Explore North Cascades - 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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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.

hiking
1 month 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.

backpacking
2 months ago

Gorgeous spot to camp. Bring warm clothes.

hiking
4 months ago

bad knees(like me)? -> walk it clockwise...and use poles.
great knees? -> walk it, run it, etc; direction irrelevant.
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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.

Most beautiful hike I've done yet.

Views are stunning! It was great but you need spikes and poles, gets slippery on the way down.
We did counter clockwise, should have done another way around.

hiking
6 months ago

Hiked this on Sunday, 15th. It was a gorgeous hike and like others have said, the larches were out in all their glory.

Did the hike on 10/15. Road is snow free, doable by any car, but long-base and low clearance car might scratch the bottom and bumpers in one place.
First half of the way up is muddy and snow free, but second part is wet snow and it is slippery.
Views are gorgeous and definitely worth visiting.

Loved this mountain! Though the elevation is high, it wasn't too difficult. The view is incredibly distracting it is so gorgeous!

6 months ago

By far my favorite hike I've done. Beautiful views, I began to the right of the loop, my poles definitely came in handy on the way down. Happy hiking!

hiking
6 months ago

Hiked this trail with our yellow lab and had a great time. We got to the trailhead around 11:30 am and went clockwise (wanted to avoid a slippery, steep descent)—the trip was exactly four hours roundtrip, with lots of stops along the way. Wear plenty of layers, and come prepared for the snow. We had our yak tracks on and it saved us from a ton of tumbles.

hiking
6 months ago

Hiked Sunday Oct. 8th between 2:00pm and 7:30pm ish; overnight snow pack made some parts very slippery, crampons/trekking poles would have helped. So beautiful though! The butt bruises were worth the views

hiking
6 months ago

What a beautiful day for an adventure! My son (6 years old) and I arrived at the trail head around 10:30am and there were still a few spots in the parking lot. After gearing up, grabbing our dog, and signing in, we made our way up the trail. The first 2/3 are wooded with the remaining portion exposed. There were some parts of the trail that had compact snow and ice, and while they weren't impassable, some sort of traction would be helpful. The larches are out in full force so if you want to see them now is the time.

hiking
6 months ago

I combined this with Lake Ann and Rainy Lake as well to make a nice day hike. Spectacular views from Maple Pass looking down into the mountain "bowl" where the lake nestles at the bottom. Very steep up to the Pass, and obviously no trees to buffer the wind. Trail finding is easy, plenty of shade in the beginning of the trail and a great place to eat lunch at Lake Ann. Bring plenty of water and layered clothing for the wind at the top. Great trail for those who aren't new to hiking!

hiking
6 months ago

10/8/2017
Winchester Mountain Trail is such a beautiful picturesque hike, with the view of the Twin Lakes. This is a must hike, however you need to be prepared.
The road going up to the trail head is VERY steep and difficult, with large pot holes, bumps, crossing water, large rocks; etc. You will not make it up the mountain in your vehicle if you don't have a Jeep, Subaru or 4x4. Don't even try it! If you have a smaller car, you will have to park down the trail and talk a long, steep hike up to the trail head.
I drove slow and carefully, and it took me 1 hour from the road to get to the trail head in my Subaru.
I wasn't prepared for all of the snow and winter wonderland that had already fallen. The hike was covered in snow, and was slushy, muddy, and wet. As you get closer to the top, it is very slippery and icy. I made my way back down the mountain around 2:45pm and the slushy ice was already starting to freeze and was getting colder.

Tips: (Must Haves for this hike)
Wear hiking boots (waterproof)
You will want your trekking poles
Sunglasses
Sunscreen
Camera
Long pants and gadders
*Requires Discover Pass

This is a beautiful hike, and was quit the adventure; not just the hike, but driving up to it!

hiking
6 months ago

Incredible hike! Left at 2:30pm and finished at around 6:15pm right at dusk. There were 4 of us and a dog, which slowed us down a little bit. We went to the left at the beginning of the trail which means we did the sharp incline as the beginning of the trip. So beautiful!

Very beautiful!!!! Like others have said going counterclockwise is easier, we are glad we did! Elevation change meant snow at the top, as long as we kept moving we were warm enough though!

6 months ago

Bucket list hike - spectacular.

Beautiful lake, fall colors, trail was in great shape. Snowed very lightly up at the lake. I'd rate it easy.

backpacking
6 months ago

excellent hike! Definitely recommended for those amazing views. trail can be a little rough with lots of loose rocks but almost anyone could do it. also prepare for year round snowpack in locations

A lot of ups and downs on a rooty, rocky trail but it was worth it! This was great. Lots of awesome dogs,
People and wild blueberries! It was a wonderful time!

hiking
6 months ago

Nice trail, a bit of snow at top. Overall good.
Many animals on the way.

hiking
6 months ago

Awesome views and worth the effort. We had snow at top and did see a massive bear (at a good distance). A top rated hike - don't skip it. We logged it just over 7 miles.

Went a few days ago. Saw two bears. One was a brownish black bear that people thought was a grizzly bear.

hiking
7 months ago

Beautiful hike. The more challenging end of "moderate" Hiked it counter clock wise. The descent is hard on the knees. Fall colors are starting to show.

backpacking
7 months ago

Amazing hike, not hard and pretty short, did it last night for sunset and camped at the top. You need a 4x4 vehicle to get to the trailhead.

Could only hike in about 2.5 miles counterclockwise on 9/14/17 because we saw a Grizzly that would not get off of the trail after about 20 minutes. Still a beautiful hike.

hiking
7 months ago

Amazing views all the way up. Carry bear spray and make noise!!! Saw a black bear and a grizzly! Also saw a marmot. Would recommend going counterclockwise.

The fall color is coming out. We did the scramble to the true northern summit. Class 2 with some exposure for the last little bit. The trail to the southern false summit is in excellent conditions and is very busy.

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