Upper Wildcat Lake Trail is a 19.5 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near North Bend, WA that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.
This hike ends at one of the premier Washington State Apline Lakes. This hike begins at the far side of Snow Lake. Parallel the creek up to Gem Lake and then head towards Lower Wildcat Lake. Turn East short of the lake and go over the ridge. After completing a nice rock scramble down the far side of the ridge you will reach the beautiful Upper Wildcat Lake.
This is a true high mountain lake! Secluded, overgrown and an adventure just to get there. Left the Alpental parking lot at 7:30 AM with my 60 pound pack, passing Snow and Gem lakes before dropping 1,000 ft. elevation on the way to Lower Wildcat Lake. There will be a trail that leads to your left across a creek and a rockslide area, then by a couple of ponds/potholes before reaching LWL. You should come to a tiny campground on the left hand side of the lake and then you will see a very faint trail leading up the hill. Follow this trail through the overgrown vegetation and you will run into Upper Wildcat Lake. UWL is an impressive sight and a pretty good sized lake, but very inaccessible around the edges... Besides the main campsite when you first arrive, there is one up the hill to the right and then one adjacent to the island on the other side of the lake. I've also heard there is one on the island itself, if you have an inflatable boat to get you and your gear out there. Fishing would be great as well I'm sure if you had an inflatable raft, as I've heard there is some good fishing. If attempting to go around the lake on foot (good luck), then try the right hand side of the lake for starters. If you're looking for solitude, chances are you'll find it - and for good reason.
I completed this trail many years ago with a friend. This lake is truly amazing and is secluded enough that there is very little traffic. We followed near the creek from Snow Lake up to Gem Lake and then headed towards Upper Wildcat. There is no formal trail so there are a lot of options. After crossing the ridge there is a nice rock scramble to drop down into the lake area. The towering walls provide a nice cozy camping experience and the fishing was great.