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Blanca Lake Trail

HARD 565 reviews
#1 of 4 trails in

Blanca Lake Trail is a 13 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Index, Washington that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 13.0 miles Elevation Gain: 3,904 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

bird watching

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

scramble

snow

The road leading to the trailhead seasonally closes. Please check with the park for more information. 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. Before last year there was a road leading directly to the trailhead. That road has since washed out and there no plans to fix it. Visitors must park outside of the closure and walk 2 miles to the trailhead. The "new" trailhead is reflected accurately on the map shown here.

hiking
muddy
snow
1 day ago

Hiked yesterday and braved the rain. Well worth being soaked for five hours! Virgin lake has frozen over giving it a magic look, and Blanca is even more stunning. The trail is 95% snow free, with a small amount of snow along the ridge line. Brought spikes but didn’t use them as there was enough traction on the snow. Fairly steep trail from the get go and a good workout! Fairly few people on trail because of the weather but I imagine this trail will get busy again in summer now that the road to the trailhead has opened back up again. Important! —> follow the WTA driving directions not the ones posted on here. Total mileage now the road is open: 7.7miles, 3300feet gain.

hiking
muddy
3 days ago

Glad I had waterproof hiking boots for this hike.

hiking
muddy
9 days ago

Use the directions from WTA to get to the trailhead. This is a beautiful lake! Difficult hike and gets down to business right at the start. It’s about 8 miles round trip and 3500 ft of elevation. Trail is muddy in parts and some snow at the ridge but nothing that you can’t traverse with good hiking shoes. Carried traction but never used it. The views at the top are unbelievable. It’s one of the prettiest lakes I’ve ever seen!

closed
10 days ago

Index Galena Road is closed at mile 6.5. It will add an extra 18 miles round trip to get to the trail. How did people get to the trailhead yesterday lol. Edit: Yes you will have to take Beckler River river road from Skykomish instead of from Index.

hiking
muddy
snow
17 days ago

Finished the hike in 4 hours, the lake was beautiful! There was snow at the top of the ridge but nothing we couldn’t get through in our trail running shoes.

hiking
icy
muddy
snow
17 days ago

It was a beautiful day at the lake got a late start. trial head parking was full parked down there road before the bridge. The trail is in good condition little patches of mud past virgin lake. also snow and ice before virgin lake. lots of traffic on the trail. see a few late hikers coming up (3:45pm) asked them if they had headlamps seeing as the sun would set in little over an HR. a lot of people didn't have any type of light other then a phone. a few turned back others just pushed on. road to the trail head is full of potholes so be careful

hiking
icy
muddy
snow
17 days ago

DO NOT use the Directions link from All Trails. Use the directions on WTA for FR65, Beckler River Road. Road to the TH is open and has some sections with a lot of potholes close together. Pay attention and go slow in those areas, and should be ok for any vehicle. Arrived at the TH about 830 with plenty of space to park. Once the trail starts to really ascend at the switchbacks, it is pretty much up up up till the top, with few short flat breaks. Snow begins to cover the trail close to the top and continues just past Virgin Lake. Spikes and poles definitely helped. Spotty snow/ice down to Blanca, but doable without traction. Spikes helped with the ice right around Blanca. It wasn’t as freezing cold on the hike or at Blanca as I expected. Lots of people on the trail midday, and the parking was quite full with cars parked down along the road by the time we returned. About 8 mi round trip, 2.5hrs up, 2hrs down, moderate pace. Great hike!!

hiking
icy
snow
18 days ago

hiking
18 days ago

The road is open and in great shape. Some potholes on the way in but the last two miles to the trailhead are great. Trail is in good shape. Snow and ice are there up on the top maybe 1/2 before Virgin Lake and spotty on the way down to Blanca Lake but not bad. Trekking poles are a good idea and/or microspikes. Today was perfect up there. Probably overdressed for the hike as temps weren’t too cold and no wind to speak of.

hiking
icy
muddy
snow
19 days ago

Sheets of ice near Blanca Lake (at the end of the trail). Would highly recommend microspikes. Road open to trailhead, busy parking lot on November 2nd. Took about 6 hours total, and GPS measured about 3.75 miles to the first viewpoint (so 7.5 miles roundtrip), but the end of the trail isn't far past this. After the switchbacks, the trail goes *down* to Blanca Lake, so be prepared for some uphill on the way back.

hiking
muddy
rocky
snow
24 days ago

Road to the trailhead is open now. Great hike. Snow up on the ridge near Virgin Lake, but snowshoes were not required.

hiking
closed
muddy
snow
1 month ago

The road to the trail head is done but the gate is still closed. The road adds 4 miles round trip to the 12 miles out and back of the trail. As of yesterday there was very minimal snow at the top but a lot of mud. We didn’t need to use our poles or micro spikes but it was good to have them incase. This hike was very long with a lot of switchbacks and became a mental game after a while. There’s no real views on the climb up but the lake views are worth it!

hiking
snow
1 month ago

snow starts about a mile up the trail. we made it about .3 miles from virgin lake when we lost the trail due to too much snow. Might be done for the season unless you have proper snow gear and really know the trail. I've been up before but did not feel comfortable continuing today unfortunately. According to a ranger I talked to road to the trail head should be open by 10/11. We took mountain bikes today was great on the way down!

hiking
muddy
rocky
snow
1 month ago

Amazing. got caught in the snowstorm saturday night and camped out up top. it was a winter wonderland in the morning. Pretty strenuous hike and really muddy up top. Road that is closed looks done. will probably be open soon. cannot camp on blanca lake but you can camp on the ridge and before the sign that says day use area. bring water proof shoes or boots in inclement weather. it gets messy.

hiking
snow
1 month ago

It was definitely a workout but not too bad. We did 3 hours and 30 mins and spent almost 2 hours around the beautiful lake. The trailhead is reopened, so don’t afraid to drive in. Safe you total 4 miles trip!!

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