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

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Good views, challenging, well worth it!

Big gain in a short distance. Well worth the work with beautiful vistas and quite a bit of fun scrambling at the top.

hiking
1 day ago

In town for work and decided to go hiking, 'cause you know, I could use some exercise. It is a tough hike if you are out shape. But, it is worth it. The parking lot, as everyone else mentions is packed. I got there around 8:30 and had to park about 20 yards down the road so there is a lot of traffic on the trail. Well worth it, though. If you are looking for good pics. later in the day is better to have the sun at your back for the views of the surrounding peaks. The trail goes around the lake but it can be lost at times so you may have to bushwhack it a little. While I may be walking pretty slow tonight and I look a little funny walking, the hike is worth it. Definitiely recommend it.

Hiked this on Saturday. It says it’s 9.8 but my Fitbit logged 13.11 miles. It was beautiful at the top. Wish we had more time to enjoy it hanging out at the mailbox. Will definitely do it again.

Great hike! Saw some goats. Lots of rain but worth it for the sights... autumn colors were popping. The larch trees are turning too. So happy we stuck it out for the next morning because it was sunny with some awesome moody clouds above Mount Stuart’s peak

hiking
1 day ago

Easily the best day hike near Seattle! We got there a little late in the day, around noon. The parking lot was full so we parked about half mile away from the trail head. The hike starts off easy, the first 1.5 miles are easy but beware of roots and rocks. Once you cross the Stuart and colchuck lake intersection, the trail gets a little harder. The last patch gets pretty rocky. The views are amazing! We went on a sunny day, although it was cold and windy near the lake. I didn’t think the hike was hard as such, more like a long moderate hike. Also, seems like the trail is longer than the distance on all trails. My tracker showed 9.8 miles out and back. This didn’t include the walk around the lake or the walk from my car to the trailhead. It took us 3 hours up and 2 hours back down. Amazing hike! Definitely go for it!

Hard hike but the view is definitely worth the climb! Be carful coming down the ropes, the sand can get a bit slippery.

Great post-Labor Day time for a hike, thought the lot was still just full when we arrived around 9:00.
TRAIL - Good steady uphill on a fairly rocky trail, but it is kept up perfectly given the obvious traffic this thing gets. As you can see from the recordings, the thing gets a little sporty at the end. I'm 55 and in okay shape, but my heart didn't get worked so hard I couldn't speak.
LAKE - crazy color to that water, even with overcast lighting. Lots of places to take some lunch and explore, with a great flat rock just left(south) of center when you get to the lake.
OVERALL - wonderful view, no bugs, cool weather; what's not to love

Fun, love the view. I’ve done this hike several times now. Does anyone know a more challenging hike?

I went today, pulled up to the TH at 10:30am, only 2 other cars parked. Took an hour & half to get to the lake, steep uphill trail, slick on a rainy day. Visibility was incredibly low but still was a beautiful lake well worth the elevation gain!!

Amazing lake!!

The trail is maintained and fairly well marked. The Falls are dry, but still a great hike, even in the rain.

Great trip even in the rain. The trees provided good cover. I chose this hike because it was recommended as a good “rain shadow” hike. I only wish the summit hadn’t been so cloudy.

trail running
2 days ago

A beautiful but difficult hike. Planned on 10 miles as some of the reports indicated, but it turned out that AllTrails is accurate. I got 6.8 miles on my Garmin watch. I trail run several of these Mountain Loop hikes, and am very confident this one is about 7 miles long from the trail head. This does not diminish the fact that this is a difficult hike though. Give plenty of time to complete it. The benefit of this hike are the views most of the way up. You could really cut it short at any point after mile 2 and you would still get your fill of the beautiful terrain. Headlee Pass is an experience worth the pain of getting there. 20 or so switch backs in a small gap.
Many portions of the trail are over rock fields, we got off trail a few times, but as long as you understand the big picture of the hike, it’s not hard to get back. Overall the trail is in really good shape, and well worn.

extremely challenging but we'll worth it! we started from the upper trailhead which cut about 2 miles from the trip. Although pets are allowed, we noticed many owners carrying their dogs back down (including ourselves). Many parts of extreme steepness and loose rocks. We would absolutely do this hike again, but next time, we will leave our sheltie home.

First off, the bear is still there, located in the area where the berries are most abundant, about 1 Mile from the top. He was so busy eating he wasn’t bothered by us at all, we saw him about 25’ off the trail, and one hiker was within 10’ of the bear because he wasn’t able to deter the bear so he went around it, he said the bear was more interested in eating berries and wasn’t at all aggressive and kept eating.

I gave it 4 stars because switchbacks suck, otherwise it made a great Fall hike once you got out from under the canopy of the trees, and away from those switchbacks. At the top it was socked in with clouds, it was windy and absolutely bone chilling. As we were headed back down it cleared up and the sun came out.

What a beautiful hike! The weather was perfect for a September day, the trail well marked and the lake pristine as imagined. I hiked this by myself with a dog and made it to Heather Lake in 1.5 hours. When we finally reached the lake she was as still as glass! Within twenty minutes the wind came and changed that view. I hiked Colchuck last week, Heather Lake was much easier for me, and I hike regularly. Once a week. Would highly recommend.

Just went up today with three friends in the fog and wet weather. This hike is a real workout but so beautiful in the mist. Despite the rain it wasn't muddy or slippery except for a few spots near the top. We got to the ropes at the very top but chose not to go up the last bit because it looked pretty wet and slippery. If you don't like a very steep climb then you can do Merrymere Falls nearby instead.

Trail starts out pretty level and easy but quickly turns to rocks and stairs after the falls. We left the lot at 2pm and arrived at the top to see that the sun was behind the mountains and the lake entirely shaded. Plan to come back at sunrise to photograph the lake with sun. Super great hike

Beautiful trail! Easy to follow. Some hard elevation gains but worth every moment.

Great hike, especially on a clear day. Not too difficult, last stretch is the hardest. Took just over 2 hours to get up.
The road up was full of potholes! The trailhead is about 5 miles past Heather Lake.

Phenomenal day...lucky with weather...walk quietly and you may see wildlife. We were up close with deer, grouse, mountain goats, and chipmunks too.

This is one of the best hikes in this area - and probably the best day hike. We did this along with Stuart Lake and the mountain views and the water color were breathtaking

Incredible day on Mt Ellinore. Started out from the lower trailhead around 1:40 p.m. made it to the top by 3:00 p.m. had a snack and headed back down and in the truck by 4:20. I could see Mt. Rainier, Hood Canal and most of the Olympics. I lucked out with beautiful weather. Yes, this is a tough climb and I loved every minute of it.

Loved this hike! Probably one of my favorites in Washington so far. Got to the trailhead at 1030 on a Tuesday & the lot was only a quarter full.
It’s rated as hard for a reason, all up hill, but oh so worth it! Be sure to wear shoes with great grip because the entire trail is basically rocks covered in moss & moisture and the last .5 mile is muddy.
Can’t wait to go back in the winter to see this lake covered in snow!

We did it last week in 3 days. Be ready for rain always on this hike. If you are prepared, it’s awesome! We had a late start, 2:45, and ended at O’neil with plenty of light - bear wire is in-op here so don’t count on it or bring twine or the recommended canister. Tip - there is no privy at Pytrites. At least at O’Neil you have some cover and a place to go without digging or being rained on. Enchanted Valley is great, we were mid-week so it was not crowded. No wild life presented itself besides the slug eating beetles. But, the waterfalls are going off! Take time to explore here. We explored, opting to hike out in one day. It’s 13-14 miles to punch out but easy ups/downs make it not too bad. I do train outside of hiking to do this. I am well over 50 and got my but kicked in the past trying to hike when out of shape. Stay strong!

Great hike with views of two snowcapped summits, multiple chilly lakes to jump in, including a rock you can jump off from ~10ft high and plenty of flowers in bloom. A sampling of all of the best classic Cascades features.

backpacking
7 days ago

Did this as a 9-day through hike with my wife last month. Absolutely amazing! We liked it better than the Timberline Trail around Mt. Hood. So many amazing viewpoints of the mountain and the flowers were plentiful. Beautiful lakes and subalpine meadows. Our favorite area was the Ohanapecosh valley and Indian Bar. Klapatche, St. Andrew’s Lake, and Summerland were amazing too. Pack light and use the food cache areas to make this challenging hike more enjoyable.

Ass-kicker.

Cloudy day, so we missed the great views at the top.

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