Explore Must Do - Summer - 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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Honestly one of the best hikes I’ve done since moving to WA. The hike up wasn’t too bad, I did have to take some breaks but once you make it to the top it is worth it! 360° views of the surrounding mountains and an awesome view of Mount Baker. We hiked along the ridge for a bit and it was beautiful. Unfortunately we got a late start getting there so we couldn’t stay as long as we hoped to. Ended up hiking back down in the dark which wasn’t too bad using our phone flashlights. I would highly recommend this trail!

great trail! beautiful views at the lakes and definitely will be a repeat for us

Very pretty area. We enjoyed this hike a lot.

hiking
5 days ago

This was my very first hike and the fellas and i really had no idea what we were in for .. If you aren't a regular hiker (like myself) and aren't in top shape , be prepared to push yourself harder than you ever have . The trail was beautiful, the views were beautiful . There are some very steep areas that will test your quads . Personally i had to take lots of little breaks to let my legs recharge . It was hard mentally and physically to accomplish but well worth it in the end. It was a great accomplishment. It was just under 12 km from where we Parked so about 23.5 km round trip ! My biggest regret was not having buying hiking poles.. it WILL save your legs

Well it's a good thing that I love the rain. My toggs and trekking poles were the hands down winners for needed hiking accessories on this trip. I'll be back next July to get some pics from the vista. The flag at the top of the mountain was a nice touch.

Hey thanks Eric, It was nice meeting you. I'm really glad we ran into each other at the top.

A tough hike but well worth it once you leave the switchbacks and forests behind. The views of the surrounding mountains is the warm up for getting to see Blanca Lake. It truly is worth the gruel and I will do it again when the seasons change in a few weeks. Two things 1) Don't give up and 2) coming down takes half the time it takes to get up.

hiking
12 days ago

Trash Everywhere!

First I need to say how disappointed I am with the hikers using Washington trails! I watched volunteers spending an entire day cleaning trash from this one trail. It took a team of people the entire day to pick up trash that should never have been left in the first place. Very Sad.

If your going to hike this or any other Washington State trail take your trash out with you. If you see some disrespectful hiker leaving trash say something.

And to all you pet owners! If your dog poops don’t put it in a bag and toss the bag off the trail. Seriously, what is wrong with you people.

If you can’t show respect for other hikers and the environment, stay off the trail.

It can be a minor challenge to find the trailhead and getting past all of those switchbacks may pose more than a minor for some cars and those in a rush. Go early. once you start the hike and you clear the forest, you reach an open area. From this stretch you come face to face with Mount Baker. a little further up and you have a spectacular view of Mount Shuksan and the rest of the peaks in the range. The long sloping hills make it seem something out of a postcard of Switzerland. strongly recommend!

This is the second most beautiful thing I've seen this year! The first was female so I don't think that's a fair comparison. I had to hold back my emotions, I'm a man of course, I was just not prepared for how stunning this lake was in person. This is something you must see for yourself.

The lake is not made of a non-nutonian fluid, I tried walking on it and I sank.That's how my pictures came out so awesome!

If you're not quite sure if you have bad knees or not... You'll definitely know after this hike! LOL

Don't forget to see the falls at the end of the trail. I got in the water to take some pictures from the other side.

hiking
12 days ago

This hike have great and amazing views of the lakes but it’s very rocky all the way up to Gem Lake. I do recommend to go early in the morning to get a good parking and also to avoid a lot of the day hikers. I started at 08:30am and there’s not many people at that time. Once I passed Snow Lake, I’ve only seen a few people on my way to Gem Lake. And most of them are coming back from camping. Once I got to Gem Lake, there’s only a few people there (I counted 5 to include myself). I stayed for half an hour and enjoyed the quietness of the nature. I completed the hike with a moving time right under 5 hours. I could’ve finish it earlier but there were a lot of people going the other direction :( So, yeah. My recommendations: Early start, good hiking shoes, and drinking water

Amazing experience. Will visit again.

hiking
13 days ago

Ended up stopping at Gem lake instead of going the wrest of the way up to Wright. It was a cloudy day but the lake was beautiful. Not many people but before all of that you come up to snow lake. That’s where it was packed.

This is a brutal hike. Straight up. Switchback after switchback. Wear good shoes, I hike in my Nikes, not my hiking boots. They gave me blisters for two weeks last time. A walking stick would be helpful coming down. It’s steep. The view, flowers and wildlife are worth the haul. You can get up to the top and poke around without doing the whole 11 miles. Enjoy!

AMAZING VIEWS // worth the tough climb

hiking
14 days ago

This trail is very difficult but worth the effort! I would recommend going on a weekday and starting early in the morning. We started at 8:45am and arrived at the lake at 12:00pm. (I took several short breaks along the way!) We spent about an hour at the lake relaxing and refueling. The trip back was almost as difficult as getting to the lake. Because of the steep incline, it can be hard on the knees. The blueberry bushes are ripe and ready to eat along the trail. The mosquitoes and flies were out but not too bothersome. This is definitely a trail that shouldn’t be passed up.

Super fun, but busy hike. Parking was a mess and there was a lot of people. Beware of livestock as well (keep dogs on leash).

So hard. So beautiful..

hiking
16 days ago

just love it worth the hike

Beautiful view, went to this hike during Labor Day weekend and there were 4 tents camping there. Get there early, our way back to the parking lot was busy and the road can be challenging.

backpacking
16 days ago

A 50 lbs pack on this hike was a real leg burner but worth it. We camped 2 nights and 3 days. The downside is that we got stuck in a constant rain+wind storm for 2 days and couldn’t see more than 30 feet in front of us. The the views were of a gray cloud that we were stuck in. Upside, bears and bugs don’t like that weather so no run in’s, ha. I have an inReach Garmin and kept holding onto hope for Monday, our last morning, since the weather report kept updating at 0% chance rain. It did finally blow out and I’ll admit, seeing that happen was almost worth the storm. Once the sun finally pierced through the clouds, it was amazing. Then it took about an hour for the cloud cover to blow away and reveal why the North Cascades are my favorite. Photos don’t do it justice, you just have to come and see for yourself. Just don’t be a jerk, pack out what you pack in and no fires. The plant life up here is like a PNW rainforest. It’s gorgeous and there are also tons of wild blueberries around. We got to spend 3 hours exploring around which was great. We all had tent fever pretty bad and needed to stretch out minds and our legs. I’m just happy we were able to see the endless sea of Cascades before heading down. We were also stoked that we didn’t have to scramble down wet and muddy rocks. I will say that the scramble area is way longer than posted on here. It wasn’t constant but there were scrambles for the last mile. Some of them were so high that my full pack top touched what I was climbing. Trekking poles and hiking boots are a must, and not worn down hiking boots, you’ll need good outsoles. Also, the split from Barlow trail to Gothic Basin happens a little before what’s posted on here. The original trail is unsafe, looked like a tree fell through. They made a new trail to connect over, just follow the wooden sign that says “Gothic Basin” and ignore your preloaded maps. I use OnX, it lets you preload high resolution maps for offline use. They’re better than my Garmin maps. Definitely bring a bear canister or ursack. There was a warning sign saying they “strongly discouraged camping” at Barlow pass, which is the trail you begin on. Apparently it’s a bear hangout and the trial head where you park, bears have gotten into vehicles and aren’t easily scared off. So while Gothic Basin isn’t Barlow pass, they share the same parking and part of the trail and it’s still bear country. So be smart. Do your research and enjoy the view! It’s worth every bit of leg burn.

Great experience

Camped at Labor day. Train in good condition, no bugs. hiked Alta mountains as a bonus.

hiking
18 days ago

Took the dogs to the meadow clearing to hopefully have great scenic views, however there was a cloud rolling from the west to east that obscured the entire ridge line so no scenic view of Baker or Shuksan. Overall was very enjoyable and would have been five stars if the weather cooperated and if the trail wasn’t as crowded. There were a lot of people today.

hiking
18 days ago

Very good hike. Went till we were even with the bottom of inter glacier. Stayed away from the glacier as rocks were coming down from the top of the glacier. Look out for those if you go beyond the campground. Beautiful up there. The top of the mountain looks soooo close and inviting

hiking
18 days ago

one of my favorite trails. the trail is in amazing condition. lots of people camped out at virgin lake and the blue berries were all over the sides of the trail.

hiking
18 days ago

We started from the car at 9:55AM (parked right near the road closed sign) and made our way up the road. At 10:38 we started the actual hike, the signage at that point states 3.5 miles to Blanca lake. We made it to the lake at 3:00PM (approx 4.5 hours to get there). Such a beautiful spot! Amazingly Mint green water! Make the plunge it is cold but so rewarding! We went all the way down to the second lake lookout on the actually water and relaxed on the logs. On the way back we made sure to turn on our mileage calculator so we could let y’all know the distance. It took us 3 hours to get down (back to the car at about 7PM). All in all we were prepped for 13 miles plus the road washout 4 miles... this info is not accurate!!! It was a little over 12 miles in total including road washout! (6.1 miles each way!) Enjoy guys!

Trail ran this today. Similar to what the other reviewer said, biggest regret was not bringing a tent. The basin is pretty awesome. Hard to describe and pictures don’t do it justice. Hike was smoke free, bug free. Super steep at times so be prepared to have your legs burning. Kind of like Mt . Si but 3 miles longer. First 2 miles are flat and easily runnable. Hiking poles and hiking shoes are a must. Trust me. I post photos of my hiking adventures on instagram under “adventuringKR”. One final note, this hike is 30 miles from cell service so download some offline maps and get a lot of gas before you get there.

hiking
19 days ago

Only regret is not bringing our tent. Take your time, and bring hiking poles if you’re unsteady on your feet. Plan on hanging out in the basin for a while!

Pretty lake, trail is pretty rocky so good footwear is key

hiking
19 days ago

Really good hike, good milestones along the way including Snow lake and Gem Lake. I started hiking at 7:30 and finished around 2. The morning was great even though chilly because the trails were empty. On my way down the last Snow lake stretch of the trail at 1:30, there were so many people they were all stuck in single file lines trying to make it down. Also don't leave your trekking poles at home if you are looking to summit Wright, it gets incredibly steep at some points and you need poles or you will be crawling.

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