Explore lakes - 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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hiking
18 hours 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!

hiking
1 day ago

This was my first “real” hike ever and the rapid elevation gain was pretty tough at times but having lunch and a quick dip at the lake made it worth it. I think it took us about 3.5 hours up and 3 down. Be sure to bring lots of water, sun protection, and bug spray. The flies, mosquitoes and bees were no joke and honestly I don’t know if the bug spray helped at all.

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.

We did this hike but from Smithbrook Trail/Stevens Pass. It was about 7 miles round trip, easy moderate level. Had lunch at the lake which was stunning. Only downside was the bugs were out and we got eaten alive despite having on bug spray.

Trail condition was great! Bring your bug spray though because those will definitely get to you, no matter how fast you're making it up. I'd say this was more of a moderate hike for me, but it was definitely challenging at some times. Lots of wildlife to look at, but unfortunately I didn't see the goats. The lake is perfect for a dip, especially in hot summer weather.

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
2 days ago

Amazing!!

Great hike. I’d rate more of a moderate, but definitely a harder moderate than some. The road up to the trailhead was rough. The hike itself was beautiful, and that view at the end couldn’t be beat. We went swimming in the lake to cool off and it was so refreshing.

Don't let the mileage fool you, the elevation gain makes up for it! So beautiful at the lakes! The mosquitos and flys are INSANE right now, bug spray did nothing to help. I would give this five stars but the trailhead is just on the road and no bathrooms. There are lots of places to easily access Lake Minotaur and cool views of Theseus. Lots of places to explore and spread out and enjoy, only you can't enjoy because of the bugs.

Such a beautiful hike. I thought the waterfall was called Snowshoe Falls? The wildflowers will be in full bloom by 7/20. But there are other trials with much more wildflowers than this trial. Snowshoe Falls is great. Both Upper Melakwa and Melakwa Lake are picture perfect alpine lakes. The bugs just came out this week . . soooo it’s time to start bringing the bug spray. There is snow past Upper Melakwa to the pass.

The first part of the trail is pretty easy. Once you hit the second bridge you have to billy goat your way to the top using lots of switchbacks

beautiful lake! i even jumped in. I'd say its more like 9 miles. it took us 5 hours to hike there and back, not including the break at the lake. pretty gradual and lots of sun so wear sunscreen!

hiking
3 days ago

Well, it was a last minute decision to hike this, so, we took the ridiculous decision to Star the hike at 4:00pm, because we had such a pressure to get to the lake, it was very hard trying to keep a consistent pace going up hill, definitely this trail requires to have some condition. Anyway we made it to trailhead on time way before the sunset at 9:10ish, we were lucky!

The “mosquito hour” was crazy and as I read in last reviews, and yes they were violent and didn’t care the repellent.

hiking
4 days ago

Trail condition was good, and much of the hike was in shaded areas which helped since it was 95 degrees. There were several viewpoints, and spots to stop along the river. There was also a waterfall prior to the last ascent. Payout at the end is a beautiful alpine lake.

The trail is very popular, and heading back down was fairly busy. We left the trailhead at 7am. Would recommend going early to get a parking spot and beat some of the traffic.

Mosquitos and flies were aggressive. Bring plenty of bug spray.

Fun hike. Hard but it's worth it

Awesome hike!! Sarts off moderate and increases in steepness throughout the hike towards Melakwa lake. I managed with regular running sneakers but it would have been more comfortable during the rocky portions with hiking shoes. Made it up to the lake in 3 hours with a lot of rest stops and took 2.5 hours to get back down. BRING A SWIMSUIT AND A TOWEL so you can take a quick dip!! We went into the water for literally 10 seconds because it was so cold but it was an amazing experience. We were lucky and didn't experience any mosquitos at the lake.

Trail to the junction is easy on the feet and covered, for the most part. Steeper than the first half, the ascent from the junction offered numerous beautiful views. Kept moving and the mosquitos were never an issue. We were tempted to climb up the pass but opted to save that for another day. The first 2 dirt miles were a bit bumpy. Great hike with a stunning lake at the top. Not hard, moderate.

very nice views with blue /green water

hiking
7 days ago

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

hiking
8 days ago

I love the views and the lake made this trip well worth the drive from Olympia. Beautiful, awesome and just plain perfect.

kinda hard but so worth it!

Great hike. Starts off moderate, crosses the creek which gets crowded, nice waterfall on the way, then up the switchbacks which are pretty tiring, to the lakes. Almost completely snow free now. Bugs were awful by the lakes, even with spray. Get there early to avoid crowds.

hiking
10 days ago

Did this hike on July 3rd. It was a beautiful day in the NCNP, easy parking. We clocked 7.8 miles round trip and 1750 ft elev gain. The best way to do this hike is to look up the ferry schedule and hike in one way (wish we had known this ahead of time.) Cost is $10 cash per person. I even saw several people with dogs planning to take the ferry, but I don't know the rules.

Hiked on 7/7/18 - This trail is pretty narrow and overgrown in a few areas and we hit patchy snow at about 5500 ft. I’d be wary of hiking it after a rainfall - it’s very exposed and very steep! LOTS of mosquitos at the top, but beautiful wildflowers and amazing views all along the way. I also saw quite a few tiny garnets in a lot of the rocks along the middle section of the trail, if you’re into that sort of thing :)

10 days ago

Would give this a 4.5 if it was available. Super bumpy gravel road for about 3 miles to the TH. Water running along the trail was really nice. View from the top was super. As others have commented, the bugs at the top - and along the trail - were plentiful and aggressive.

My second review of this hike. Went once in October last year and on July 5th, the other day. This is more of an update. Water was too cold to swim and also there was a lot more water than last time as the lake drains all summer so there were no “beach” areas. Definitely soak yourself in bug spray. I applied some and still got about 8 bites, mainly through my clothes which I wasn’t expecting so spray everything. View at the top was amazing as always. Also trail is 9.3 miles round trip, not 8.0.

hiking
10 days ago

Easy [for me] hike. 2 miles from the car to the trailhead, then another 4.35 to the lake. Tons of switchbacks to get to the top. Up top, you’ll lose the trail b/c of the snow coverage if you’re unfamiliar of where to go - I recommend downloading a map for offline use. Look for NPS pink/red tape for direction marking. Skip stopping at Virgin Lake, walk around the edge and find the trail down to Blanca. Expect semi-steep descent, no scrambling. Bring plenty of water - can refill at the lake if need be. The falls off to the side provide fresh water that will suffice. Great photo shots from the first set of rocks you’ll see from up top. Trail to the bottom is over to the left.

Side note - you’ll need a park pass for your car. No worries if you don’t have one - if you happen to get ticketed (like we did) it’s only a $5 fine (the cost of the pass)

hiking
11 days ago

Well first off, you don’t start off from the trail head. You have to park outside of the entry gate that takes you up to the trail head - road is washed out, yet is accessible for hiking up to trail head/parking lot. It adds about another 2 miles to the already 6.3 mile hike(round trip). We saw some vehicles halfway up- were locked inside; since gate was closed. Don’t know how long they were there for. The hike was tough like others mentioned. We went up 7/2/18, still lots of snow, trekking poles helped. Only made it to Virgin Lake, which was a short distance from Blanca Lake....was getting late; both where still frozen. Trail has ribbon makers to help guide, once you get to the snow parts- at least I believe that’s what they were there for. Helps to have a good GPS app on phone. Foot prints in snow helped too, from others. Come mid/late August, I believe snow should melt - it was a colder winter....don’t know how long it will stick around. Over all, the hike was hard, lots of switchbacks and roots on trail heading up. If you like a challenge, go for it!

hiking
11 days ago

I love this trail...We hiked it last September and the lake is absolutely stunning! We ate lunch and rested by the lake before heading back. We will definitely go again this year. :)

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