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

Challenging Map
VIEW FULL MAP
hiking
4 hours ago

High clearance and decent tires are your safest bet getting to the TH, I made it in my Chevy Cruze though, so make good judgment calls before heading to this trail. Beautiful day on the trail and amazing views at the lake and above! Compact snow is very icy!

AMAZING. We took the new trail there and back. It was so beautiful. The last stretch when you get to the rocks is a real test of strength and endurance but the views on top were amazing. It was so clear out today, and we could see all the way to Seattle. Definitely one of the hardest hikes I have ever done, but provides the most satisfaction when complete. Get there early so you can get prime hiking. One of my favorite hikes.

One of the best hikes I’ve ever done. Challenging but worth it. Road is washed out so it’s 2 miles to trailhead. From trailhead you climb 3000 feet in right over 3 miles. At 3.2ish you’ll reach virgin lake, it was frozen over today (11/17). From virgin lake it’s all downhill to Blanca lake, about 0.82 miles. Snow was packed down but yactracks and poles were super helpful.

Wow!! That will be the reaction of 99.99% of people who do this hike, the other .01% are most likely crazy people. The magical, towering mountains around this mountain lake are simply breathtaking. It was a cold day with ice and a little snow in the higher elevations of the trail. The lake isn’t frozen over yet and the water still shows the bright blue color it’s known for. We clicked it at 8 miles round trip. Took us about 3 hrs up and 2 hrs back down. There is a few spots with fallen trees that you will need to go over or under. But overall the trail is very well maintained and easy to navigate.

Ice last on north side out of sun
Still quite doable

hiking
5 days ago

Stunning hike! Highly recommend. The drive up is pretty rough but it’s worth it.

hiking
5 days ago

Really beautiful hike around this time of the year, this hike offers some of the best views Washington trails has to offer. The lake is starting to freeze up and theres lots of snow and black ice once you start getting to higher elevations so be cautious! I would say this trail falls more on the moderate side than hard, it took us 3 hours to get to the top and 2 hours going back down. Would recommend this hike for everyone!

We took the new trail up and the old trail down which I think was the opposite of what we should have done. The new trail while it takes you longer was a nicely groomed trail while the old trail down was hard on the knees and hips with big steps down through root systems of trees. I am not tall so for me some of these steps were rather large.

Next time I would either do old trail up and new trail down or just stick to the new trail knowing it will take longer. The view at the top was amazing and well worth the hike! It was a little icy today but the sun melted a lot of the ice off the summit!

The only reason I am taking a star off is the lack of signs this trail has. Towards the end my friend and I took a major detour because there were fallen trees and the trail was hidden with snow. We found the lake though! So worth the hike we did it round trip in 4 hours and a half. Very icy towards the end so be careful.

hiking
7 days ago

Beautiful views of the Mountains. Some trees down over the path that are tricky to navigate. Really icy at the top and around the lake. The path around the lake isn’t an easy one, but worth the walk. Amazing pics!

For almost 4K of vertical gain, this trail slope is very gradual. Nice, wide tread the whole way to tree line. The rock steps through the talus field makes navigating to the summit easy. There is snow from about 3800’ up, but is passable without extra traction. Maybe bring a trekking pole for the decent from the summit. Weather supposed to be nice this weekend so I imagine there will be some melting. Views from the summit are dope.

hiking
14 days ago

My friend and I, who I'd classify as novice hikers, were able to complete this hike in 7 hours. It took us 4.5 hours up and 2.5 hours down.

We went on Nov. 2nd the conditions were muddy at most. No ice on the trail that we experienced.

There are some seriously beautiful viewpoints on the way up and was well worth it at the end. Unfortunately it was cloudy and rainy so we hope to go back again in the summer to see it all again.

We persevered but I wouldn't recommend this to someone who is totally inexperienced. It was very hard for us. However, a great hike for any seasoned hiker.

In addition, we both recorded approximately 10 miles, not the the listed 7.7 miles.

hiking
14 days ago

This is one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen in my life! The trail is tough but not as hard as some other hikes I’ve done. The views at the top are absolutely worth it, take a day trip and go here. You won’t be disappointed! Also, lots of Chipmunks!

hiking
15 days ago

Hiked Nov 3: NW Forest Pass needed, easy road terrain driving in, bathrooms at TH. Well-marked, slight incline/decline, trail was not slick, a few blow-downs, very very wet, sometimes feel as if you are walking through a waterfall while on the trail, although it was easy to navigate. Huge beautiful old growths and so many waterfalls, I lost count! Lake 22 was beautiful! Quite popular but not overcrowded. Can’t wait to come back in the Spring!

hiking
17 days ago

Hiked this trail for the 2nd time yesterday. And as always it was awesome. Trail was dry, had mud in spots but nothing to worry about. Brought a fishing pole up and managed to catch a few rainbow trout. All in all it was a great hike, ass kicker for sure. But worth every bit of it!

Hiked up today, there was a fair amount of snow & ice on the trail, but still manageable without any equipment or microspikes. Beautiful views ! I’d read peoples recommendations about high clearance vehicles but I drove to the trailhead just fine in a regular car, so don’t let that deter you.

Great hike. Fairly easy. Boulder field towards the end was annoying but well worth it.

Seemed further than the 7 miles listed. Hiked the trail 10/29/18 very went and muddy with quite a bit of snow and ice halfway up. Views were well worth the pain in the butt.

hiking
20 days ago

this was probably one of the hardest hikes i’ve done. it starts out flat for about a mile and then it’s just straight up the entire way. when you think you’re almost there you have about another mile to go. the basin was beautiful and gorgeous and while we were up there a person fell off the ledges of the hike and had to be airlifted out of there so i really suggest being careful when you’re up there! the hike kicked my butt but it was beautiful!

I havent hiked in 25 yrs.this was my 2nd hike in a few months an it kicked my butt.i do have some lung disease.but it was so beautiful an the scenery was breathtaking..

hiking
22 days ago

So amazing! Lake was clear and gorgeous! View of mountain was breathtaking! Already thinking about going again.

hiking
22 days ago

Great hike. Got to the parking lot around 10am, it was getting full but found a spot easily (maybe because it’s near the end of the season). The hike itself was not terribly difficult. I’m a beginner and I found the incline manageable and the distance was fine. The hard part was the rocks and water! The trail is very wet and has a ton of parts that are super rocky. I wouldn’t recommend bringing young children. The lake wasn’t the most satisfying end-point, but the hike up to it was lovely and everything was very picturesque. I’d do it again!

We randomly woke up Friday (10/26) morn and decided to head up! It was really warm here in Arlington! Got to the trailhead at 9am and reached the peak at 11! As we slowly (so many terrible potholes)descended up the road it started to get very windy and the fog was so irie! The different landscapes were so beautiful and the trail very wet, we pretty much walked in water the whole time but no big deal! The saddest part was this was my first time and the fog never cleared and covered the whole view :( We were alone all morning and didn't see another group till we were half way down, then we passed 4 more groups all clumped up! Overall it was a perfectly irie October day, but I will be going back on a clear day to see the view I missed!

on Lake 22 Trail

hiking
22 days ago

This was a truly beautiful hike! Lightly traveled on. Wednesday in October. Not recommended for beginners or children just due to the rocky portion for about half a mile. I’d also recommend poles for this same reason. I though the lake was rather lackluster but it was nice to have a goal and a good lunch spot. Amazing moss and waterfall!

it was breathtaking

hiking
25 days ago

It was amazing trial ,worth spending time and beautiful scenic view !! everyone should visit and have fun!!

hiking
25 days ago

It was amazing trial ,worth spending time and beautiful scenic view !! everyone should visit and have fun!!

Did this hike today, Sunday 10/21. The trail is in great shape and I could not experience and iced rocks as reported before. The NF-4200 definitely has quite a few and big potholes. I drove over carefully but you better plan 30-45min for the last few miles on the dirt road to the trailhead.

Temperatures were awesome. Did it all around in a t-shirt and it was mostly on the warmer side.

I recorded 4.75km one way from the trailhead to the fire lookout at the top.

Don't forget your Northwest Forest Pass;)

Amazing hike! Feeling my muscle pain now) I read and expected rocks on top, but didn’t know that it’s almost rock climbing. There wasn’t snow.

I did this hike last summer and even got to swim in the lake. This is a must do trail. I can only imagine how spectacular the thru hike is if you’re one of the lucky ones to win the lottery.

Load More