My husband and I have been hiking this trail for at least 20 years. It's one of my favorites but unfortunately has become so high in traffic it feels like we're in a mall. I would recommend this for people who don't really want to go hiking. It's easy, crowded and there's no chance you'll see any wildlife. You may see a jerk drinking beer and listening to their iPod without headphones...
Natalie H. on Talapus Lake Trail
This is a great little hike for all capability levels.
Beautiful small alpine lake backed by Cape Horn. Long hike to get there but the views are worth it. If you plan to hike only as far as Edna, I highly suggest climbing the short rocky trail up to the saddle on Cape Horn for amazing views west toward Ladies Pass
Long hike with plenty of elevation gain. Easy first mile until you cross Chatter Creek the first time and then the elevation gain kicks in. The last couple of miles up to the ridge/pass are very rocky but excellent views of Grindstone Mountain if you decide to drop down down the other side of the ridge I suggest trekking on to the Lake Edna area. The views from the ridge above Lake Edna towards Ladies Pass are gorgeous.
Stunning lakes backed by rocky peaks. I started at the Tunnel Creek TH and hiked up to the PCT junction. From there headed south to Trap Pass. From the pass there is a boot path heading south that starts through the trees before quickly breaking out onto a rocky ridge that leads all the way to the lakes. Just a couple of small snow patches that are easily crossed. If you lose the trail just follow along the ridge and you will eventually pick it up again. Several scrambling opportunities at the lakes such as Nimbus Peak, Thunder Mountain, and Thor Mountain. A few weekend backpackers were heading down as I was heading up so only a few people remained at the upper lake. One of my favorite hikes this year
Section J is a trail for in-shape, experienced hikers. They're not kidding when they say that it's over 13,000 feet of elevation gain and 12,000 feet of elevation loss. This part of the Cascades is very verticle. You'll encounter a lot of switchbacks, scree, tree fall, and overgrown trail. Along with this is the most amazing scenery anywhere on earth. There is plenty of water, even in drought. Use a filter for lake water, but streams are clean above trail. You'll see glaciers, animals, beautiful wildflower fields, and deep forest.
Went out fairly early this morning. Was misty when we left home and we just hoped for the best.
As others mention, the road going out to the trail head had quite a few potholes. Without a truck your drive is going to take a lot longer. As mentioned in other reviews, give yourself an hr from north bend.
Trailhead only had one other car and we never saw the other hikers the entire time we were out!
So...as for the trail itself. Well, it never stopped raining and we were stupid and unprepared; in more ways then one :)
First...no rain gear at all, but it wasn't that cold and the first half of the hike has fairly heavy tree cover...rain wasn't a huge concern but we did get wet. What really killed us...we haven't gotten into hiking shape this year and the first half of the trail is almost a continuous uphill climb on uneven and sliding river stone. I have never been so tired in my life. With those rocks, uphill and down, you can't even pay attention to the surroundings, only to the trail directly underfoot. Makes for a tiresome walk uphill.
Finally after a few crossings we made it off of the river rock and into some more forest and into the "Fern Gully"...great views even when socked in by low clouds. Believe the guides that state that if the ferns are wet, you will get wet...YOU WILL. We got drenched. After making it through the ferns we made the decision to call it for the day as we were both dripping wet and didn't think it wise to be so exposed and continue on for approx half more of the hike.. Return was uneventful...except for those stupid river rocks.
TLDR; Way out on a dirt road with big potholes. Trail is steep with loose rock. I need to get back in shape. I WILL be back this season to conquer you Bare Mountain. Beautiful and quiet