto 6940 and follow for about a mile to the Lake Ethel Trailhead.
This trail was a good workout. It goes up for about 4 miles quite steeply. The 1 mile of clear cut was ugly, but you can see the ridge you're hiking up, and you hike up to the very top of it before rejoining the trees.The trail was quite rough through it, but manageable. The high point for me was the old growth forest and meadow just before you reach the lake. It was definitely nice to be in the shade after being exposed to the sun for so long. The lake was pretty, not the best I have seen, but still nice. There were no bugs to speak of, and no people camped there. The downhill was tough due to the length and steepness of the trail.
The trail is strenuous and winds through a clear cut at one point. Not an attractive trail. Made it to Ethel Lake and what a disappointment! Not worth the hike. The mosquitoes were ferocious. I went on a few more miles to Loch Eileen. Still buggy but way better view.
Lake Ethel Trail is wooded and there are a couple of waterfall scenic spots. The trail kind of peters out because of recent but seemingly abandoned tree clearing, possibly after the fire or ?
Overall, a fairly nice hike.