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It was definitely difficult for us but so worth it!

Hard but worth it

This must be one of my favorite, if not "the" favorite hike - it has really just about everything: an adventurous drive to the trail-head (more on that later), a forest to start your hike in, a lush mountain meadow, plenty of snow-fields (mid July) all the way to a rock-scrambling part to the lookout at the end. And the views, oh my, the views. Going up, they are beautiful already but once you make it to the ridge that will get you to the lookout, you're in for a real treat. I just wish we had known that it was possible to stay overnight in the lookout - sunset and sunrise must be absolutely stunning from there.
The hike itself is not easy and the last part would be tough for people with vertigo but otherwise we didn't think it was too difficult. It's easily manageable in an afternoon even if you take plenty of time to soak in the views at the top. We saw a bear and a pica rabbit too.
Oh, and I almost forgot, the drive. I saw cars parked at the trail-head that had pretty low clearance, so it must be possible to get there in just about anything but I was really happy that we took a rental 4WD SUV. The forest road is quite steep in places and littered with potholes large enough to break your axle in, so having a higher clearance vehicle comes in handy.
Overall, if there is just one hike you are going to do in this part of the park, make it this one!

2 months ago

I went in November and trail didn't have snow till half way up.we didn't have right shoes or microspike but we able to go the top and great view!

Road to the trail head is closed for the season at Heather Lake trail head, be prepared to hike an additional 5 miles up the road to Mt pilchuck’s trail head.

2 months ago

I give this 5 stars because it's a fairly tame hike for the most amazing views. I don't think this should be rated as hard compared to the average hiker. Yes, it may be hard to some who are out of shape or new to hiking, but definitely not hard in general. If you get a clear day, you will be blown away by the 360 degree view. I definitely recommend!

2 months ago

One of my husband's and I's favorites!

3 months ago

Incredible. Most beautiful hike I’ve ever been on in the US so far.

3 months ago

The road getting in was covered in about 6in of snow, with one set of tracks heading to the upper trailhead through about 10in of snow. We decided to risk the upper trailhead. Getting in wasn't as bad as getting out due to the steepness of the first slope out. So be careful if you're headed here in the wintertime. Call the Forestry Service and ask them how they think the road up there will be. We started with microspikes for about 2-3mi, then when the heavy switchbacks (by the waterfall) began we transitioned to snowshoes. It was SLOW going from there, tracking new path (on route) through knee deep fluffy snow. Wasn't terribly difficult to stay on route because below the treeline the cut trees/brush are good indicators. Took us about 6hrs with only enough time at summit to eat a sandwich and hydrate the pup. Be very careful to know the weather at summit because you've got systems coming off the sound or through the Olympics that turn on a dime. Overall, the views were spectacular and made for a wonderful and secluded voyage. Highly recommend. Completed on December 27, 2017.

Loved this hike. I absolutely plan to go back again and make it an overnight trip. It is steep so do be prepared for a bit of a workout but my biggest was actually over packing with my camera gear and preparing for a classic Olympic Peninsula rain. But it did stay dry and gorgeous the whole trip. There is also the short rock area which I would describe as a basic bouldering section. Not technical just make sure to watch your footing. Also one other thing, i went in early Sept. and the entire hike is was pestered by bees. Not sure if anyone experienced this, and it was not swarms nor did i receive any stings or anything but there always seemed to be one or two always following me. This was during mid day almost since I stayed up at the north end of the park and got a late start to the day. All in all though, the end location was absolutely worth the effort. Gorgeous lake with a mountain back drop. Could even see as far as Mt Rainier at some points of the trail

4 months ago

love it here so much

koo koo machoo

Hidden lake lookout. Attempt number 3. Success.
It was king of challenge for me, I tried to get to the lookout two times before (May and November), two times in snow, two fails.
The initial plan for today was relax and enjoy snowshoe around Artis Point, but yesterday evening when I was checking reports I found on alltrails.com that somebody put 5 stars for Hidden Lake trail 5 days ago, it was enough for me to change my plans and try Hidden Lake again. Despite great weather I was not sure if I can make it, I still remember how much snow and avalanches was in May, but I decided give it a shot.

Came to trail around 10:30, actually I didn't get to trailhead even on AWD and parked mile or so before TH, 6 or 7 cars already were there. I reached TH in 40 mins and tired, it was difficult to go by snow, decided put on snowshoe after forest part. Forest part was easier, since less snow there, you can do in hiking boots, but gaiters recommended. Met two people going back, they done forest part of the trail and turned back.

Once I reached basin area I starded to follow by ski track, it was not easy, but doable in snowshoe which is a must at this part. I folowed ski track by right side from the stream, when actuall trail goes by left side. There are few avalances already came down, snow looks stable and solid, but anyway pay attention. Clibmed up to second avalanch, which came from the top and turned left to actual trail. Then did couple switchbacks and crossed this avalanch again toward to travers part of the trail. Despite hard and stable snow it was little bit scary to walk by avalnches, but I decided to go, maybe not too smart.

Travers part was very nice and much easier! View was gorgeous, clear views of peaks around, mt Baker, sun, snowshoe. Btw there are some steep slopes on this part as well, I even used iceaxe to go throug it, but as I said I followed by ski track, maybe it possible to find less steep route.

Once I reached end of the travers part I saw many snowshoe footprints at this point I realized that it should be some winter route. Definitely! I've seen many cars but met only two people, and ski track I followed by was few days long.

From this point there are few snowshoe trackы - first is regular trail, second goes to hidden lake peaks. I climbed up by second one, but at this point I did't know that it goes to the peaks, i realized it lated once I got closer. I didn't get to the peak, because it was already 2:30 pm and I had not so much time. I turned right towards to the lookuout, getting closer I've seen some people doing travers by peak to the lookout. In some report guys called this part "do it or die", kind of true :)

So, I reached lake viewpoint, then I took one of the snowshoe track up, travers part to the lookout is very steep, if you will go there you need to be very careful. I put of basket from my right pole and used it as iceaxe, before doing next step I put it deep in snow.

Finally I reached lookout, there were five people and two dogs, they came for overnight. They told me about winter route, it is shorter and much steeper. But! it much safer from avalanch standpoint since it goes through forest and there less snow now. So, if you go tomorrow or before next snowfall you can go by regular route, after snowfal basin area will be risky, but you can try winter route. But as I said it is very very steep espesially at the beginning (from road to lookout)

I took some food and photos and went down by regular route. Yeah, views were just awesome!

On my way back I met three people going up, they came by regular route as me. So, I tool winter route back, first half was easy, since I went down, moderate level of snow, good snowshoe track. Second part was more tough, slopes were much steeper, lots of fallen trees, I lost track little bit, because snow disappeared and I just followed direction to the road. Finally I reache the road, walked down to my car and went home.

Finally I can cross Hidden Lake Lookout trail in my list as completed.

Well went hiking. They closed the trail head and I had to start all the way from heather lake. Snow was crazy but I wanted to do it. I had to stop at the 2 mile mark because my party got too tired. I am going to do this again.

The last time I hiked up this trail was back in the mid 90’s. What I remember most was how far out you can see over the whole Puget Sound area. Of course only when the weather is clear, which it was that day. Otherwise you won’t see much because the altitude up there is above the clouds and when they roll in, you won’t see much. Another thing I thought was memorable is when you look to the west towards the other Olympic mountains, you’re right up there in the same altitude as they are, which is in the neighborhood of 5500 ft. It’s well worth the effort. Dress warm and bring lotsa water. I didn’t think it was that difficult a hike, but that was over 20-years ago, and unfortunately, we all change over time.

25NOV17 Hike, great weather & views. Snow startling between ~3,000-3,500 feet. Ok without spikes, bit “greasy” in spots coming down. Poles & spikes recommended. You can do it in trail running shoes apparently, as some were doing but that seems a recipe for cold, wet feet. Fire tower covered in ice, last bit to the ladder & the ladder itself a bit slick but ok without spikes if you are careful. Love this hike, will be doing it in all seasons.

Awesome trail.

This trail is challenging but is very beautiful and makes you feel accomplished. I definitely recommend it!

5 months ago

We went slow and took breaks as needed - it wasn’t as difficult as I expected! The beauty is incredible, both at the top and on the way up. Definitely recommend!

Amazing hike with excellent views on a clear day

5 months ago

This place is absolutely beautiful, the hike up is great. I ventured out on the trail at 4 am to get to the lake by first light. this was more than enough time. Hiking times personally were 2 hrs and 45 minutes up and 2 hrs down. Highly recommend this one!

Lots of snow up there. I got to the lake viewpoint but not to the lookout, since I was first on the trail and spent lots of time for trail finding and overall visibility was awful. Poles, gaiters is a must. Snowshoe, spikes might be helpful. Find my report on wta

Northern Cascades at its finest.

Amazing hike. The Alpine Lake is something to see. I would say this hike is difficult but worth it

I enjoyed the hike. Very rocky though. Amazing views. I would hike this one again.

5 months ago

Beautiful, last mile is brutal and worth it!

5 months ago

We went last September and still talk about this hike!! We took it slow and had lunch at the lake. The weather started to turn on the way back down, so we were glad we had layers.

It has some great views and an old lookout. U have to scramble boulders to reach it. A tiny bit of snow on the side of the trail close to the top. This trail has a lot of rocks u must step on. It is a good workout. We went today Sunday and it is a
Popular trail w lots of people and dogs. I only saw 2 owners with dogs on leash’s. Parts of the trail was muddy. It was a beautiful fall day and we could hear hunters across the valley. The scenery is fabulous as it used to be a ski area in the 60’s.

5 months ago

Amazing hike, did it on 10/15. Picture perfect day and might have had the best views I’ve ever seen.

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