Explore Central Cascades - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Central Cascades Map
VIEW FULL MAP
hiking
1 day ago

Best trail I’ve been on in the PNW.
Not heavily trafficked
Easy to make a day hike (right amount of challenge)but worth spending a night to really enjoy the incredible views.
This hike offered breathtaking and changing views the entire time.
It is very exposed so bring sunscreen/ protection.
We ran into mountain goats!

hiking
1 day ago

So stunning and so beautiful :) I have been hiking the entire summer and yet this one absolutely took my breath away. This hike is perfect in every way - you have a beautiful views and mountains and green valleys all the way through, you run into mountain goats along the way and then you have an incredible pay off at the end with a stunning lake tucked in between a gorgeous basin. And no bugs to bother you. What else could you want?

one of the nicest hikes I've discovered in the whole area. height 2 days ago very little bugs left campsites were full. Would love to have climbed over the Ridge from the lake and do a loop hike back to parking area. Should have actually done that after I seen on Google how easy it looked. we hiked with our dog up to the ridge 1 km before the lake and found a sign that said dogs were not allowed any further from that point. So be sure to research that

A definite favorite! Have your forest pass worked out beforehand - we wasted some time with this.

backpacking
10 days ago

Very rewarding hike with a beautiful lake. Would recommend getting an early start on this one to beat the bugs and crowds later in the day. Camping is not allowed at Blanca Lake however there is plenty of camping spots at Virgin Lake.

hiking
10 days ago

So so beautiful! But definitely the hardest hike I’ve ever done. It seemed like we would never get there but we finally did! I would definitely say take PLENTY of water. I drank 4 bottles by myself.
Check the weather before you go. We went yesterday and the weather was perfect. I think like 70-72 the whole day. I can’t imagine doing that hike in hotter weather. It would be miserable. We forgot bug spray and the bugs didn’t bother us too bad. I don’t think i have bites at all. They were only a nuisance when we stopped to take a breather. We got there and started on the trail around 11:30-12. We got back at 7:50. So it was a very long day but totally worth it. Make sure you wear hiking boots, if you don’t have any make sure you wear tennis shoes with GOOD SOLES.

The worst part was the 2 mile walk back because
It felt like it would never end.

Did this hike today. Started at 6:30am and it took us about 8.5 hours total, including about an hour at the lake. The climb up was strenuous, but it was all well maintained switchbacks. Once you reach the top of the switchbacks, there is a meadow, then Virgin Lake, then the trail down to Blanca lake. The hike is not technical and there are even stairs at a few points. It was well worth it for the view of the lake and several vistas along the way. I would recommend getting an early start to avoid bugs and crowds. There were only two other people at the lake when we got there around 11, and the sun lit up the lake closer to noon. We weren't attacked by any bugs until we started back down the mountain, and it was a lot busier later in the day too. Happy hiking!

hiking
12 days ago

Please be aware the trail app takes you to the WRONG DESTINATION, please DONT FOLLOW it.

If you’re using high way 2 from cashmere; go past the Skykomish ranger station and turn right after the station. Follow the road for about 13 miles, it will turn into a dirt road. At the end of the road you will walk about 2.5 miles to the trail head and then about 7 miles round trip to Blanca Lake.

If coming from Goldbar; get to mile mark 50 then turn left and follow the same route as stated above.

It sprinkled and then pored rained on ya the last 1.5 miles. It wasn’t worth it but I bet on a clean day it’s nice.

Good luck to all hikers and please be safe.

hiking
14 days ago

Breathtaking! By far the hardest yet most amazing hike I have ever been on. Pack plenty of water and bug spray. The bees and flies were ridiculous. But it was so worth it!!

The road to the old trailhead is still washed out and won’t be repaired, so add the 4mi round trip. The hike can be a challenge, but just go early and take your time if needed. The lake is absolutely amazing.

hiking
14 days ago

Beautiful and exhausting hike! Be prepared for lots of bugs. Never ending switchbacks will make you want to turn around. Bring lots of water.

hiking
16 days ago

INSANE amount of bugs on the trail! We did this hike on July 29. The weather was hot and humid. We just couldn’t even stand for a minute because of the bugs which included flies, mosquitoes and bees. There are new views except at the end of the trail.

on Lake Ingalls

hiking
19 days ago

Tough trail but not too hard. The alternative route is much nicer and easier to follow. We got to the trailhead pretty late (2.30pm ish), so we didn't see any goats, just lots of bugs. The lake is very pretty.

Beautiful hike. Trail was clear and easy to follow. Saw a lot of mountain goats. Trailhead was accessible in a small car. The lake is gorgeous, and the view of Mt. Stuart is great. Lots of bugs though, so bring some bug spray.

hiking
20 days ago

Very difficult but very rewarding hike to this gorgeous lake up in the mountains, went last year and it was definitely a one to remember! Always get an early start as it has a million switch backs and it gets harder as you go up! If I remember correctly the trail was very maintained and no overgrowth

hiking
22 days ago

Definitely get an early start on this one, you will thank yourself. The hike is worth the final destination, but it’s not a hike that should be started in the afternoon. It took us approx. 3.5 hours to get up from the car (2 miles from the trailhead due to road washout) and 3 hours to get down. The trailhead warns you might need a map and compass to navigate the snow on the ridge, but this definitely was not necessary - we just followed all the packed down snow. The offline-AllTrails map with GPS also helps.

It’s ~8 miles round trip from the trailhead, ~4 miles round trip hike from the car to the trailhead, so it was about 13miles total, it is up hill all trail except the last mile to the lake, the trail goes down. Bring enough water.

hiking
23 days ago

Amazing hike. Stunning views, from Rainier poking its head out to Mt Stuart and Lake Ingall. Saw many goats, which didn't seem to care about people. Fair amount of traffic, but not crazy. Bugs at the lake were crazy, but so worth it. 10 miles for me and done in 4 hrs, so it was a decent work out. Worth checking out for sure!

on Blanca Lake Trail

hiking
23 days ago

It was harder than I thought it would be. But the reward is amazing and totally worth it. The lake is stunning.

hiking
25 days ago

Hike was 13 miles total. 1.8 to get to the actual trailhead, and another 4.7 up to the lake. This app doesn’t take you to the right trailhead, so we had to ask for directions.
Go to mile 50 on highway 2, and turn onto Beckler River Rd. You’ll come to a fork in the road, stay left. There’s a couple of miles of gravel road until you get to the parking area.
Overall difficulty: hard. Uphill the whole way!

hiking
25 days ago

We walked about two miles on mostly flat terrain to get to the trailhead from the car, due to the road washout. The hike itself is definitely a workout. It’s a pretty steep climb with a ton a switchbacks, but the plus side is that it’s only for the first 2.5 miles. After that you drop down to the lake, which makes everything well worth it. It took me about 2.5 hours to get to the lake, stayed at the lake for about an hour, and 2 hours to get back to the car. I would recommend getting an early start if you plan to do this hike.

hiking
29 days ago

Beautiful views but we had to walk a mile or so to access the beginning of the trail since it was closed for repairs

Great hike! very challenging as its switchbacks almost the whole way up. We reapplied bug spray 6 times, they are vicious. we had our dogs on leash the whole way up and on the way back down we let them off due to the rocky scramble. We ran into a park ranger on the way down and she told us that it was not required to have the dogs on leash, which was comforting and I wish I would have known sooner. I tracked the hike on my phone, it was a total of 12 miles round trip from car to the lake and back. Be prepared!

1. Tracked this hike and it's a total of 17 miles from car to lake and back to car. You hike 2.5 miles from your car to the actual trailhead.
2. Left at @10:30am, Lake @1:30pm, hung out for an hour, then got back to our car @6:30pm
3. Absolutely the most hardest hike I've ever done, but stunning and rewarding.
4. Bring a suit! You've got to jump in the lake, it's definitely worth it.
5. (tip) Some parts of snow, but dig toe down as you cross, at least that's what I did
6. (tip) The descent is hard on your feet!
7. Bug spray is a must. They're super aggressive out there.

beautiful trail with wonderful views. the switch backs were gradual which was nice but still steep and long even when coming back from the lake. Bring a minimum of 2L of water!! Made this mistake and ended up eating snow on the way back. the section in snow was completley manageable in runners.

hiking
1 month ago

This was such a spectacular hike—nothing but breathtaking views from start to finish. We arrived at the trailhead at 10:30 am on July 15, were able to park on the road just outside of the parking lot. It was full but the early-morning hikers were on their way out, freeing up some space. It was 80 degrees and HOT! Went through a gallon and a half of water and stopped plenty of times throughout the hike (was great for taking in the view, too). We saw a lot of goats, some grouse too. As others have said, still a few stretches of snow but nothing you can’t cover with hiking boots. We brought YakTraks just in case and didn’t end up using them. We got back around 4:30, but could have made it quicker if it was cooler outside. This was our favorite hike we’ve done so far because it was as beautiful as it was challenging. Might even top Maple Loop in our book!

Info for first-time visitors:
-Our Honda Civic made it to the trailhead without issue. It was a dry, sunny day—not sure what it would have been like with mud, definitely wouldn’t have made it in snow.
-You’re in the sun a majority of the hike. Wear sunscreen and reapply like crazy.
-Bring your bug spray.
-The trail gets harder to follow once you’re in the basin (like you will have to navigate around/over some rocks, the trail isn’t clear-cut). Look for the cairns and you won’t get lost.
-Don’t forget to look up! We saw a 10 goats during this hike, including babies.

hiking
1 month ago

Great day to hike even if a bit hot. Black flys kept us moving. Saw a bear along the way and lots of fish jumping in Eight Mile Lake. We didn't explore around the lake long enough to find a great spot to hangout. If we had found one this would be 5-stars.

TRAIL IS CURRENTLY CLOSED! There are rangers who hang around the trailhead and up at the lake who will write you a ticket.

Took my mom here.

hiking
1 month ago

One of the best lake views and difficult trail but worth it!

Load More