Lake Edna Trail

HARD 3 reviews
#14 of 31 trails in

Lake Edna Trail is a 11.2 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Leavenworth, Washington that features beautiful wild flowers 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.

11.2 miles
5,885 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash





nature trips




wild flowers


Description from the WTA website: Reaching this alpine gem high on Icicle Ridge requires tenacity and determination. The trail along Chatter Creek is steep, hot, rocky, brushy, and eroded. And just when you think you're done climbing, you'll drop a few hundred feet and then climb some more. But the flowered meadows, and tundra slopes, and precariously perched larches, and the awesome views of nearby lofty peaks . . . make it all worth it! The trail starts off easy enough, winding gently through ponderosa pine groves on good tread. But after crossing Chatter Creek on a bridge at 1 mile (elev. 3000 ft), the grade stiffens, the tread deteriorates, and brush moves in (when was the last time this trail saw a pair of loppers?). Enter wilderness and begin to wildly climb. At about 1.7 miles (elev. 4100 ft), catch a view south of the slide responsible for forcing Icicle Creek to jump its bed. Notice that it originated from an old clear-cut (draw your own conclusions). At 2 miles, just after skirting a talus slope, recross Chatter Creek, this time without aid of a bridge. Old fir forest soon yields to brushy willow, while the tread gets rockier. A reprieve from climbing comes at 2.5 miles as the trail eases into a hanging valley (elev. 5000 ft). Forest cover gives way to rock gardens, with views limited to the great northern rocky face of Grindstone Mountain. There's more tough going ahead as you start working your way over a head-wall where Chatter Creek cascades through heather meadows and over granite ledges. Push on to a small gap along the lofty ridge crest (elev. 6680 ft). Here, 4.5 miles from the trailhead, enjoy a breathtaking view of Cashmere Mountain to the south, Big Jim and Icicle Ridge to the east, and down the Index Valley to the north. And speaking of down, the trail now drops steeply 300 feet into a lonely basin of talus and larch. Snow lingers here well into July and may create a difficult descent and require some routefinding. Skirt left of campsites and small tarns to traverse a jumbled pile of rocks. Good tread returns as the trail drops into a small basin of gurgling streams and lush meadows (elev. 6275 ft). Come to a post denoting a junction. Ignore the fading tread right, choosing instead the more obvious way left that heads up a gully alongside a cascading creek. Then cross the creek and head up a steep side slope, reaching a junction with the Icicle Ridge Trail at 5.75 miles. Lake Edna lies 0.5 mile and 300 vertical feet up to the left. A carpet of wildflowers leads the way into the semibarren basin that houses the twinkling alpine lake. Cape Horn looms over the icy cold waters, a stunning backdrop. Tenacious flowers enhance the rocky and grassy shores, while a smattering of larches add a soft golden touch later in the season. Despite the rugged nature of this place, it is quite fragile. Explore with care, and if you care to spend the night, do so at least 200 feet from the shoreline.

10 months ago

Mile 1-2 challenged my will on this trail. It's not very scenic. But, once you get passed that, it's a more scenic and decent slow uphill climb until you begin to ascend the pass. The meadows and pass area are beautiful. During our hike, the nearby forest fire somewhat limited our view. However the backside of the pass and on up to Edna was clear and worth every step.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Beautiful small alpine lake backed by Cape Horn. Long hike to get there but the views are worth it. If you plan to hike only as far as Edna I highly suggest climbing the short rocky trail up to the saddle on Cape Horn for amazing views west toward Ladies Pass

Wednesday, October 05, 2016