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North Cascades Map

Did this in August with some friends and it was so much fun! Definitely recommend starting early because it took us a while, especially since we did bridal falls first. This trail is hard with tons of switch backs and a lot of uphill stairs. If you are somewhat fit, you will be fine. The lake is nice to swim in during the summer time as it is completely clear and cold. Reminds me of Lake Twenty-Two but you can’t walk around it on a board walk :) Bring lots of water and snacks because there are a ton of places to take a break and look out at the landscape. Highly recommend for those of you who want a challenge!

Visited last summer and the views were UNREAL. We did the loop in a clockwise direction, heading left at the trailhead; if you hike this way, then all of the elevation gain is done in the first mile or so and there are views the rest of the hike as well as a downward slope the rest of the 6 or so miles. Conversely, if you hike the loop counterclockwise, there will be a lot more uphill hiking as the elevation gain is spread out over the miles.

Make no mistake, unlike many other hard-rated hikes on this website, this one is actually hard. An information board in one of the ranger centers rated it as extremely strenuous, and while I'm not sure about the "extreme" part, "strenuous" is definitely an apt description.
You start straight off with the hardest part - very steep switchbacks through a forest that feel almost endless and offer absolutely no views to take your mind off your misery. While you gain a lot of altitude in this section, on the map it looks like you are making no progress at all, which can feel somewhat discouraging. It was warm and really humid when we did the hike, which made the first part even worse.
Once you make it beyond the switchbacks, you finally get some views, which gradually open up until you have full 360 at the top. The final push again comes in the form of a few steep switchbacks but this time they are fairly short.
Mid-July, there was still a lot of snow at the top, so sturdy boots and hiking poles are a must.
During the whole hike, we only met 3 or 4 other people, so if you want some quiet time, this hike is definitely a good place. We saw some ground-squirrels and bear footprints but no other wildlife.
In sum, this is a great hike with stunning views at the top, definitely worth the effort.

11 days ago

A fairly easy hike with gorgeous views of mountains and lakes. Mid-July, there was still plenty of snow in the upper parts, so hiking poles and good boots come highly recommended. We hiked it in the counter-clockwise direction and we thought the last steep descent was quite hard on the knees but nothing unbearable. If you prefer a less steep descent, go clockwise though.
All in all, a really nice hike with quite a few people on the trail.

Love the lake, the view it’s amazing

1 month ago

...we were gifted with crystal clear blue skies all day long as we explored the area on our snowshoes, constantly in awe of the landscape , the imposing mass of Mt Baker and not to be out done , the glaciated face of Mt Shuksan...... it is incredibly quick and easy access from the ski hill into the open , back country.... and even tho there was a fair number of people exploring the area there was no escaping the " out there " , wild feel of it..... the only draw back was a rather tedious cross slope trail that proved cumbersome in snowshoes going from Artist Point up to the saddle where the trail branches off for Ptarmigan Ridge, but small potatoes compared to the sights that surrounded us. will definitely be back , ..and i must explore this area in the summer months !

1 month ago

One of the best in NW. Challenging hike all the way to the finish, but definitely wonderful Lake, glacier, and mountain peaks. Trail is well maintained, but on the top it gets confusing where to go for the first timers. You’ll pass a small lake to get to your destination.

closed to public use from 02/08/18 to 07/01/18 .
what a bummer I drove all the way up here from Seattle for this hike only to find out that it is closed .
am trying to save your time .

Trail is closed to the public for lodging from 02/08/18 to 07/08/18.

on Blanca Lake Trail

1 month ago

very hard ,but on the end worth it

Did the falls and ran into about 4 inches of snow, tried going up to the lake and had to turn around about 1/2 mile from the top due to waist deep snow.

We did just the Serene lake and the last mile was really hard with too much snow and icy. It was pretty much drizzling the whole time so couldn’t enjoy the hike as such. The beat part was the crackling sound of the ice and the avalanche effect of snow falling down from the mountain.

1 month ago

This was back in November so the access is not the same now. We were hoping for a snow shoe but the day before they broke trail and the weather changed so everything was crusty. It was just easier to use spikes. They werent even needed until about half way but I didnt use them until it was time to turn around and head back down. This hike is always incredible!

Went this morning and there weren’t too many people since I️t was raining when we arrived at about 10:30. The water isn’t as bad on the trail as I️t was a few weeks ago the streams have died down a bit. Closer to the lake there is compact snow on the trail and micro spikes would be very useful. I did see people without them but they were sliding quit a bit. Beautiful hike overall

Night hike for Astro Photography. Used micro spikes at the top. Beautiful as always...even in the dark.

Last 2 miles up to lake Serene you need microspikes, but it's completely worth it. the lake is just bright blue when it's frozen and surround by snow covered mountains. We listened and watch small avalanches happening on the mountains all around the lake. It was magnificent but be careful.

Just hiked Lake Serene 12/29/17. Right from the start there are several overflowing creeks you have to cross so make sure you come prepared with waterproof boots or be prepared to suck it up! :) I’ve hiked Lake Serene twice in the snow before and three times during the summer. The trail does eventually pass right by the bottom of some run off of Bridal Veil Falls and there’s no way to keep going to the top without passing through a large creek/ giant winds/ and water in the air that the water fall produces. Normally, there’s just a small pool of water coming off of the rocks, but with all of the rain from the past few days, there was an enormous amount of water coming off of the rocks. (Definitely the highlight of our hike though). Microspikes are necessary about 75% of the way up the hike. The trail starts to get icy/slushy. Unfortunately, we got caught on time and couldn’t make it to the top because we didn’t want to get caught in the dark. I’m sure it was truly Serene at the top!

This hike was pretty tough but overall the views were incredible. We went when the lake was frozen over and it was an amazing experience and well worth hiking through rain and light snow

2 months ago

Breathtakingly beautiful.

Hiked on 12/22 - went to Bridal Falls then up to the lake. The snow made everything look amazing. Snow was packed pretty well and didn’t need spikes on the way up. Had lunch on lunch rock and it got really chilly. Bring layers for the temperature change. Put spike on to go down for maybe half a mile then it was easy. Would definitely come back in the summer time.

First half of the trail is pretty easy but the second half makes up for it. The trail was in great shape yesterday(12/23) with about a foot of snow at the top. Trail was well broke in so spikes for the last half mile or so are good to have and definitely good for the hike back down. I took the trail up to bridal veil falls on my way back and it was totally worth it. The falls were half frozen which made for some cool pictures.

3 months ago

not the best hike but a decent little afternoon out and back and a great starter hike for those folks who enjoy nature walks and want to jump to the next step of an actual "hike." I say this because there is minimal elevation gain but has enough subtle gains, rocks and root systems to warrant it a hike (though, we were passed by a trail runner. how they can run these things and not break an ankle I'll never know). it's a fun way to get in a little exercise while playing tourist as you check out diablo dam and ross dam as well. the switchbacks close to the final descent to ross dam may be challenging for beginners but you can bypass them and head straight to the lookout point and settle in for a lunch there if you wish. the best part for us was being able to see the lake(s) from the other side instead of the highway AND seeing the inlets and islands we kayaked to the day before. be aware: if you do not like heights, you may not enjoy the break in the treeline close to the halfway point ; it's steep, narrow and really cool! I am a major klutz so I walked purposefully and used my poles. overall a very level and fun hike. I would say be mindful of the steep mountainside if you've got little ones or people afraid of heights but it's a nice little ditty for sure.

3 months ago

bad knees(like me)? -> walk it clockwise...and use poles.
great knees? -> walk it, run it, etc; direction irrelevant.
I grew up taking my family vacations out in this area. my parents would take my brother and I to lake ann every year. We would go fishing and visit with campers and swim, etc. I have many fond memories of this place. I especially remember how I could hear grown ups up on the ridge talking as they went on an "adult hike." this year, my husband and I spent a week out in the cascades and I was so excited to not only share my memories with him but to walk maple pass. as we were walking to the trailhead, a hornet decided to sting me (jerk) and it hurt like hell. I was also recovering from an ear infection and head cold from 3 days earlier. I would not be deterred...onward in a clockwise fashion we went. at 38 I have horrible knees (sx on my right and broke my "good" knee, the left one, 2 years ago). I am glad we got the steep stuff out of the way going up. if not for saving my knees, but for the insane indescribable monumental breathtaking views. the most steep parts were in the treeline. once you've cleared that, put on your hat and sunscreen (we hiked on September 1st) and stay hydrated. We ate some of the best huckleberries walking the last 4 switchbacks to the top. We had a great lunch and marvelled at the panoramic beauty. after a 30 min lunch we headed down and around lake ann not before getting a peekaboo view of Lewis lake. the descent going clockwise was so nice and kept the swelling and pain to barely noticeable. We made great time on both the ascent and descent. lake ann has changed since I was a kid. it's grown in around most of it and there no camping allowed. my only (minor) gripe is to the public at large: read all trails or wta or the parks info on a trail before going on a hike so you know what your getting into. We passed quite a few people in flat soled tennis shoes, no hats and minimal water and quite a few asked us how much longer to the top (green trails are GREAT maps sold at REI...when the last lady we saw whined at me asking how much further, I pulled out my map to show her location and she was stunned saying, oh my, you have a map and everything wow). Being ill prepared and complaining about it isn't fun, for anyone.

Hiked on 12/11 conditions were snowy/icy at top and Lake Serene was frozen. It was a great hike nevertheless

Most beautiful hike I've done yet.

not for the faint of heart! the trail is steep, but well worth it. definitely the hardest trail I've done to date. it's rocky and definitely icy at the top. i slipped and fell towards the top, but once I put my microspikes on it was easy to cross. the lake is frozen over and you can hear avalanches in the distance. over all worth the pain you endure getting there.

I'm so sad I didn't make it to the lake! Got a late start and in December it's crucial to time hikes so you aren't stuck walking back in the dark. I'm an out of towner so next time I will shoot for the whole trail. There's a sign that says the park is closed until 2018. I just called the park ranger and she had said it's ok. Be careful with the snow on the way up!

3 months ago

No service when I got there so couldn't track online, but this trail is awesome and long for the winter trek. my brother and I hit this today for the first time, the extra 2 miles one way make for a full day. We weren't moving very fast but made it just before virgin lake on the ridge and started post holing through to our waist. We were pooped at that that moment (Not knowing how close we were to the lake of course) and didn't finish the last 3/4 mile or so. But we will definitely be back. somewhat reminded me of pratt mountain on the way up but can't wait to see this majestic lake finally someday!! all said it was an 8 hour trek total. intermediate time. definitely not advanced speed wise. snow shoes recommended if there's anymore snow for the final mile, micro spikes worked great until we got too deep. side note that I think is important. with the extra mileage due to the slide its actually 12 miles round trip so plan accordingly

3 months ago

Went up in mid-October and conditions were excellent. We brought snowshoes but didn’t end up using them. I’m sure now you would need them. Some excellent switchbacks and beautiful (stunning!) views.

Trail was surprisingly empty. Lower trail is in good condition, not very muddy, lots of fallen leaves. There are several stream crossings. As you go up its a quick transition to snow, not icey. We used micro spikes which made the snow easy to maneuver through.

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