Blanca Lake Trail is a 6.5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Index, Washington that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking and walking and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
The USDA site states: Drive US Highway 2 to just west of milepost 50 (located between the town of Skykomish and the Skykomish Ranger Station). Turn north onto Beckler Road #65, toward Beckler River Campground. From US Highway 2 on FS Road #65, drive 15 miles and turn right on FS Road #63. Continue for 1.8 miles and turn left at the junction for the entrance to Blanca Lake trailhead. Mile 12.5 from Highway 2 (Jack Pass) - *this is where everyone gets lost* You'll enter a circular intersection/clearing. You want to take the second left in order to continue on 65. (not the sharp left turn) There is a sign for 65 right at the start of this road (once you have already taken this turn correctly). Going straight gets you to a dead end quickly.
The only reason I am rating a 4 and not a 5 is because it's hard! I got to the location around 9 or 10, don't quite remember since I did the hike back in early September. First off, know that there isn't any set parking, you just have to park on the side of the road and there is a $5 parking fee that you put in the deposit box by the info board. I was surprised there was only 2 other people when we started, we arrived at the same time and there was no other vehicles. Anyway, as most people have said, the road leading up to the actual start of the trailhead is washed out so this adds an additional 2 miles to and from. This part is very easy. Once you hit the actual trailhead, it's not bad. I have a lot of endurance so I didn't actually start to get fatigued until about 1 mile before Virgin lake, this is the muddy swampy looking lake before you reach Blanca. YOU ARE NOT GOING THE WRONG WAY IF YOU SEE THIS. After this lake, I want to say it's about another mile, maybe a little more to reach Blanca and this is where it really starts to get difficult. There's lots of boulders going down to the lake and it can be kind of slippery because of the mud so be careful. Once you're here you feel so close, but it does feel rather lengthy, this was the worst part for me and I knew it would be a pain coming back up through here (it was). Once you see that turquoise blue water, it's truly amazing though. It seemed unrealistic. Try to get views from different angles of the lake; from a certain distance it looks absolutely beautiful. Close up too though :-)
I would definitely like to do this hike again, but if I did I would probably camp out, you are so exhausted by the time you actually get up there and the view is so stunning that having the time to be there and relax would've made it better.
Extra two miles to the trailhead due to the road being washed out. Challenging hike. Clocked the mileage at 12 round trip. The elevation gain was 2900ft and then 700ft descent to the lake. It was muddy and soggy in some spots, but the trail was actually in pretty good condition. Saw only 5 other ppl on the trail. Took us exactly 3 hours to get to the lake, about 2.5 to get down.
First of all, ignore the listed length of this hike. 6.5 miles is an inaccurate extrapolation of the present realities of this trail. The road to the trail head is washed out. There is some considerable length added to this hike. (My pedometer gauged 11.7 miles round trip.)
Once you actually make it to the trail head, be prepared for a switchback challenge for the better part of your day. This was a grueling hike, and worth every drop of sweat! The lake is impossibly beautiful.
Don't be daunted by the reality of this challenging hike, but be prepared to commit yourself for the better part of a day. I started at 7:30 AM, and made it back to my car at 4:30 PM. On the hike down, about 1/2 mile into the trail, I met a group of eager people, with smiles on their faces, asking me cheerfully if they were almost there. I just smiled sympathetically, and told them, "Good luck!" Make sure to be ready for a committed hike, with a view at the end which will definitely make it worth the trip!
beautiful lake!! wished it had a sign anoucing virgin lake, n just an extra sign to let u that u are almost at blanca.. sometimes i thougth i could have been going tje wrong way.. but over all beautiful hike, hard since its all uphill going towards blanca lots of rocks.
Too hard for us! But the view is very wonderful!
The view at the end is always worth it! Don't give up.
One my favorite hike!!! The lake is breathtakingly BEAUTIFUL!!!! I definitely got a good workout but it's totally worth it! The trail was slippery going down from virgin lake to Blanca lake. Trekking poles will definitely help. It's about 12 miles round trip due to road closure.
It is 11.5 miles, you have to park your car 2 miles before the trail starts which adds up total or 4 extra miles. It would be good idea to go on sunny day and start hike early. We went around 8:00am got at lake around 11:30am, only few small breaks and took 3 hours to come back. When we reached the lake it was mesmerizing.
Thinks to remember:
1.Take a lot of water and snacks with you. It is hard hike so stay hydrated.
2. Bug spray if needed we had it but did not use it because bugs were not too bad.
3. Go early to beat the heat and this hike requires $5 fees so Have some money and discover pass also.
4. Since it's not 7.5 miles be ready to do extra 4 miles. Total of 11.5miles
This hike was hardest hike for us so far but the view worth the hike. I would highly recommend to go there at lest once in life time. The view is breathtaking!!!
Good luck, you will love it.!!
Hiked 15 August 2016
about 12 total miles including the road. Went on a rainy/cloudy day so we did not get the glamorous reward at the top we had hoped for.
Best bang for your buck off Hwy 2. Always gorgeous.
My fitness tracker says we hiked for almost 15 miles. It's "2 miles" from the road to the trail, there and back that's 4 plus 3.5 each way on the trail that's 7+4= 11 miles. Not sure how we ended up hiking an extra 4 miles. Spectacular views from the top of the mountain, before you start descending into Blanca. Totally worth it, pictures do not do this place justice, they never do. It's a very beautiful lake, a hike I would do again.
very great hike !! i loved it just need to do 2 extra mile to the trail head since road closed