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I live this hike. The caves are beautiful

It was great hiking . It was hard but safe !!!

hiking
1 day ago

This is a GREAT hike. We went in November and it was one of the last nice days of the season, which made for a beautiful frost cover near the Lake. It’s colder up there so layers are a must. Water proof shoes, the pot holes and the frosted walk way (not unsafe) in other reviews are accurate. It’s only an hour and half from Seattle and easily done in a half day. Light traffic during this time of year. We loved how you could hike all the way around the lake too. Highly recommend.

hiking
1 day ago

We did this today and it was a cool and crisp day. The trail definitely gets more steep after the falls, but it's worth it to make it to the beautiful lake. Bring layers! Got hot on the way up from the exertion, but the lake area was very cold and windy. There was ice in places with some very slippery rocks near the top, which slowed our pace. I recommend poles for this very rocky trail.

hiking
1 day ago

Nice, quiet hike. Worth the committment once you get to the top. 4/5 stars because there isn't much to see along the way. I took my time for photos and still finished in less than 3 hours. HUGE cedar trunks close to trailhead. Lake is just about frozen all the way across the top. No snow yet. Planks a little slippery.
Started as first car, ended with 5 other cars.

Steady climb to the top. Ground was frozen from about 4000’. Some ice along the way so micro spikes were good to have.

Almost all switchbacks. Loose rocks, needed my spikes up above as it was pretty icy on the trail snow. On the way down I stopped at a view point off the trail to tighten boots and strip a layer, I forgot my leather dog leash there when we left, it’s a good one if you care to have it. Got back way after dark, stumbling along the trail. The views when you finally get up there are terrific.

Two words... HEATED RESTROOMS. (Located at the trailhead). Great amenities for a chilly November morning!!! Arrived at 830am to an abundance of parking... Much fuller around 230pm when leaving... Only saw about 15 others total throughout the day. A few super respectful dog owners (Appreciated!!!)/trail runners and mushroom foragers (How PNW of them...). Overall easy hike with well maintained trails... Great views of the falls. A missed off-shoot did head us up a steeply inclined maintenance road... What's another 6 miles???

Very good views of the lake nestled amongst tree-lined peaks - well worth the hike. One of the rockier trails I’ve done, so sturdy soles are a must. It does get pretty slippery and icy close to the top. I had to bundle up as the wind picked up closer to the top, but then is cut off once you get through the switchbacks towards the lake. Overall, great hike!

Get there early. Excellently maintained trail. Great view from the middle.

hiking
2 days ago

This was our first hike in the PNW! We loved it! It was a little bit slippery at the top, thankfully we had read reviews and used microspikes, they made all the difference!
We really enjoyed it! and the view was amazing!

Great hike for the first two lower falls, the last one really is a killer for the stairs to get to the top falls!

Good walk through the woods. Very easy hike with such a good view of the lake.

Just do the bottom half of the trail.

hiking
3 days ago

Great hike, serene setting and landscape.

One of the best hikes I’ve ever done. Challenging but worth it. Road is washed out so it’s 2 miles to trailhead. From trailhead you climb 3000 feet in right over 3 miles. At 3.2ish you’ll reach virgin lake, it was frozen over today (11/17). From virgin lake it’s all downhill to Blanca lake, about 0.82 miles. Snow was packed down but yactracks and poles were super helpful.

Good hike. Can be muddy in areas. Very well maintained trail.

hiking
3 days ago

Just did this trail today. It was my sister and my 2 children ages 11 and 8 and they loved it! We did Ape Trail that was above ground and once we got done we walked back and then went underground. I’m not sure which one we did I’m seeing a lot of posts where people say they did the Upper Cave area but crawled and we didn’t crawl at all. It was an open area cave but pitch black. I used a head flash light and my cell light and my kids had their own lights as well. We didn’t finish the cave trail due to my son sprang his ankle . The terrain is very unsteady so watch your step. Other than that it was really fun and awesome. I’m definitely coming back but more in the spring or summer time. Happy Hiking!

We decided on this trail and we all enjoyed our time on the hike. Don’t stop at the lake keep following the trail and you will end up at a massive bolder you will want to see. Beautiful views make this a must do.. The falls are worth the extra steps.

hiking
3 days ago

Super crowded. But the spectacular view of the lake was worth putting up with the hordes of people.

Definitely a lot of potholes on Pilchuk Road, but the hike and the lake were beautiful. There were maybe 15 cars in the lot when we got there around 11 on a Saturday, but the trail wasn’t crowded by any means. You warm up hiking in the forest but it definitely gets cold when you’re at the lake and don’t have the tree cover. Like others are saying, the boardwalks along the lake were frosty but it was manageable. There was some snow at the lake (not on the trail itself) and the lake was iced over a bit. We saw a lot of younger children in rain boots that definitely were not enjoying themselves because there are a lot of rocks and tree roots that can be difficult to navigate at times.

Short 2mi. round trip hike. The bridges are a little slick during the Winter months. Beautiful hike and the cave is breathtaking! A child friendly hike.

hiking
3 days ago

Nice and long. Pretty steep and an amazing view on top. Just not that much to look at besides trees and a couple of streams on your way up

Great hike! It’s a long haul to the falls, but completely worth it!!

hiking
4 days ago

Great hike, not too hard but a decent workout. Some snow and ice at the top once near Snow Lake right now, if you have crampons on poles it’s not a big deal. The scenery was great, temperature wasn’t too cold, and not overly busy, worth the time.

Amazing old growth trail. I agree with the moderate rating because of the elevation gain and the difficulty of navigating the trail. Roots and rocks can be a big problem if you don’t pay attention. The reward at the lake is well worth the effort. Beautiful even on a cloudy day! I had the trail and lake to myself today. I ran into 4 people on the way down. I will return to this trail in the summer I am sure it’s even more stunning!

Wow!! That will be the reaction of 99.99% of people who do this hike, the other .01% are most likely crazy people. The magical, towering mountains around this mountain lake are simply breathtaking. It was a cold day with ice and a little snow in the higher elevations of the trail. The lake isn’t frozen over yet and the water still shows the bright blue color it’s known for. We clicked it at 8 miles round trip. Took us about 3 hrs up and 2 hrs back down. There is a few spots with fallen trees that you will need to go over or under. But overall the trail is very well maintained and easy to navigate.

on Rialto Beach Trail

hiking
6 days ago

Beautiful but surprisingly more difficult than expected due to being on sand and pebbles. Crowded but understandably so due to the views and starting right on the beach.

I'm only giving this trail a 2 because I took a wrong turn. Missed the lake trail completely, so, I can't really rate the lake trail.
The trail we did walk was well traveled and clear.
Heads up, you are supposed to have a Discovery Pass to park at the trail head.

the scenery is gorgeous, the air smells like christmas candles as you climb. First 3/4 of the trail are easy slow climb, after that it turns into more intense switchbacks. Very snowy and slippery at the top, so wear appropriate footwear. If you have removable krampons or hiking poles I would suggest those for the top portion as I saw lots of people fall and almost fell myself a number of times. I even saw a lady with a sprained ankle being carried down by her husband. Bring lots of layers so that you can take off as you ascend and then put back on as you descend. This time of year when we got to the top at 2:10 the sun was already set on the lake so get an early start, aim to be at the top for noon. Amazing view, so worth it!

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