Hidden Lake Lookout Trail

HARD 78 reviews

Hidden Lake Lookout Trail is a 7.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Diablo, Washington that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
7.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3582 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

fishing

hiking

ice climbing

nature trips

snowshoeing

walking

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

bugs

muddy

over grown

rocky

scramble

snow

Simply spectacular! One of the finest hikes on the face of the planet, the trail to Hidden Lake Peaks grants continuous sensory overload. Sprawling meadows bursting with wildflowers, granite slabs and boulders laced with heather, glistening snowfields birthing tumbling waters, alpine nooks providing After starting in a clear-cut predating common sense, the trail soon enters unmolested forest where it begins to climb steeply. At about 1 mile leave the forested canopy be-hind for an avalanche chute filled with alder. Cross East Fork Sibley Creek and recommence climbing. While you're traversing the steep side slope that's often brushy and overgrown, showy flowers give some consolation as you slog. Biting flies, however, may diminish the blossom bonus. At 2.5 miles the trail recrosses the creek (elev. 5200 ft) and begins angling south. Stop to admire Mount Baker hovering in the western sky. Now across heather slopes punctuated with shiny granite slabs funneling cascading snowmelt, enjoy increasing views and an alpine wonderland intensifying in beauty. At 3 miles a potential hazard may exist. Early season, or some years all summer, a treacherously steep snow gully may be present. Extremely dangerous to cross without ice ax and appropriate skills, it may be necessary to call it quits, taking solace in prudence and a decent hike even to this point. If the coast is clear, proceed, enjoying heather meadows, glacier lily fields, snowfields dyed red (thanks to an algae), unhindered Cascade mountain views west and south, and territorial views of Hidden Lake Peaks to the east. At 4.2 miles attain a 6600-foot saddle (and the North Cascades National Park boundary) between the 7088-foot true summit of Hidden Lake Peaks (to the left and a fairly easy scramble) and the 6890-foot knoll with the lookout (to the right). Hidden Lake is just below, a glorious backcountry body of water, its azure waters shimmering in the sun. It's a rough-and-tumble drop of 800 feet through talus to reach it. Instead, enjoy its beauty from above and the framing backdrop of impressive North Cascades summits- Eldorado, Forbidden, and Boston among them. To reach the lookout, follow the trail right for 0.3 mile, climbing 300 feet over ledge and rock and possibly snow (use caution). Wow! Drink in views from Rainier to Baker and every peak, valley, and ridge between. Take time to appreciate the lookout too. Built in 1931, it was restored by Fred T. Darvill of the Skagit Alpine Club back in 1961. A tireless advocate for the North Cascades National Park, Darvill, who passed away in 2007.

hiking
5 days ago

hiking
6 days ago

May I ask how are the conditions of this hike? Are the views affected by the smog of wildfire at all?

Thanks!

hiking
7 days ago

hiking
7 days ago

One of the most amazing hikes I've been on. Great assortment of terrain and an amazing view at the top.

hiking
11 days ago

hiking
12 days ago

The trail is nice however, don't bother if it's foggy or cloudy as you won't see a thing.

camping
12 days ago

15 days ago

Trail is basically 3 different hikes. Part One: Starts off with a walk through typical PNW forest but the flies are AWFUL. If you stop for a minute you will be swarmed, recommend a hat and long sleeves. Not that enjoyable . Part Two: The hike opens up
to amazing views , flowery meadows, but flies still bad. Part Three: At higher elevations more rocks and amazing views, and the flies drop off. Breathtaking views to the top, really special . To ascend to the lake you will need to make it through some snow , so poles will come in handy .

hiking
19 days ago

21 days ago

great trail! this is the real deal. do not underestimate the specs, it is a long drive and long hike.

beautiful and interesting the whole trail pretty much


The road is terrible! especially on weekends. the road is the biggest challenge to making this happen.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

As we traveled through Darrington on the way it was raining so we were a little puzzled and curious what the day would bring. As we traveled closer the rain stopped and there was just cloud cover. I actually prefer hiking with cloud cover though but I do like the views so it can conflict. We arrived around 9 am to find quite a few spots left. The first 30 minutes is through the woods and shaded. Then you pop out into an incredible lush green valley. As you climb the dusty switchbacks the wildflowers and water falls here and there present themselves. There are many small water crossings. None are hard and the water is shallow. There are a few feet of snow crossing here and there in the valley with it melting pretty quickly. The trail is good and just take your time here and enjoy.

After you reach the top of the valley the terrain changes to large boulder and rock here and there. Again, more snow crossing but all can be done easily. Quite a few people were wearing trail shoes and doing fine. They will have trouble coming down as the snow is a little slick on the downward part. From this point there is a good trail then as you approach the loooout above the trail turns again to snow for maybe 100 plus yards until you go around the back side to finish your climb on a dusty trail to the top.

Since we stopped and waited it took a while but my guess is 2.5 hours is a good time from the parking lot to the lookout. I have a dog with short legs and she did just fine on the rocks as well as the whole hike.

There was some idiot that decided flying his drone at the lookout would be a good idea. Some had vocal thoughts about throwing rocks at it as it was very annoying in such a peaceful place. I asked the person if they could out the think away as everybody seemed bothered and the person complied.

Excellent hike! The road is bumpy but anything can make it if you go SLOW. Even though the weather is warm 6900' changed quickly. Bring layers and be prepared as elevation adds weather changes. For a brief moment we saw snow flakes in July. Be prepared!

1 month ago

Very beautiful, amazing!

hiking
1 month ago

As advertised, this hike was hard!! Our group of 3 made it to the summit in about 2 hours and 45 minutes with minimal gear (water, snacks, sunscreen, layers) and made it a day trip, not a camping excursion. The mesmerizing views made it worth every bit of thigh burn. Last hour of the hike was mostly a combination of snow and climbing over various sized boulders. The most difficult part in my opinion was the first 20 minutes or so of the descent. The trail near summit is patchy best, some of the boulders are loose, and it required substantial amount of arm strength to navigate. I wore regular tennis shoes and brought trekking poles which worked fine on the way up. However, would strongly recommend hiking boots with thick soles and even an ice ax this time of year. The more experienced hiker in our group was able to effortlessly glissade down the snowy parts in mere minutes with his boots and ice ax. I, on the other hand, stuck to the trail wherever possible on the descent with a few slips in the snow along way, but no injuries and it was all in great fun. The breath taking views lived up to their promise - forest, sea of wildflowers, lots of greenery, cascades, Mt. Baker, and of course hidden lake! It was adequately challenging and I immensely enjoyed!!

hiking
1 month ago

backpacking
1 month ago

trekking poles or solid walking stick highly recommended! lots of snow fields and a few steep ones at that, but well worth it! awesome views

1 month ago

1 month ago

Amazing hike- wear appropriate shoes!

1 month ago

This was a trail that we were really looking forward to do but it was still snow covered on July 1st. It's open but it's best to do in good hiking boots and poles. We still walked up a ways and played in the snow but didn't do the whole trail. If you're planning to do this trail plan your trip for late July or August.

1 month ago