Explore Weekend Trips - 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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hiking
10 hours ago

In town for work and decided to go hiking, 'cause you know, I could use some exercise. It is a tough hike if you are out shape. But, it is worth it. The parking lot, as everyone else mentions is packed. I got there around 8:30 and had to park about 20 yards down the road so there is a lot of traffic on the trail. Well worth it, though. If you are looking for good pics. later in the day is better to have the sun at your back for the views of the surrounding peaks. The trail goes around the lake but it can be lost at times so you may have to bushwhack it a little. While I may be walking pretty slow tonight and I look a little funny walking, the hike is worth it. Definitiely recommend it.

hiking
14 hours ago

Easily the best day hike near Seattle! We got there a little late in the day, around noon. The parking lot was full so we parked about half mile away from the trail head. The hike starts off easy, the first 1.5 miles are easy but beware of roots and rocks. Once you cross the Stuart and colchuck lake intersection, the trail gets a little harder. The last patch gets pretty rocky. The views are amazing! We went on a sunny day, although it was cold and windy near the lake. I didn’t think the hike was hard as such, more like a long moderate hike. Also, seems like the trail is longer than the distance on all trails. My tracker showed 9.8 miles out and back. This didn’t include the walk around the lake or the walk from my car to the trailhead. It took us 3 hours up and 2 hours back down. Amazing hike! Definitely go for it!

hiking
15 hours ago

Great post-Labor Day time for a hike, thought the lot was still just full when we arrived around 9:00.
TRAIL - Good steady uphill on a fairly rocky trail, but it is kept up perfectly given the obvious traffic this thing gets. As you can see from the recordings, the thing gets a little sporty at the end. I'm 55 and in okay shape, but my heart didn't get worked so hard I couldn't speak.
LAKE - crazy color to that water, even with overcast lighting. Lots of places to take some lunch and explore, with a great flat rock just left(south) of center when you get to the lake.
OVERALL - wonderful view, no bugs, cool weather; what's not to love

Amazing lake!!

Trail starts out pretty level and easy but quickly turns to rocks and stairs after the falls. We left the lot at 2pm and arrived at the top to see that the sun was behind the mountains and the lake entirely shaded. Plan to come back at sunrise to photograph the lake with sun. Super great hike

This is one of the best hikes in this area - and probably the best day hike. We did this along with Stuart Lake and the mountain views and the water color were breathtaking

Loved this hike! Probably one of my favorites in Washington so far. Got to the trailhead at 1030 on a Tuesday & the lot was only a quarter full.
It’s rated as hard for a reason, all up hill, but oh so worth it! Be sure to wear shoes with great grip because the entire trail is basically rocks covered in moss & moisture and the last .5 mile is muddy.
Can’t wait to go back in the winter to see this lake covered in snow!

so gorgeous!

Amazing hike, it should be on your list to do in Washington! There was a lot of amazing waterfalls, fallen trees, the mountains were breathtaking and Lake Serene was just gorgeous! I went on a rainy Sunday and it wasn’t very crowded, also it was easy to find parking (even if you go a little late).

Great view at the end because before you are surrounded by trees.

It’s okay, trail is pretty boring but steady until the last bit of climb. Falls are lovely.

We went there Labor Day a few days after the trail had reopened. Parking was abundant at 830 am. Trail was well maintained. Glad we stopped at Bridal Veil first otherwise I don’t think we would have stopped in the way down from Lake Serene. Both were very pretty breathtaking. Wonderful hike!

One of my favorite hikes in the PNW. It's a very popular trail, so get there early. Leave yourself at least 5 hours to complete the trail, but give yourself more time if you want to stay at the lake for a bit. Try to go on a sunny day as the water looks a brighter shade of blue in the sunlight.

This is an amazing hike worth every step. I highly recommend this trail.

hiking
10 days ago

This has to be one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever done! We did Stuart and colchuck in the same day. It was 12.5 miles total. Took about 8 hours with an hour stop to enjoy the views

Great trail. The trail starts out really easy until you reach the fork either to Bridleveil or Lake Serene. Choose wisely.... actually the dynamic are close to the same except the falls is a way shorter hike. When you head up to the lake the incline increases and switchbacks and big stair steps for a while. Worth the sore legs afterwards. I went to Serene first then the falls on the way down. There is bathrooms at the trailhead and the lake. The lake is beyond gorgeous. Got there at 5am of course no cars. Got back down around 11:30am parking lot was packed.

Beautiful! I’ve done the bridal veil falls many times, I very excited to do the lake trail this time. It was worth it for how hard the incline of stairs was! The water has an amazing emerald bluish color. And we hung out there for a while. I totally recommend it! My discover pass didn’t cover this area, must be a northwest forest pass!

Great hike. The last two miles up to the lake are a challenge, steep and very rocky, but there's enough points along the trail with fantastic views to keep you motivated. The lake itself, and the towering cliffs behind it, are spectacular and very worth the effort. We started at 8am and still had quite a few people up top with not much room at all along the water, so if you want to find a place of your own to sit and eat lunch, be prepared for for a little disappointment and plenty of human interaction.

Make sure you allow time for the breaks you might need on the incline switchbacks and the break you will surely want when you get to the gorgeous lake. Lunch Rock was a perfect spot to drink your wine and eat your lunch while viewing the snow packs, trees and jagged rocks reflecting off the lake.

hiking
18 days ago

Incline don’t miss leg day. Breath taking worth the hike.

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.

Awesome hike! Arrived at parking lot around 8:30 and it was 95% full. Started out on the trail around 8:45. They need one of those jumping deer signs as we scared up a couple of deer and they jumped! Watch out for the tree roots that seem to be alive. We stopped counting the number of times we tripped. The lake is gorgeous. The hike was tough (we are in our mid 50s), but very doable. We were out about 4 1/2 hours with a 30 minute break at the lake and picture breaks along the way.

The trail is open again and Lunch Rock is waiting for you.

Hiked today on Labor Day. lot was half full at about 8:30 am. Trail got gradually more packed as day went on. Despite the crowds, the trail and sites were great. Can’t beat hike given proximity to Seattle.

It is work getting to both the falls and then the lake, but anybody in reasonable shape and with patience and perseverance can do it.

Watch out for the bees!

Trail ran this today. Similar to what the other reviewer said, biggest regret was not bringing a tent. The basin is pretty awesome. Hard to describe and pictures don’t do it justice. Hike was smoke free, bug free. Super steep at times so be prepared to have your legs burning. Kind of like Mt . Si but 3 miles longer. First 2 miles are flat and easily runnable. Hiking poles and hiking shoes are a must. Trust me. I post photos of my hiking adventures on instagram under “adventuringKR”. One final note, this hike is 30 miles from cell service so download some offline maps and get a lot of gas before you get there.

hiking
21 days ago

Only regret is not bringing our tent. Take your time, and bring hiking poles if you’re unsteady on your feet. Plan on hanging out in the basin for a while!

hiking
21 days ago

We are staying in Leavenworth and it was a quick trip to the trail head. The road up was a bit rough on my fiesta, but doable. We parked in the first lot due to reviews. But we got there around 745 and it wasn’t too busy yet.

Overall it is one of the more scenic hikes I have been on. Gorgeous views. It took us a solid 1.5 hours to get up there with some fairly steep terrain.

Let me tell you, when you arrive at the lake, your mind will be blown. Just gorgeous. We jumped in and talk about...cold! But so worth it.

Very nice and extra hard trail however well worth the view all the way to the lake

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