Explore the most popular camping trails in Alpine Lakes Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

backpacking
6 days ago

We did this hike with a group of friends over Labor Day weekend in 2017. It was a long difficult hike with many repeating elevation gains and drops but the journey and the views along the way were well worth it. It was deep into fire season and the Jolly Mountain fire closed the roads to the southern trailhead to Jade lake. We ended up starting our trip from the northern side of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. We were fortunate in that the winds were blowing south and we didn’t hike in smoke. There were plenty of streams along the way for fresh water and about halfway to Marmot lake we picked wild huckleberries to recharge as we hiked. After spending the night on Marmot lake we hiked/climbed our way up to Jade lake. It was great to do this hike for our first backpacking trip but it was exhausting and did not come without blisters and a few missing toenails.

6 months ago

Great, rocky hike! I went on Tuesday and arrived at 11:30. My dog and I made our way up to snow lake alright (dog + scrambles = struggle) but had a tough time on the descent towards the lake: beware of ice. Thank you to whomever did that!

We got to gem lake by around 2:30. Wasn't super impressed and if you're tired at snow lake, I would recommend just turning back. If you want a nice challenge definitely do the extra mile! I honestly would not have found just the hike to snow lake challenging, but the hike to gem lake was beautiful, confusing at times, and pretty challenging at the tail end! We got back to the car by 4:30 for a total of 5 hours. I took breaks infrequently and did not take long at either lake, but I was slowed down by my dog on the way back due to all the rocks.

hiking
6 months ago

This hike was nice with the exception of the crowds. I tend to avoid hiking along I 90 due to these crowds but its been a long time since I have done this hike. I dont think I ever went all the way to Gem Lake though. I dont think the hike is hard as they say as it feed constant with the elevation gain. There were way too many people for a late October weekend even if it was sunny. I would really hate to be here in the summer. With all the people it was very time consuming returning to the car. The trail was good with only a few patches of ice today. Great hike for families, newbies and apparently those in sneakers. I wouldnt return due to the crowds as there are so many other places to go. Its worth the trip if you can avoid the crowds. Dont be a weenie and only go to Snow Lake, continue on to Gem Lake as its the best of the two.

on Gem Lake Trail

7 months ago

Originally we went to snowlake but decided why not let try gem... I enjoyed the other side of snowlake and the light dusting of now was a nice surprise!!! 10/8/17

hiking
7 months ago

a beautiful hike!! Some very big trees along the way to keep you company :)

This trail offers a nice way to avoid the crowds in Icicle Creek Canyon. The later sections of the trail could use some brush control so likely not a good choice for a wet day (like mine was).

hiking
7 months ago

9.2 miles total. New to Washington and Washington hiking, but I have done close to a dozen hikes in this state and this hike was for sure my favorite. I think the fall colors made it. Also, I would say the hike to gem is overall moderate, not hard. I went off the trail a few times by accident on my way up to gem, but when I referred to AllTrails I was able to find my way back to the trail. I was able to stay on the trail during the descent.

This trail is 13.6 miles round trip, not 10.6. The last mile and a half is rough.

hiking
7 months ago

Well worth extending from Snow Lake for. Gorgeous.

backpacking
7 months ago

Hiked into Gem Lake for an overnight backpacking trip, it was cold, misty, with cloud bands moving in and out constantly Monday, Tuesday morning we awoke to bright sunshine just pushing up over the ridge and heavy dew. We fished unsuccessfully for awhile before making the push out to the parking lot. Tough hike - but well worth the effort as the reward is stunning scenery.

Great moderate day hike. Definitely worth going past snow lake and making it to Gem Lake.

hiking
7 months ago

Beutful hike , it is very hard to Gem lake but well worth it

Colchuck is worth the hike; Stewart is a good hike, but not as breathtaking. Definitely hike to Colchuck first and if you have time add Stewart. A steady incline for the first half of the trail, the trail to Colchuck proves much more difficult. Just take it one step at a time and the view will be your reward. The road to the trail is very bumpy, but manageable for high clearance cars. Go slow! Tennis shoes will suffice, I highly advise to not wear flip flops or sandals, it would be easier to pack a towel and dry your feet.

walking
8 months ago

Mile 1-2 challenged my will on this trail. It's not very scenic. But, once you get passed that, it's a more scenic and decent slow uphill climb until you begin to ascend the pass. The meadows and pass area are beautiful. During our hike, the nearby forest fire somewhat limited our view. However the backside of the pass and on up to Edna was clear and worth every step.

hiking
8 months ago

A short scramble from Gem Lake. The turn off from Gem Lake is not marked, but there is an obvious trail on the NE side of the lake that leads to some campsites. Past the campsites there is a boot path leading up the east side of Wright Mtn. I lost the path in a few places once reaching the talus slopes but there were a few cairns to keep me heading in the right direction. Great 360° views from the top including Chair and Kaleetan Peaks towering over Snow and Gem Lakes.

a lot of up and down along this trail. We did it backwards but it was a great hike.

hiking
8 months ago

Less crowded than Snow Lake.

backpacking
9 months ago

The trail isn't too rough for the first few miles. My husband and I went up to Tuck lake for one night, then headed out to Marmot for our second. At one point you hike fairly far down into a meadow covered with flowers and other flora. There are plenty of little streams to get water from if you need it. The hike up to Marmot is a little tough (maybe harder in our minds because we had done a difficult hike the first day of our trip). There are plenty of campsites at Marmot. There were around 8 groups camping comfortably there during our stay. We saw some prints that looked like they belonged to a large cat of sorts, so we used the buddy system if either of us needed to use the "restroom" at night. The hike to jade is pretty difficult. My phone says it was about 5.5 miles round trip, but half of it you are climbing up rocks. Follow a dirt path all the way around Marmot lake to the edge. From there, you'll start climbing rocks and following cairns on the way. The cairns do a great job of marking the path, so keep an eye out for them. Jade lake has about 3 campsites, and No Name lake has 2 or so. You can't beat the view and pictures do not do the color of the lake justice. Highly recommended!

hiking
9 months ago

My friend and I hiked this on Sunday. Advanced trail for me. (First hike). But was so great and worth it when I completed it! Of course we had to jump in the lake. It was extremely cold!! We thought it was poorly mapped. Weren't many signs to tell you which way to go.

backpacking
9 months ago

Gem and snow lakes were beautiful, and barely any bugs! We were prepared for swarms but did not see even one mosquito

If I could live here in the summer I would!! One of my most favorite places to be!

9 months ago

Beautiful trail! Not sure how we accidentally went on the Source Lake detour and that was alittle scary and added mileage. Bugs were fierce. Bring lots of water as it's hot AF!

Great hike for the summer. Not that many people on it for Saturday which adds to the serenity.

hiking
9 months ago

Gorgeous lakes and the trail is in excellent condition. Not even a hint of snow but a lot of bugs, so please carry a bug spray. Happy hiking!

The last bit is a bit hard, but the lake and the surroundings are just awesome.

Had a great two-day, one-night trip here! Bugs are a bit bad on the route, but aren't present at waptus lake. There were many great campsites and good solitude at waptus lake.

Absolutely stunning views. There's a few lookouts near the top that will have your jaw dropping. I would love to actually do this hike when there's more snow on the mountains bc I know it'd be beautiful. The alpine lake gem appearing through the trees will have you reeling and sprinting to see the full view. The water looked so incredible my friend and I had to swim in it! Yes it was freezing (at first), and beyond worth it. Nothing like looking out at Aasgard from the middle of the lake!

on Malachite Lake

hiking
10 months ago

Awesome hike to a beautiful alpine lake. There was no snow on the trail but still some on the mountains which was cool. Definitely bring bug spray!

10 months ago

This hike is a pretty good climb after Trout Lake but the journey to the top is worth it. I went to Copper Lake first and there were many groups of people. I went back to the fork and took the trail to Malachite (planned doing both lakes regardless of people). To my surprise, not a soul in sight and the lake was spectacular. Highly recommend

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