Explore Mt Loop - 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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Bring water and waterproof shoes that help support ankles. Beautiful trail. Sharp rocks.

hiking
1 day ago

Trail is in awesome condition! Rainy season is definitely upon us. Remember to bring rain gear and wear waterproof shoes, you have to navigate through some creeks and a small waterfall. We saw a couple families with small children turn around due to the creeks flowing through the trail. My pup absolutely LOVED it and jumping on over all the roots and big rocks along the way!

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.

One of my favorite, and not too difficult, trails. This hike is great for anyone of any athletic level. Very kid and pet friendly hike. Have hiked this twice but never saw anyone swim. Bring plenty of water!

Hiked up heather lake on 09/16; was pouring rain for the first half, and it stopped by the time we got to the top. Lots of water & mini waterfalls flowing along the trail, so waterproof boots and clothing highly recommended! Brought a small picnic to eat at the top with the beautiful view of the lake. Overall an awesome hike and will definitely come again on a day with better weather.

*Side note: the drive up the mountain to the trailhead parking lot has A LOT of potholes! I made it fine with the VW Jetta, but just something to watch out for.

on Lake 22 Trail

hiking
4 days ago

Love the lake and waterfalls. Trail is a stair-climber but very well maintained with no trail junctions (easy navigation).

Very easy hike with stunning views of the mountains. It’s like you’re in a little basin cove and the ice caves are beautiful! Took two dogs there and we loved all the waterfalls.

5 days ago

Beautiful hike! You can hear streams and see waterfalls all throughout the hike. Get here early, the parking lot is full by 10:30 on the weekend. Lots of families and people hiking on the weekend but still did not feel crowded.

Pretty hike, trail is difficult due to rocks and roots and it’s literally a stream. Make sure to wear waterproof shoes since you’ll need to walk in water. The lake is beautiful and the sun was just coming up behind the mountain around 12.

Beautiful trail enjoyed while I carried a two month old and my husband carried our two year old. Flat in the beginning on a gravel trail/boardwalk, several bridges over streams. Fairly easy hike up with about 200’ gain and beautiful view of the mountain, waterfall, and caves once you reach the top. The rangers at the top were very nice and available to answer questions. On the way back down stopped to let the toddler throw some rocks in the river. We will be back! Note that you need a NW Forest pass to park and the kiosk at the trailhead is not currently operational so stop at the Verlot ranger station on the way for a pass.

hiking
16 days ago

Excellent hike. Definitely moderate grade with lots of roots and boulders to navigate. Get there early.

Found this hike on accident. I went on a Tuesday so there was no body the whole time! the lake was beautiful and the trail was very easy to stay on!

hiking
16 days ago

Great did with dog and friend I had to take like five breaks going up but worth it for gorgeous views

hiking
17 days ago

This is a great short hike that is on the easier side of moderate. Really cool view at the top with the lake surrounded by mountain peaks! Lake 22 is cooler in my opinion, but Heather lake is an easier and quicker hike that is less trafficked.

Road to North Lake trail is not too bad. Low clearance vehicles can do it, but have to go slow in a few spots. Trail from Independence Lake to North is steep, rocky, and lots of tree roots. Slower going than trail to Independence. Follow cairns around rock fall near the saddle at the top above North Lake.

hiking
20 days ago

I really really liked this hike. I did this right after Mount Pilchuck so in comparison, much quieter, less people, and easier terrain and under half the elevation. A very moderate hike in terms of terrain and scenery but diverse in scenery. The majority of it is dirt, roots, and the occasional pile of rocks to walk over. The best part of this trail to me was the view at the end and the smells and sounds around the lake. In the distance about a half mile from the lake you can vividly hear a waterfall and around and near the lake you can smell the flowers, damp dirt, and a faint smell of pine. We came on a clear day but right after some rain, I bet the smells are even better!

-Difficulty-
Nothing too strenuous in my opinion but I am 24, 135 lbs, and in fairly good shape. My friend Brian, his Australian Shepard name Oz, and I were able to knock through this no problem in about 1.5 to 2 hours including walking around the lake and taking some spectacular pictures. Our pace averaged around 20 min or so. You could easily trail run this on the way back just being careful of roots, small wet rocks here and there, and your speed down the switchbacks.

-Notes-
No music please! There were a couple groups playing music and in this kind of area (valley and open), you can hear a med loud song for easily a 1/4 mile or so. My friend and I ran to get past the group and far enough ahead so we could enjoy the sounds of nature and our own company. If you wanna listen to music, wear some headphones. Remember, most people do these hikes for the sheer joy of disconnecting and finding peace within nature. Music scares away peaceful thoughts, peaceful sounds, and the wildlife.

20 days ago

Beautiful hike with impressive views to the valley on the way up. Almost all of the hike is under heavy growth, so very pleasant and fragrant. Drastically insufficient parking, though the picnic area across the highway has a fair amount more. The lake is more impressive than I think most people expect it to be. It’s small but in a dramatic setting. Nice access to the shore for swimming. Possibly among the most rugged trails around, resembling a stream bed more than a trail for long stretches, especially the third quarter of the hike up, or so. Quite fatiguing especially on the way down, where each step is fairly calculated. Not a place for solitude, but quite lovely.

hiking
20 days ago

Magnificent old growth, gnarly beauties all along the trail, peekaboo waterfalls and many rivulet crossings even this dry season
Must go round the lake to appreciate the grand scale of Pilchuck backdrop with ice caves, giant talus boulders, and views across the lake
Sturdy shoes needed to traverse rugged, rocky stretches

First intentional day hike/fish excursion. a family of four and a little pup went for a day hike (really to fish) 1 mile seemed perfect for our first together & hope to have many more. This hike is listed at Moderate and I would agree, from the trail head it was 3 quick switchbacks then onto a bit more level hike/walk, it was dry so this was relativiely an easy hike, although a couple of us were huffing an puffing because a) were out of shape b) were ex-smokers c) it was about 65 degrees. Overall a great hike. Once we got to Independence lake we stopped to fish, this was the clearest most blue water I'd ever laid eyes on and yes, there were fish in the lake. We got quite a few hits & double hits from the fish whom were chasing rooster tails/lures like candy but wouldn't take em. Great hike, we will definitely be back here and continue to explore this great Northwest we have in our backyards.

Beautiful hike Sept 2. We got an early start and it was not too crowded. Met lots of people coming up on our way down. The early start was well worth it.

hiking
22 days ago

Two hours to the top, an hour coming down. Gorgeous views. Hike is very gradual going up- it’s a great hike all around! Can be slippery. Shoes with good grip necessary.

I love this hike for being family friendly. My three year old can hike a lot of this on her own. It felt a little underwhelming to me until we reached the beautiful wildflower meadow just before the lake. It was absolutely magical seeing all the flowers encased in rolling fog with the mountains in the background. I recommend this hike mostly in the fall with the foliage or when the wildflowers are in bloom, otherwise if you’re going just for the views, there may be better options.

Amazing

23 days ago

This place is beautiful, did it 2 times. During the summer bring bug spray, once you get to the lake- they wont leave you alone. Sunscreen is needed as well, there are areas exposed you to sun.

hiking
25 days ago

We attempted Pilchuck but had to turn around due to a massive snow field in our way. We could not navigate it because we did not have proper gear. So we decided to hike to Heather Lake. The hike is moderately difficult if you are out of shape but the 4.2 miles stated goes very quickly. I've seen better views at the end but with the vast snow fall and boulder fields surrounding the lake, it was quite impressive.

hiking
27 days ago

great hike fairly easy, if you dont take a young child that u have to carry, super rocky for kids younger than 7yr. we took or 3yrs old she did fine on the steps but the up hill is mostly rocky which my husband had to put her in the hiking back pack. which made it difficult to try to keep balance on some areas that had sharp rocky terrain

28 days ago

Moderate hike, left early enough to beat the crowd. Bring enough food and water to sit and enjoy the view. Swimming was a refreshing treat, bring a suit. Trail was easy enough to tote a paddle board up.

We hiked this via the Monte Cristo trail head across from Borrow. The first 4-5 miles of the trail are easy with little elevation gain. The next 3-4 miles is where it gets a little harder and a little harder.

You can lose the trail here and there if you aren’t paying attention to small signs and markings. The switch backs towards the top (last 1000 feet) are what most Alpine lakes bring, brutality.

When you get to the top tho, you can choose to go another 2.5 miles to twin lakes or go to Silver, clearly we went to Silver lake and it did not disappoint. The lake is amazingly clear/ blue!!

I will say this, the hike is more around the 16 mile range not 13! So if you are thinking about adding twin lakes to the hike think of a 20 mile hike not 15.

Awesome hike though over all. We thought about going into the “town” but glad we didn’t

hiking
1 month ago

8/23/18 (Thursday) Great hike. Started about 9:45AM & approximately 8 people before us. We were still in quite a bit of smoke for most of the climb up. Great workout. My son (16 yrs) wished he would have brought an additional tshirt. Soaked from sweat. Arrived at the lake within 2 hours. The smoke was just beginning to clear. Beautiful scenery. Able to see the snow and an ice cave (did not hike up to it; obviously dangerous) but it was beautiful for pictures. I would recommend it. I would like to hike it again in the clear blue skies.

Very easy hike. Beautiful scenery once you get up to the caves. I've hiked it twice in the last 3 weeks.

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