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.

hiking
1 day ago

By far the best hike I’ve done, to date. You get the benefit of seeing both Snow and Gem lake along with a stunning vista of both once you get to the mountain top. You also cross several streams along the way that cascade over tiered levels of rock. The scramble up from Gem Lake to the summit can be a challenge due to the path not being obvious at times. The same goes for tracking the path back down.

Did this hike in a full day in the middle of October. The fall colors made the landscape even more breathtaking. We went first to Colchuck Lake and it seemed the best way to go for this trek. We started the hike at 8:50 and came back to the car at 18hs (given that we spent about one whole hour just enjoying the view at Colchuck Lake). If you like to take pictures, I would advise to check the time the sun sets behind the mountains so you ensure your great shots at both lakes.

hiking
10 days ago

Hiked 10/05/18 from Colchuck Lake to Horseshoe on my last permit day before leaving that evening and I will never regret it. It started snowing as I got closer to Lake Stuart and didn’t stop for my whole ascent/descent. From the trail head, enjoy the insane levels of day hiking foot traffic on the the very abused main section... before the Stuart/Colchuck junction. After the junction, the trail is very plush until you reach southern extents of the Jack Creek burn just before you start the last major uphill ascent. 1,000,000 logs are down everywhere, and there is still relatively little vegetative cover on the scorched soil. The trail is in desperate need of maintenance in the first part of the climb and you will have trail finding issues. The key is to remember that the climb mostly follows the major drainage on that section of the side slope. This is more obvious when you are descending. This is not a hike for inexperienced users. You must have well honed way-finding capability. Reading the landscape is crucial to help reduce human impacts in this area while it is in the process of healing. It is almost appalling that a bigger effort has not been made by the Forest Service to minimize human related impacts here. Isn’t that why we pay for the overnight lottery?

backpacking
11 days ago

Definitely worth going to extra distance to Gem Lake from Snow Lake. Very pretty and a good place to stop for lunch.

This was a great hike. We camped at Trout Lake and did a day hike up to Copper and Little Heart Lakes the next day (why haul a 20+ pound pack all the way up there). Camping at Trout was so quiet and the ground so soft we couldn't even hear others walking by on the trail - side note, it was so quiet that you also couldn't hear someone walking up to the toilet, when you happened to be sitting on it, until you made awkward eye contact. We quickly learned to use our poles to signal that someone was up there. The hike up to Copper followed a huge (tall) waterfall and wasn't nearly as open or rocky as I expected. Based on other reviews i thought we'd be bouldering up and was preparing myself for that (ptsd from hiking up Aasgard's pass probably). It was rocky but nothing you couldn't just step over. No bugs to worry about, and only saw a few chipmunks and a couple of very upset, territorial squirrels. All in all, a really great weekend hike.

Beautiful fall day with peak colors over 5,000 feet.

hiking
22 days ago

This was a beautiful hike with incredible views from start to finish. Definitely areas that were a bit challenging but well worth it.

hiking
23 days ago

This is a great hike and tough. You have to do this when it is sunny and their is zero wind to get that glass like reflection on the lakes. It’s amazing to see glaciers so low in elevation and feeding into a freshwater lake that is so clear and tinted blue. Tons of camping sites to around gem and snow lake. Wish I had the time to camp. The other leading up to wright mountain is a sign that says “camp site”. Follow it and it will lead you to the summit. Path is pretty steep leading up to Wright mountain but the views are awesome allowing you to see both gem and snow lake.

You should do Colchuck Lake first because its much steeper (and much prettier) than Stuart Lake. Also, the actual distance of covering both lakes is at least 12 miles.

Well it's a good thing that I love the rain. My toggs and trekking poles were the hands down winners for needed hiking accessories on this trip. I'll be back next July to get some better pictures pics from the summit. The flag at the top of the mountain was a nice touch.

Hey thanks Eric, It was nice meeting you. I'm really glad we ran into each other at the top.

backpacking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike. Stayed one night at marmot and went up to jade as a day hike. Heading up to jade is definitely worth it!

hiking
1 month ago

This hike have great and amazing views of the lakes but it’s very rocky all the way up to Gem Lake. I do recommend to go early in the morning to get a good parking and also to avoid a lot of the day hikers. I started at 08:30am and there’s not many people at that time. Once I passed Snow Lake, I’ve only seen a few people on my way to Gem Lake. And most of them are coming back from camping. Once I got to Gem Lake, there’s only a few people there (I counted 5 to include myself). I stayed for half an hour and enjoyed the quietness of the nature. I completed the hike with a moving time right under 5 hours. I could’ve finish it earlier but there were a lot of people going the other direction :( So, yeah. My recommendations: Early start, good hiking shoes, and drinking water

hiking
1 month ago

Ended up stopping at Gem lake instead of going the wrest of the way up to Wright. It was a cloudy day but the lake was beautiful. Not many people but before all of that you come up to snow lake. That’s where it was packed.

Highly recommend making it up to Jade in one day if you can manage it. The views are much more dramatic from the top and although there are only 6 “defined” campsites, there is plenty of primitive flat-ish ground for a tent. Thankfully didn’t have to deal with any mosquitoes! Wonderfully beautiful hike!

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike up to Trap lake. Made it up to ridgeline above trap lake only. Trail was a little beat up and slick in parts. I was behind time and had to turn around. It looked like I still had about 2 miles to go and I was 6.5 miles in. I would expect about 14 miles round trip. Views of trap lake was stunning.

Pretty lake, trail is pretty rocky so good footwear is key

Did the hike from Marmot to Jade Lake as a day hike and I'm glad we did! The boulder field was a beast to navigate without a pack, I can't imagine if we'd had ours with us. We saw plenty of people camping at Jade and No Name though, so it's definitely doable!

You really feel like you are in the mountains. From tunnel creek trail to Surprise lake. It’s up and down and the views are just amazing. You want to make sure you go on a sunny day with views. The toughest part of the trail was the beginning to the first lake. Warming up with elevation. After that the trail is smooth. We seen 4 lakes total. With mountain peak views, Boulder fields, meadows, some forestry areas with old growth. Probably my favorite trek I have done. I wished I would have stayed a night or 2.

hiking
1 month ago

Really good hike, good milestones along the way including Snow lake and Gem Lake. I started hiking at 7:30 and finished around 2. The morning was great even though chilly because the trails were empty. On my way down the last Snow lake stretch of the trail at 1:30, there were so many people they were all stuck in single file lines trying to make it down. Also don't leave your trekking poles at home if you are looking to summit Wright, it gets incredibly steep at some points and you need poles or you will be crawling.

Did this hike as a three day backpacking trip and loved every minute of it. Hike in and camped at Marmot Lake for two nights and then did Jade Lake as a day hike.

The trail was somewhat busy and crowded for Labor Day weekend (we met a ranger on our way up to Marmot and she told us that she counted at least 90 people camping there) but the lake is large enough and the campsites are spread out enough that when we set up camp, we saw maybe half a dozen people nearby.

All in all, weather was great (it did drop to the 30s at night, so come prepared for cold!), we saw maybe a handful of mosquitoes (but they weren't bad), and there were enough people on the trail to follow that the boulder fields weren't too difficult to navigate! Also, we saw dozens of pikas! The only downside to a busy trail is that not everyone followed the Leave No Trace policy. We saw a bag of excrement next to the trail near Jade Lake as well as some other trash along the trail. Just a reminder that there are backcountry toilets at both Jade AND Marmot Lake and, if you're bringing something into the backcountry, please pack it out.

hiking
1 month ago

Very busy. Once you get passes snow lake, it’s less busy, but not by too much. Gem lake is gorgeous! Tons of places to camp and take a quick lunch.

backpacking
1 month ago

Did this hike with 1 night stay at Marmot Lake and day hiked to Jade. Rocky trail, but so worth it. Bugs were not bad. Encountered foggy weather and slight showers. No snow on trails. Fallen trees are only after Marmot lake.

Fantastic trial, views, all of it. NOT a "hard" rating, definitely moderate instead. First 2mi to the lake are the hardest and then 1mi after that it becomes much easier and the views along the way are going to keep you excited and energetic. We saw a marmot (they're huge!), heard pikas (cute) and made friends with lots of cute dogs.

backpacking
1 month ago

Wow. What an awesome time. I hiked out there just me and my dog for an overnight yesterday! I will say backpacking it was tough. I probably could have went with a little less but realistically I used everything I brought outside of extra food. This trail is a bit rough at first then evening out into a refreshing walk through some fields(3) then gradually getting more difficult. Divided into 3rds the final is the hardest. It begins going up past the Trap lake trail where switchbacks begin. Once at the top you will duck into some timber crossing a ridge then straight up the face of a timber covered mountain. Now that you’re at the top of that you will navigate through 3 boulder fields and over three ridges before you crest into the basin. Pay close attention to the stacked rocks as you might find it difficult crossing the fields. You will find snow melting away into a stream for water if you need it before the final push to the lake! We went all the way to the lake at the top at Thunder mountain. It is stocked with fish since 2014! Pretty great feeling having dinner at last watching fish jump right in front of my tent! Even with the smoke it was still worth every bit. Happy trails guys be safe!

Found out about this hike on Instagram and decided to drive 4 hours to hike it. Well worth the time and money because the view of the lake, and the color of the water, is breathtakingly beautiful! Planning on going back!

Awesome lake, this trail can be rough if you're backpacking it. The last mile and a half can be confusing but someone made rock towers to follow which makes it easier.

Lovely trail! It is appropriately labeled as " moderate" due to some steep, rocky areas with loose rocks. Hiking poles recommended. Saw some out-of-shape people struggling and not having a good time...The trail was well marked and not too heavy with traffic. Probably good for out of town guests who want a hike close to Seattle with a nice payoff at the end. Bring bug spray!

I hiked southbound July 13th in two days. Started at 6 a.m. and set up camp at Deep Lake around 6 p.m. Decided last minute to take the Goldmyer Alternate route and finished up at Alpental late in the evening in day 2.

I do this Section a couple of times each year and am amazed at the great condition of the trail. A great big thank you to all those volunteers that do the hard work keeping the PCT safe and in good condition.

This was the earliest I have done this section and the snow was present in many areas, but very manageable. I also tend to camp at Deep Lake each time out and tolerate the mosquitoes. Lot’s of bug spray and am thinking of passing by next time to avoid them.

Great couple of days of solitude. Just what I needed.

backpacking
2 months ago

Beautiful lake. Went up for one night. Very limit camp sites. Lots of people

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