Explore summer 2017 - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

summer 2017 Map
14 days ago

emerald lake level was very high no shore camping. no places to put up a tent between trout lake and emerald lake. plenty of water sources this time of year. a fair amount of large blow downs add to the challenge.1.8 miles from trout lake near the top of the switch backs is a bad wash out dangerous especially with a full pack

DO NOT TRY THIS HIKE IF YOUR NOT PREPARED , it's easy to loose track and it is a hard hike , got lost twice and turned back half way .
there are no humans along the way and it's pure forest packed with a lot and a lot of snow .
I will give it another try during summer time when there is more day light .

3 months ago

beautiful trail.

This hike probably deserves more stars in the summer as these lakes are quite beautiful. Its really hard to access the lake with snow shoes as there are many obstacles in the final stretch creating hazards. Its a great workout and it was a fun hike as well. We broke trail and burned some calories. I would drive a little further and do Lake Valhalla from Stevens Pass instead. Its about a mile longer each way but a better hike in my eyes.

Three years ago. This was my wife and I first time snowshoeing, what a trip! We want to go back during the spring to hike our path to see the difference between snow and trail. Most fun we have every had snowshoeing. Not recommended for a first timer, we were lucky during the winter time and were a couple of greenhorns as they come. Read up on area difficulty and know what your getting into. Awesome place to go!!

Why is everybody calling this trail 7.7 miles. Its 5.2 miles to the junction of trail #522 and #507! Since this is where #533 ends, its a 10.4 round trip.

8 months ago

Mostly forested with some granite sticking out. I enjoyed it because it was only us. if you are looking to see peoplre hit it up during fishing season.

8 months ago

This trail is one rail I would never hike again. It had the least amount of scenery of all the hikes I have been on. W came at the end of April and could not drive all the way to the trailhead due to the snow. We parked and continued on the road through the snow top the trailhead. LOTS of running water from the melting snow on the sides of the road. we hiked in, spent the night and left next morning! Was just good to get the fresh air but there are SEVERAL better hikes in my opinion.

Trail follows creek closely much of the time. Tough last mile and a half. Surprise Lake: gorgeous little trout filled lake. Lots of flies/mosquitoes mid-August. Good campsites; less crowded than Glacier. Great hiking up to meadows and boulder field south of Glacier. Pika world.

9 months ago

Hiked this trail yesterday (8/13/2017). Trail is clear / no snow on trail. Beautiful 360 degree views from the peak. It is a bit challenging- lots of elevation gain & switchbacks, but view is worth it. Made good time- about 4hrs up, 2.5 hours down with some time at the top; about 7hrs total round trip for somewhat fit but only moderately experienced hikers.

Photo is taken from the peak facing NW towards Bumping Lake.

Surprise Creek? More like Some-Flies Creek!!! (Get it? GET IT?!?!) Be prepared for the bugs...
The trail is not clearly- marked- you pass through a rail-road yard (which is private land) to access it. The trail appeared to be well- maintained. We hiked on a sunny Sunday in July and we only saw maybe 8 other people- which was great! The elevation gain is spread out nicely- some long stretches of low grade punctuated by some steeper climbs. Hiking poles would come in handy since there are a lot of boulders, roots and stumps to scramble over. We want to do this again in the fall when the flies have gone away...

Hiked to Surprise Lake today Wednesday July 26th. Pleasantly surprised by the beauty of the lake, so sweet under the blue sky, large, quite, with many big rocks to rest on. One of the most beautiful lakes! Its a lot of harder than I expected but I am a wimp.
1) direction to trailhead not clear, but you are not far after freeway exit, cross the railroad, and turn right on a maintenance road, a small parking lot is a couples of minutes away.
2) a LOTS of bugs, so hose down bug spray and long sleeve shirts and pants
3) from surprise lake, another 3/4 of miles to a bigger lake, glacier lake and PTC, I didn't do it

So beautiful, worth all the bug bites.

9 months ago

Beautiful area. Wildfires were a bit close for comfort by Shedroof mountain. Heck of an overnight hike, but well worth it.

Set out from an empty parking lot at around 10:30 and it quickly turns upwards with many many unrelenting switchbacks going up, not a sole on the trail but me to the top and lookout, the views were awesome and the weather was hot and dry with a small breeze, over all great hike!

Enjoyed it - will do it again

11 months ago

Really awesome views, but be prepared for some tricky snow navigation and scrambling. Waterproof hiking boots and gaiters and hiking poles a must; an ice axe would have been really helpful too. See detailed trip report at


We tried this trail today (June 10 2017). Few things to note if you go...tl:dr BEAR ALERT
(1) driving directions seem "wrong" as you pull in following google maps because its pretty unmarked and you pass over train tracks to a unmaintained bumpy gravel road. Don't worry - you are going the right way
(2) once entering the trailhead take note that about .25 to .5 miles in the maintenance trail continues straight but trail veers left (theres a sign indicating incase you are like us and werent paying attention)
(3) we ran into a bear on the maintenance trail going between trailhead parking and left veer mentioned above. Luckily friendly and scared, about 200-250 lb brown bear. He/she scurried off once we made our presence known and continued watching us at a distance
(4) still lots of snow, sometimes running into downed trees to traverse. did not make it to the lake, mostly because i was tired and didnt have the right snowboots on for tracking to the lake. Became difficult approx 1000 ft from lake

11 months ago

There is a land slide at 1.5 miles from Trout Lake trailhead. Wild flowers were out.

11 months ago

Attempted this trail on the Saturday after memorial day 2017. It began well but at 5600ft and 2.28 miles in, the trail vanished under several feet of snow which still remains at the higher elevations. With no map we deemed it unsafe to wander around aimlessly in attempts to get any higher up to Nelson Ridge and Aix. Hopes to complete this later in the year. Also, I have no clue to what the actual length of the trail is. The USFS trail book that I read list it at about 6 miles one way or 12 miles round trip.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

My wife and I loved this trail. We only went about 3 miles in but we loved it. 3 major waterfalls that are downright gorgeous. We went on a Monday and had the trail to ourselves. After crossing the stream at the beginning, the next mile or so is steep switch backs and quite a climb. Will give you a workout. The rest of the hike was a very comfortable slope. Beautiful stands of pine, spruce and cedars stand over creeping Oregon grape, moss, huckleberry under stories. Trail is well maintained. The person who gave it 3 stars unfairly needs to realize that the best parts of the trail came after the steep beginning where they gave up and turned back.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

This was an interesting hike. My buddies and I stayed over the weekend at Emerald Lake, which was very low bur still very awesome. When you are at the lake there is not much exploring you can do, for you are inside canyon walls, but we had a great time. The trail is moderate and could be done by kids around twelve and up more easily if you had to go out and back the same day; for younger children be prepared to take your time and stay the night at the lake. Be advised there are only about 3 spots that you could actually camp at. Also, we are always looking for a little more challenge in our hikes so instead of taking the Hoodoo Canyon Trail to Emerald lake we took a left turn at the the sign just across the wood bridge and went nearly straight up to hit the the trail and headed North to Emerald Lake. Beautiful country; always a pleasure to be in God's country.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Loved this hike. Started off with some steeper switch backs and then leveled out a little bit more, amazing waterfall within the first 10 min of the hike. The next few miles are slight up and downs with amazing views, when you get about 3 miles in you hit another amazing private waterfall. Wish we could have kept going to the end but we only made it about 4 miles in. We don't hike very often and I didn't think it was that hard. The hardest part was the switch backs in the very beginning.

Great short out-and-back. Went on Labor Day weekend. It was a bit cold around the lake, but otherwise a steady climb from bottom to top. Found a good campsite, although we didn't have a view of the lake (those were already taken). Lots of bees humming around the ground at the lake, so not recommended if you have a serious allergy! They didn't really bother us but we could hear the constant hum. Worth a return visit for swimming!

Saturday, September 03, 2016

A word of caution - using the directions from the app leads to the Trout Lake campground, which is described in the "100 Hikes in the Inland Northwest" hiking guide as an optional alternative route to Emerald Lake that is "an easier trail, well-constructed but less scenic" than the route through Hoodoo Canyon that starts from the north end and includes a view of Lily Lake.
To be fair, I wasn't able to find the actual trailhead at either end, and eventually gave up, so I can't speak to the quality of the hike either way.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Great views! Went in late August on a weekday and didn't encounter anyone else on the trail.

Great trail...so much to see on the way up. We did this trail in the middle of the day during 80• weather...id recommend a cooler day or starting off early. Surprise lake was clear and beautiful and just what I needed. We took a dip to cool down as soon as we got there. Plenty of hiking around both lakes and plenty of camping spots. Loved it and will go back soon.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Steady & steep, but worth the trip!

Sunday, August 07, 2016

The trail is well-maintained. Endless switchbacks and many portions are exposed due to the past fire. The highest peak is in the middle and you need to go down the basin, then go up to the abanded lookout site. After that, cross a ridge (not difficult) to the peak, which is a very small place to hold only 2-3 people.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Great trail with wonderful views, the first 30 minutes is covered with downfalls and several times you have to leave the trail to make it around, but once you get past the down falls it is a great trail with spectacular views all the way.

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