Explore to Do - 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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Big gain in a short distance. Well worth the work with beautiful vistas and quite a bit of fun scrambling at the top.

11 hours ago

Bring water and waterproof shoes that help support ankles. Beautiful trail. Sharp rocks.

hiking
14 hours ago

Didn’t make it to the falls, yet enjoyed the 3 mile hike, great one to start after two years away. Beautiful colors super scenic. Dog friendly, easy access from Salmon le Sac campground.

hiking
16 hours 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!

hiking
1 day ago

Very well maintained trail with beautiful waterfalls.

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
3 days ago

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

Great hike, especially on a clear day. Not too difficult, last stretch is the hardest. Took just over 2 hours to get up.
The road up was full of potholes! The trailhead is about 5 miles past Heather Lake.

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.

Relatively short easy hike. I went while it was raining so going up in the beginning can be muddy and slippery so be careful. Views were incredible from the lookout even on a semi foggy day.

Sheltered forest hike on a well maintained trail. Beautiful view on the lookout.

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.

Excellent trail! We were able to hike this after leaving Mount Baker on our way back to the Seattle airport. Rained all day in Bellingham Sunday so we needed one more hike before hearing back to hot, humid Atlanta !

hiking
11 days ago

Agree with previous review. It's a medium-hardness hike. Mailbox was a ton more strenuous.

we went during the week in the evening so it wasnt very busy, only saw 2 other couples. there was so many amazing views along the way! the falls were absolutely breathtaking! we just went to the 2nd level since we ran out of daylight but definitely want to go back! id say moderate is fitting for this one:)

My first time hiking this mountain and it’s not that hard at all compare to MailBox. Amazing View, I definitely go back again when it’s sunny.

Driving all the way up to Mt PilChuck Parking lot was Nuts a lot of holes.
Get there early parking lot gets pack right away.


HAVE FUN

14 days ago

Very nice trail with great views. It was foggy and cold at the lookout. Plenty of Yummy huckleberries along the way! The round trip hike is exactly 6 miles not 4.8 miles that is listed here...

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
15 days ago

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

hiking
15 days ago

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

hiking
16 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.

Challenging and beautiful hike. The scramble at the top is a bit daunting, but totally worth the view you experience. Took us 3.5 hours total (2 hours up, 1.5 hours down). As everyone else says, the road up to the trailhead is pretty crappy. Not sure why they don't fill in those massive potholes. Made it up okay in a lowered golf though. Will be back again for sure!

hiking
17 days ago

Hiked on 9/10/18.

I'm sure it's typically busy, but I went on a Thursday morning and basically had the whole trail to myself. Multiple view points along the way and they're all beautiful. The trail is extremely well maintained. I'll definitely be coming back here again.

backpacking
19 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.

hiking
19 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.

Nice short hike. I was concerned it might be steep and hard work for my ten year old daughter who has not hiked much, but she handled without any difficulties. We ate lunch at a little picnic table below the tower and enjoyed taking in the views. The trail was well maintained and definitely seemed to be a nice place for people with dogs.

Amasing hike!

Hiked on 8/5/2018

This is a great place to break in your trekking poles. I walk a bit faster than most but I'll be the first to admit that the elevation gain on this hike is a workout for newbies.

You have three lookout points on your hike: Lower; Mid: and Upper falls. Bring some extra water if you don't carry a pack. Watch out for loose rocks on the trails.

This is a popular location so arrive early.

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