Hidden Lake Lookout Trail

HARD 117 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
3280 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
3 days ago

Hidden lake lookout. Attempt number 3. Success.
It was king of challenge for me, I tried to get to the lookout two times before (May and November), two times in snow, two fails.
The initial plan for today was relax and enjoy snowshoe around Artis Point, but yesterday evening when I was checking reports I found on alltrails.com that somebody put 5 stars for Hidden Lake trail 5 days ago, it was enough for me to change my plans and try Hidden Lake again. Despite great weather I was not sure if I can make it, I still remember how much snow and avalanches was in May, but I decided give it a shot.

Came to trail around 10:30, actually I didn't get to trailhead even on AWD and parked mile or so before TH, 6 or 7 cars already were there. I reached TH in 40 mins and tired, it was difficult to go by snow, decided put on snowshoe after forest part. Forest part was easier, since less snow there, you can do in hiking boots, but gaiters recommended. Met two people going back, they done forest part of the trail and turned back.

Once I reached basin area I starded to follow by ski track, it was not easy, but doable in snowshoe which is a must at this part. I folowed ski track by right side from the stream, when actuall trail goes by left side. There are few avalances already came down, snow looks stable and solid, but anyway pay attention. Clibmed up to second avalanch, which came from the top and turned left to actual trail. Then did couple switchbacks and crossed this avalanch again toward to travers part of the trail. Despite hard and stable snow it was little bit scary to walk by avalnches, but I decided to go, maybe not too smart.

Travers part was very nice and much easier! View was gorgeous, clear views of peaks around, mt Baker, sun, snowshoe. Btw there are some steep slopes on this part as well, I even used iceaxe to go throug it, but as I said I followed by ski track, maybe it possible to find less steep route.

Once I reached end of the travers part I saw many snowshoe footprints at this point I realized that it should be some winter route. Definitely! I've seen many cars but met only two people, and ski track I followed by was few days long.

From this point there are few snowshoe trackы - first is regular trail, second goes to hidden lake peaks. I climbed up by second one, but at this point I did't know that it goes to the peaks, i realized it lated once I got closer. I didn't get to the peak, because it was already 2:30 pm and I had not so much time. I turned right towards to the lookuout, getting closer I've seen some people doing travers by peak to the lookout. In some report guys called this part "do it or die", kind of true :)

So, I reached lake viewpoint, then I took one of the snowshoe track up, travers part to the lookout is very steep, if you will go there you need to be very careful. I put of basket from my right pole and used it as iceaxe, before doing next step I put it deep in snow.

Finally I reached lookout, there were five people and two dogs, they came for overnight. They told me about winter route, it is shorter and much steeper. But! it much safer from avalanch standpoint since it goes through forest and there less snow now. So, if you go tomorrow or before next snowfall you can go by regular route, after snowfal basin area will be risky, but you can try winter route. But as I said it is very very steep espesially at the beginning (from road to lookout)

I took some food and photos and went down by regular route. Yeah, views were just awesome!

On my way back I met three people going up, they came by regular route as me. So, I tool winter route back, first half was easy, since I went down, moderate level of snow, good snowshoe track. Second part was more tough, slopes were much steeper, lots of fallen trees, I lost track little bit, because snow disappeared and I just followed direction to the road. Finally I reache the road, walked down to my car and went home.

Finally I can cross Hidden Lake Lookout trail in my list as completed.

9 days ago

10 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

Lots of snow up there. I got to the lake viewpoint but not to the lookout, since I was first on the trail and spent lots of time for trail finding and overall visibility was awful. Poles, gaiters is a must. Snowshoe, spikes might be helpful. Find my report on wta

1 month ago

Northern Cascades at its finest.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

Amazing hike! Absolutely beautiful views; definite bucket list worthy. Just be very careful on your way down as there’s no clear trail markings.

1 month ago

My favorite hike in the lower 48!

backpacking
1 month ago

I absolutely loved this hike! We got up to the lookout early so we could secure our spot, but I would have loved to camp out by the lake as well. The lookout is the most maintained and well kept lookout I've been to! I will definitely be doing this hike again.

hiking
2 months ago

Amazing views throughout. Upper half of the trail had plenty of snow but thankfully hikers before us blazed an easy trail. The snow made the rocks at the top pretty slippery but still manageable at a slow pace. Snow also made it difficult to get to the lookout cabin so we'll have to do that next time!

hiking
2 months ago

2 months ago

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2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Good trail: a bit rooty for the first half hour in the trees.Upper elevations rocky with some side slabs.
Views are amazing. Cool fire Lookout perched at the Peak. Treatable water throughout, including tarns 600 feet lower than the Peak. Snow can be a problem as approach trail climbs a shaded steep valley.

hiking
2 months ago

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