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The trail is very well maintained, lots of benches and break spots if ya need it! Did this hike early on a Monday and almost had the trail to myself! It was lovely!

Hiked Blanca Lake August 18th-19th. As you may have seen, the service road that leads to the trailhead is inaccessible (due to previous flooding) so the parking is on the side of the service road leading up to the area. In other words, don’t worry about parking because there’s plenty of room. Unfortunately, walking that service road to the trailhead is about 2 miles, which makes the total trip a clear cut 14 miles. Since I was planning on staying the night at the lake, I had about 25-30 pounds worth of gear in my pack and wow it made this hike so brutal. Essentially, the 3,900 feet of incline is really in the 5 miles of the actual trail, not the service road. It took my sister and I about 3 1/2 hours to get to Blanca Lake and still another 3 hours to get down back to the car the next morning. Once you reach Virgin Lake, you’ll start hiking down to Blanca Lake. Like other people have said, bring at least 2L of water if not more and make sure you have plenty of time to hike this trail. It’s gorgeous. Enjoy!

hiking
1 day ago

Beautiful lake, but it is too smoky now. I suggest hiking this trail when smoke clears. Lake is definitely very beautiful.

This sunday I could not get to the parking lot on my Nissan. Last 1/4 mile road was too bad for the regular sedan.
In addition, could not see anything because of the smoke.
So, I don't recommend to visit this place till rains begin and the smoke goes away.

hiking
1 day ago

$5 permit needed for parking. No issues finding parking at 4pm. Such a fun hike given variety of nature such as little creeks or a fallen tree blocking the path. Best of all is the reward of a beautiful lake at the top!

Definitely a rewarding hike. I loved it.. by far my favorite place.

The lake is just magical. Must return on a clear day.

Spectular views, mostly well accessible. Bit crowded at the beginning but the further up you get, there will be less people. It gets strenuous at times, but there are enough places to catch your breath and take in the scenery. Parking is difficult if you don’t start early. Bring enough water and snacks.

2 days ago

Beautiful!! Great hike, pretty views after the meadow. Seemed a lot longer then the posted mileage.

I’m 22, 5’1, 120lbs and I left my body and soul on the trail. This is hike is definitely difficult. It took my group and I about 3.5+ hours to get to the lake. I’d say this hike has 2 parts. The first part is the most intense, you’re going on a steep uphill for about 2 hours? It seems like never ending, never look up it’s discouraging. Bugs weren’t bad, weather was fine. The second part is when it plateaus a little then you go down hill for 1.5 hours? When you get to the lake go to the small little water fall on the left side of the lake it’s beautiful there. Water is cold.
Tip: WEAR GOOD SHOES. I wore running shoes and they were not comfortable throughout the trip
Bring at least 2L of water! You will be sweating tons
Enjoy the hike!

backpacking
2 days ago

Went up to Gothic Basin this past weekend and is sad to report back that almost every single campsite had a fire pit in a location where fires are prohibited. We disassembled some of them but was frustrated and angry to see that people have no respect for these fragile places that we are so lucky to go and for LNT principles. Please educate yourself before heading out there and leave places better then when you found it.

Loved it, get there early to get a spot and bring your Discover Pass. You can purchase a day pass in the parking lot for $10. Recommend walking sticks for the descent. Beautiful views of river and falls.
Air quality was good but a bit of a haze still lingered.

2 days ago

Wonderful day on the mountain. I'm old and slow so it took me 5 hours, lots of time to enjoy the scenery and photograph the flowers that were out. Started early, well before the crowds arrived. Highly recommended! even for you "creaky knee" set.

Great trail with lots of views- if you’re in pretty good shape give or take 3 hours with stops (took me 2.5 going clockwise with picture taking). If you have knee trouble or not a typical hiker, plan the recommended time. The first mile or so is high grade, but I feel it levels out nicely after that. No hairy spots, didn’t use poles. Great views of wild flowers and hoary marmots.

I’m a novice hiker and this was my second hike in the PNW so far. The views along the way made it really enjoyable the whole way.

Beautiful! Moderate hike, hard on some of the switchbacks and uphill parts (depending how much weight you’re carrying). Bring a lunch to eat on the lake with a gorgeous view. Definitely worth the hike!

Fantastic hike. You get to experience all sorts of terrain :) And no bugs whatsoever this morning. It was good knowing that most of the elevation gain occurred as you approach Hemlock pass. Consistent pace is the key.

Excellent. Hiked the entire distance in one day - started at Stuart trail , finished at Snow lake trail head. Took 15 hrs ( swimming stop and rest breaks) a bit scary hiking last 4-5 miles in the dark.
Beautiful scenic yet challenging hike. Thank you to my friend Kristen who organized this adventure !

Hiked 8/13.

Awesome hike and such a beautiful view. I definitely recommend swimming.

I got engaged by the lake when we got to the top. I’m pretty sure Andrew (from the comment below) took pictures of our proposal. The pictures are absolutely amazing! Thank you again, Andrew!

Great hike for families and young kids used to do hikes. Bring snacks and do a picnic

Only hiked up to the first set of falls. It's pretty chill the first half and steep the second, but there is neat scenery between the beginning and end, from the rocky river bed with a view if Rainier to the falls and the creek. It does get rather steep but we saw kids, elderly people and people with babies hiking it as well.

Nice easy to get to hike. A good amount of people and dogs however on a Thursday morning. Still very enjoyable.

Beautiful trail with great overlooks. You cross several bridges and there are 2 stream crossings, so waterproof shoes would be helpful (although not required for those with good balance that can move from rock to rock). Depending on your preference, moving counter clockwise on the trail will result in a more gradual, but longer climb, while going clockwise results in a steeper grade for a shorter time. We went clockwise and I would probably do that direction again. We came in July and some of the trail was still snow covered, but doable with standard hiking equipment.

This hike really impressed us. We were looking for something a little bit different than the usual mountain hikes were used to, so we decided to give this trail a try. We really enjoyed that the trail was unique, in that you’re quite literally traversing down a canyon adjacent to magnificent gushing water and waterfalls. We enjoyed the views most on the lower portion of the trail, and especially loved the ladders...just got a kick out of those! All in all, we loved it and would definitely do it again!

hiking
5 days ago

Awesome trail, but try to avoid it on weekends. It is literally the interstate of hikes.

backpacking
5 days ago

This trail absolutely destroyed my legs, went camping for 2 nights, Gorgeous scenery, but do not let the "light scrambles" confuse you. There were some parts where I should have hiked in a ladder. All in all the hike is beautiful but a very very strenuous all uphill/rock climbing hike

Even with the heavy smoke, this is an amazing hike! Super diverse and not very hard at all. Could have stayed in the meadows and the lookout all day long. Will definitely be back in early fall

One of the best hikes I’ve been on!

hiking
6 days ago

Hiked today, 8/15

I got up to the parking lot early, around 7:00am and was pleased to see the parking lot wasn’t busy at all. There were only two other hikers going up at the same time. I got to the top in 1 hr and 45 min. and my Garmin distance clocked it at 4.8 miles, so definitely a little longer than this distance says. Like a lot of other reviews, I’d say it’s more moderate than hard. There are some rocks you have to scramble over but it’s not too difficult. Weather was perfect in the morning. Views were blocked by the smoke from the fires but it was still beautiful. Highly recommend for a quick morning hike! Wish I would’ve kept going!

Absolutely beautiful hike with glimmering alpine waters, jagged snowy mountain tops and fluffy mountain goats. Beginner hikers may find it difficult because of the length and the rocky incline. The road to the trail has MANY potholes so be prepared for a bumpy ride! Get there before 8 on weekends because it gets busy!

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