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Blue Lake Trail

MODERATE 341 reviews

Blue Lake Trail is a 5.3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Stehekin, Washington that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until November.

Distance: 5.3 miles Elevation Gain: 958 feet Route Type: Out & Back

kid friendly

fishing

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

snowshoeing

walking

bird watching

running

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

bugs

rocky

snow

no dogs

A moderately easy and extremely beautiful hike through sub-alpine forest to a iridescent blue lake with water as clear as gin. Sit and watch the native cutthroat trout feed as you sit atop one of many boulders that line the lake's banks. As so many trails like it along the North Cascades Highway, Blue Lake is brimming with majesty. Dense old growth forest butts against new growth of the last century. These trees line your path for the majority of the walk, occasionally opening just enough to reveal prominent landmarks like Liberty Bell and Winter Spires from unique angles. Once at the end of the trail you are welcomed by a sub-alpine lake feeding a creek all powered by glacier and run-off water. Stop and take a drink. It's good clean water and you'll want it by the time you reach the end of the trail here. As you pass the creek's head, you'll notice the remnants of a sunken old beaver dam and water logged branches six or seven inches below the surface before it bottlenecks in to the creek. Look closer and you'll see dozens of wild native Cutthroat in the 6-9" range darting for food, trapped between the logs upstream and the long bumpy ride down stream to who knows where. The lake has a trail along its bank on one side.

hiking
muddy
snow
2 days ago

hiking
muddy
snow
7 days ago

Started around 10:45am and finished around 1pm. Overall good hike— well worth the lake views! Ice and snow at top—microspikes would help, although I did the hike without. Muddy start!

hiking
muddy
snow
9 days ago

I started this trail around 3pm on Saturday Oct 12, 1019 and the parking lot was about half full. The weather was about 50 degrees so cold enough to need some light jackets but not too cold that you need a winter jacket given you’ll be getting a decent workout. The trail was a little muddy and slightly snowy at top but nothing you’d need spikes for (unless it snows, always check the weather report). The views at the lookout are amazing!! If you go a little further down the “Lake” view (there are signs) you can get a better panoramic of the entire lake and mountains with all the larches.

hiking
snow
15 days ago

Beautiful hike. You may need snow tracks or spikes as there is a fair amount of snow on the trail. The lake is spectacular.

hiking
muddy
snow
15 days ago

This is a beautiful hike in north cascades area! The drive to trailhead itself is so beautiful. This dog friendly hike is a great fir beginners. You may need spikes as snow had accumulated on most of the trail. Now coming to the highlight of this hike - Larches!!! Larch season has sprung and this trail has abundance of beautiful vistas with the golden tree!! Finally at the lake, the blue color is beautiful and totally worth going through the low temperatures! Overall this hike took us 3.5 hours RT. We spent a lot of time taking pictures. Restroom is decent- get your sanitizer.

hiking
snow
23 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing hike!

hiking
1 month ago

Someone said dogs are allowed is this true?

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
no shade
1 month ago

Trail is in great condition.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

9/1/19 Sunday. Started our hike right at 9:00am. We got to the top/lake in about an hour and there were only 3 couples including ourselves and another person who hiked alone. The lake got extremely crowded after about 45 minutes of us arriving (luckily we were headed back down at this point) but we got to enjoy the view and the quiet before others arrived with many dogs and kids. People were extremely loud at the lake/the top and many kids were hiking up uncontrolled by the parents. Hats, sunglasses, anf sunscreen would definitely help on this trail. Bring a towel and hiking sandals as it'll be impossible not to jump in the water. There were horse flies around but no mosquitoes. Rocky trail but easy hike up and down as many kids and seniors were out hiking with no problems. Great views throughout the hike and of course at the end of your hike at the lake, but I wouldn't recommend this one to anyone who would like to take a peaceful moment by the lake eating snacks and maybe a beer at the end of their hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Really nice trail. I am a slow hiker so it took me a long time to get to the top but it was worth it. The trail is well maintained , it was on the steep side in my opinion, but I’m also fairly new to hiking. There is no cell reception so be sure to let someone know where you are going. It’s was a moderately busy trail but you couldn’t tell once you got to the top

hiking
1 month ago

Nice hike. Dogs are allowed!

hiking
1 month ago

loved this in and out! sat morning hike fantastic conditions, few people.... thanks North Cascades for such Amazing scenery!

hiking
2 months ago

Awesome trail, beautiful scenery the whole trip. Kids (15 & 11) loved it. The fish were biting and birds were eating right next to us.

hiking
2 months ago

We hiked to Blue Lake after plans for a bigger hike fell through...couldn't have picked a better second option on the fly! The trail is short and moderate and perfect for a 2-5 hour activity. It begins in the trees and gradually weaves it's way up and around to the Lake, offering occasional glimpses of surrounding mountains. Blue Lake itself was mesmerizing beautiful. Turquoise colored water lined the shallows and banks and gave way to rich blues that filled the majority of the basin and sparkled under the sun. After getting up the nerve, I finally shallow dove off the rocky mound into a small depression in the lake and proceeded to feel the coldest water I'd ever jumped into. It felt great in a somewhat torturous kind of way and while I was pumped to have done it, I got out pretty dang quick! My spouse and I then just laid and sat on the rocks for who knows how long before begrudgingly saying goodbye to Blue Lake, a most excellent and serene alpine lake in the Northern Cascades.

hiking
2 months ago

Absolutely beautiful. Saw a sweet Mister Goat eating dinner nearby, and some very friendly birds, and heard pikas and marmots. Trail is great, some rocks but not bad. Minimal snow and few puddles.

hiking
2 months ago

Not a very hard trail. I read it was a “must do”. While the lake was pretty I wouldn’t call it a “must do” other than it’s pretty easy. We were a bit underwhelmed after reading how beautiful the lake was. Definitely go to the top. It looks prettier up there.

hiking
bugs
2 months ago

The hike up to the lake was quick and easy so we decided to spend a fair amount of time exploring the sides of the lake. I paid off because we saw Mountains goats along with several other small critters.

hiking
2 months ago

nice hike

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful trail with excellent scenery.

hiking
2 months ago

Mountain goats! Children feeding the birds! Children swimming in beautiful blue water! Nice quick hike with great views.

recorded Blue Lake Trail

hiking
2 months ago

I’d rate is on the easier side of moderate if it’s gonna be labeled as moderate. The hike itself was through a forest, steady gentle incline the whole way up. Then Blue Lake at the top! The trail spits you out at the base but you can climb up another trail to get more of a birds eye view angle which really brings out the blue and green of the lake. It almost looked tropical is was so gorgeous. Just watch out for all the restoration areas. A few people were ignoring the ropes and stepping all over fragile areas :( My parents even thought it was easier than they anticipated! Nice change of pace too since so many of the North Cascades trails are longgg and high.

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked on 7/24. Trail is clear. This is a very popular trail, so there was no parking in the trailhead lot. Lots of people parked out on the highway. Not a problem for us on a motorcycle. The lake is gorgeous. Had a small mountain goat visit us at lunchtime. Hung out on a rock in the meadow on the way down, and mosquitos are thick there. otherwise, a great easy hike.

hiking
2 months ago

Great little hike. Nice North Cascade views.

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