Blanca Lake Trail

HARD 259 reviews
#1 of 3 trails in

Blanca Lake Trail is a 6.4 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, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
6.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3379 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

Blanca Lake Trail is a popular mountain trail through Wild Sky Wilderness and Henry M. Jackson Wilderness with fantastic views along the way. On a clear day visitors will be treated to great views of Glacier Peak and Columbia Peak across the valley as well as the peak of Monte Cristo once you reach Blanca Lake. The highest point of the trail is at Virgin Lake and then descends to the southern shore of the gorgeous blue lake below. Waterfalls feed the lake from the Columbia Glacier which also gives the lake its turquoise green color.

hiking
7 days ago

The view is amazing!

8 days ago

Super duper hard hike!!! Haha... Make sure you spray some bug spray or bring fly zapper. I almost got eaten alive from the flies. Great view at the end!

9 days ago

Breathtaking view

25 days ago

you'll probably need snowshoes after 3500 ft. saw some people that didnt have it but it would help a lot. i made it to peak elevation and tried to go down towards the lake but the descent was way too steep and there was still too much snow so i had to turn back with .3 miles left. the lake probably wont be accessible until mid to late july and yes for now u have to park 2 miles away from the th making this 10-11 miles in total. id say this is more difficult than mailbox

hiking
1 month ago

Didn’t know how hard this was or how far when I looked it up it ended up being like 10-11 miles because we had to walk to the trail head which was 4 miles I think but it ended up being so worth it at the end.

1 month ago

It was nice didn’t make it all the way to the top because of the snow did reach about 2500 feet, still fun doe, I recommend to go in like June, my buddy and I had to walk 4 miles to the trailhead, with camping gear and firewood!

hiking
1 month ago

Be Advised: Right now if you want to get to the lake you have to park at least a few miles out from the trailhead and you defiantly need snow shoes. I would give it another month or two before another attempt.

hiking
1 month ago

Punishing trail but very rewarding

hiking
4 months ago

One of the best in NW. Challenging hike all the way to the finish, but definitely wonderful Lake, glacier, and mountain peaks. Trail is well maintained, but on the top it gets confusing where to go for the first timers. You’ll pass a small lake to get to your destination.

4 months ago

very hard ,but on the end worth it

hiking
4 months ago

This was back in November so the access is not the same now. We were hoping for a snow shoe but the day before they broke trail and the weather changed so everything was crusty. It was just easier to use spikes. They werent even needed until about half way but I didnt use them until it was time to turn around and head back down. This hike is always incredible!

hiking
5 months ago

Breathtakingly beautiful.

hiking
6 months ago

No service when I got there so couldn't track online, but this trail is awesome and long for the winter trek. my brother and I hit this today for the first time, the extra 2 miles one way make for a full day. We weren't moving very fast but made it just before virgin lake on the ridge and started post holing through to our waist. We were pooped at that that moment (Not knowing how close we were to the lake of course) and didn't finish the last 3/4 mile or so. But we will definitely be back. somewhat reminded me of pratt mountain on the way up but can't wait to see this majestic lake finally someday!! all said it was an 8 hour trek total. intermediate time. definitely not advanced speed wise. snow shoes recommended if there's anymore snow for the final mile, micro spikes worked great until we got too deep. side note that I think is important. with the extra mileage due to the slide its actually 12 miles round trip so plan accordingly

hiking
7 months ago

With the extra 2mi each way to access the real trail head tacked on, this makes for a long day, especially in winter months with shorter daylight hours. We took it slow with a minor ankle sprain on the way back, so from parking lot back to parking lot with very little time spent at the lake we finished in almost exactly 8 hours. It's doable in 7-7.5hrs. About 18in of snow in the deepest spots, traversible with microspikes. Crampons give you a little more security especially since the recent rain/freezing rain is going to ice things up. Don't underestimate this trail in the weather and/or darkness. It has a tiny bit of exposure and some steep sections. Path is easy to follow, though. It'd need 12+ inches overnight with drifting to make this one hard to navigate because of the trudging it has gotten. Lake is stunning an has a serenity to it that makes the trek worth it. Sounds like there could be a nice little waterfall below the lake, but it'd be hard to get to with all the markoffs for restoration areas.

hiking
7 months ago

A little bit of snow up top that is starting to get icy just before virgin lake. Blanca Lake itself was clear.

hiking
7 months ago

Beautiful trail. We had it all to ourselves. The access road was closed which added 2 extra miles before/after hike but they were an easy 2 miles so if you have the time I'd still say it's worth it. A little melty snow up top but nothing to make it too difficult. Did the trail last Friday.

hiking
8 months ago

FS Road #63 is currently closed to traffic, so you need to add 1.8 miles each way to this hike.
Beautiful lake.

hiking
8 months ago

This was one of my favorite hikes of all time. I went on a hot summer day and jumped in the lake with some friendly fellow hikers I met at the top. It's a good one for experienced hikers.

9 months ago

Very beautiful lake. my fitbit calculated 14 miles round trip that includes the 2 miles each way due to washout. very hard hike inclines the entire way til Virgin Lake then its a mile down hill to Blanca Lake. the lake is breathtaking and worth the hike. bring lots of water and power foods. towards the top its pretty rocky so be prepared for that. not a hike for small children.

9 months ago

Hiked this on Sept 17. Hike was hard but fun. We had 12 miles total, from the base of FS 63 down to the lake. It was raining lightly for most of the afternoon so the trail was slippery but there were no bugs. The lake was beautiful, worth the effort. The downside of this hike was the long walk along the FS road to get to the trail head and the lack of views.

hiking
9 months ago

Beautiful!

hiking
9 months ago

I've done this hike twice now, and it's still stunning both times!

Last I went, my group left around 6 am (from Lynnwood). I think we started hiking by 7:30 and got to the trailhead by 8:30 because of the washout that adds 2 miles to the hike (and 2 miles back).

Be mindful of the elevation! It starts steep, and doesn't level out until you're near Virgin Lake (which appears to be a big mud puddle). Bring lots of water, especially if you have dogs with you, and I'd say leave early because the elevation is pretty killer and you'll want those breaks. Also, I'd recommend to bring some bug spray because they tend to pester you for a while.

Once you pass Virgin Lake, it's a steep downhill for 20-30 min to get to Blanca. The water is super cold but super worth it! We got there around 11:30 and stayed until 1:15. On the way back, be mindful again of how steep it is, you might get some sore knees which some hiking poles might help with.

Got to the car around 4 with the last two miles being exhausting. Having been on the hike before there was the washout and the extra 4 miles, I can definitely confirm that it makes a huge difference!

hiking
9 months ago

I hiked Blanca with my Alaskan Klee Kai last summer. Unfortunately, we didn't make it to the lake because she tuckered out (we hiked 12 vs 14 miles) and started to overheat. We would have made it if the trailhead wasn't closed. Didn't help that it was a hot day. Hoping to give this another try before the end of summer.

hiking
9 months ago

it's hard but beautiful and worth it!

hiking
9 months ago

This hike gets five stars on here due to the pristine color and backdrop provided by Blanca Lake. Its really quite funny to see people post information about being surprised of the length of the hike due to the road closure. Its been this way for a while, long enough that reading reviews online will have that information. If your going to hike be aware of where you are going and what you are walking into.

This hike is hard, but not as hard as many of the reviews make it out to be. Yes, it takes time to make it up and over the ridge until you head down to the lake but as many of the reviews say its worth it. Bring water, yes its heavy at 8# per gallon but you will need almost a gallon per person for this hike to stay properly hydrated.

There are berries at the top of the hike just before you hit Virgin Lake. There are some by the lake but they arent as tasty. The stream is some what easy to cross at this time as well but some self confidence is required.

Please take your trash with you when you leave as well to keep this area looking great for the others behind you.

hiking
9 months ago

One of the prettiest lakes I've ever laid my eyes on. The hike is not easy but it's worth it!

hiking
9 months ago

AllTrails says it's 6.5 miles and WTA says it's 7.5. Neither are correct because the road to the trail head is closed. It adds 4 miles to the round trip since you have to first walk a 2 mile road to the trailhead. We measured this at 11.5 miles. Awesome lake and delicious blueberries at the top!

10 months ago

did this hike two years ago and remembered being traumatized by how difficult it was-- looking at the stats i now realize why! so much elevation gain in so little mileage- but the lake at the top is truly beautiful and breathtaking. you might complain all the way up but it all pays off!

Hard but worth it.

10 months ago

This was a brutal hike but I am not in the best of shape, AND my 10 and 11 year old daughters made it up with less whining than myself... So I would say it's definitely worth the brilliant beauty at the top! Great workout!

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