Necklace Valley Trail

HARD 27 reviews

Necklace Valley Trail is a 14.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Skykomish, Washington that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and camping and is best used from July until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

14.7 miles
3,651 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash








wild flowers


From Everett, E on US 2 to Skykomish Ranger Station, 36 miles E of Monroe. About 0.6 miles past Ranger Station, Right on Foss River Rd NE (FSR 68) for 1.2 miles. Right at fork for 2.4 miles, continuing on FSR 68 for 0.7 miles to trailhead on left

1 month ago

Trail was well maintained with minimal obstacles. last 3 miles to Jade lake from 5 mile camp are tough so take it slow and just keep going it's worth it.

Bugs up top in July are relentless and they are not bothered by deet so bring a face net.

Some snow fields present around lake ilswoot, locket and cloudy. circumnavigation of those lakes is a bit dangerous this time of year.

Lots of snow if you want to do the loop bring glacier crossing experience, axes, helmet, rope, etc

Temperature and weather was fantastic for the week of 4th of July and we barely needed our sleeping bags.

Best camping spots are at Lake ilswoot and al.

2 months ago

Finished my last final of junior year at UW so my partner and I headed to Necklace Valley for an overnighter. The first five miles are very pretty through the forest. Pretty flat, but there are lots of bugs and spiders. We used our poles to knock down spider webs because we kept running into them. There is also a lot of devils club and some stinging nettle so watch out.
We were planning on camping up at Jade Lake but after thinking about camping in snow and seeing how nice the campsite at five mile looked, we decided to camp there. We had a very nice camp with the river running loudly next to us. Didn't really see any wildlife, just more bugs. I left the shorts I had hiked in out in the camp overnight and when I woke up the next day, a dead mouse was in them. Not really sure what the story is behind that.
We started hiking up to the lakes at 7 am the next day. Trail is uphill for some parts but not the worst with one big tree down to walk across. It took us about three hours to get up to Jade lake which is longer than we expected but we were in no rush. The intermediate snow that starts around 3700' was very thin and soft. We really had to watch out for falling through so we kicked out a lot of chunks. Trail becomes all snow just before Jade lake. The lake is about half thawed with interesting blue/green colors and very clear. The trail goes right along the lake and in some cases even too close (ie the trail is in the lake) so we forged uphill a bit. We then continued on through more snow fields to Emerald lake and Opal lake. Both are about the same as Jade in terms of frozen. We really wanted to see if we could continue on to tank lakes but we didn't have time unfortunately. Although, with the right equipment, I see no reason why this couldn't be done. As the snow is very thin, I would be careful going across bolder fields because falling through could be painful and into crevices of an unknown depth.
We also did a bit of an off trail expedition to get a peek of Lake Ilswoot. This was probably when our college stupidity came out the most because it was kinda sketch but also we got to see it. We climbed to the top of the ridge but the actual lake is way further down and through the trees and there was no way we were climbing down there. Maybe if we had planned a better route we could have. There might have been a passable route by going between the two ridges on the other side of Emerald Lake from the trail, but going up and over is probably not a good idea because the way down is very steep as far as we could see. Ilswoot is more thawed out than the three smaller ones. It is mostly light blue with some ice chunks in it. We could only see a glimpse through the trees but it looked really pretty.
We headed back down and the sun came out for us (the snow did become softer and easier to fall through though). Very pretty vistas of mountains heading down from the valley. And the five mile hike back to the trailhead was more of the same. Overall great trip. I would love to come back later in the season when there is less snow and I have more time to explore beyond Opal lake.

11 months ago

We wanted to head to Mt Hood but decided not to fight the eclipse traffic so this was plan B. My wife and I are experience backpackers but out of shape after a lazy summer. So we took five days to do this trail. First afternoon we hiked 5 miles up to a pleasant campsite at Foss creek. The 1st mile of the trail was relatively flat using an old railroad bed as the trail. The next 3 1/2 miles you gain around 600 feet elevation and travel through a younger forest with reminants of HUGE cedar trees that had been logged many years previous. about halfway up to the campsite you actually do get to see huge cedar trees that were left by the loggers with beautiful forest floor flora and fauna. On day two we took the 2000 foot elevation gain in 3 miles. The trail is steep and Rocky until you reach the bridge about halfway up. Then it is steep and rooty the rest of the climb up to Jade lake. This 3 miles is definitely a pull and out on a scale from 1 to 5 it is probably a five in difficulty. There is a Hidden campsite on the north part of the lake. There is also a larger campsite at the south end of the lake. The trail continue to climb up to Emerald Lake where there is an old cabin built in 1950. There are many social trails in and around the lake and you have to search to find a campsite but there are three or four pretty good campsites around Emerald Lake. We could start 10 here for two nights. Take three we chose to hike up the tank Lakes which is a trip that I highly recommend. The climb is steep and Rocky however the view that meet you at the top is indescribable. If you continue around to the northside the lake you get a wonderful view of the next valley. We had lunch at the top while we watched a pica store up his winter food. Then we scrambled back down the rocks to camp. In the evening we explored lake Ilswoot... which had a beautiful campsite and is set in a steep gorge between two ridges. Day for we headed down the steep incline and again camp to the hidden site at the force Creek Crossing. Then we had at least a weekday five hike out to the trailhead. We recommend going mid week because the traffic in on Friday when we were coming out was very heavy. When we left the parking lot on Tuesday on our way in there were only six cars. On Saturday on the way out there were over 20 with cars parked on the road.

11 months ago

Beautiful well defined trail. I used my iPod to track the mileage and after hiking 9 miles in we still hadn't made it to the first Lake. I was disappointed but there were spectacular views and beautiful areas to hang out by the river and streams. I was wondering what the accurate mileage was with GPS? At the 6 mile marker my GPS was 7.5 miles and at 9 miles there was no lake in sight and we needed to turn back and ended up in the dark even after running 2miles.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Beautiful lakes, lots of fish!

Friday, September 09, 2016

This is more tough than what one would assume walking into it. The first 3 to 4 miles are your typical PNW hike. After you reach the the rocks, follow the trail markers to go up, be careful the rocks can be sharp and loose. Highly recommend trekking poles from here out. The elevation gain doesn't get to you but the amount of effort required to finish this trail is rough. Well worth it though. When you see the trail marker for the 7th mile you are a little less than half a mile away from Jade Lake. Well worth the stay and challenge.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

very hard hike. did this loop 2 years ago.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

We went to the 5 mile bridge but was unable to cross the Foss branch log dangerous with high water and a dog. A most beautiful trail!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

I love this trail, not over crowded and challenging without being life threatening. There is a two mile stretch after you cross the river that really gets the heart pondering though. Once you get to the lakes it's all worth it though

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Made a day hike out of this today. Quite a bit of blow down on the trail. Half a dozen trees down over trail. Little bit of snow here and there. Hiked 5.2 miles to the campsite, had coffee and lunch before turning around and headed back.

Friday, May 29, 2015

We took advantage of Memorial Day to try out the Necklace Valley trail. We day hiked from the trailhead to Jade Lake and back out again. The weather was good with mist on the tops of the mountains and no snow left anywhere on or near the trail.

It is a very long day hike, but fairly quiet. Even on Memorial Day we only saw about 6 small groups, all of backpackers heading out after the long weekend.

The first few miles along the valley are easy and fairly flat. After crossing the river on the log bridge with handrail, head right across another log and a little ways up a rock slide. Follow the cairns carefully here to skirt a large fallen tree and head left back onto the trail. Then it goes up, up and up until you get to the lake. This part of the trail is fairly rough with lots of roots and rocks.

There are occasional views of the valley and surrounding mountains along the way. Jade Lake is more of a large pond, but it has some nice campsites around it.

It was long for a day hike. It has about 3200 feet of net elevation change, so the total gain is much higher (4-5000?). Unfortunately I don't have an exact number. The valley is surrounded by very steep cliffs so the GPS on my phone was useless for most of the trip.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

I'll start by saying I'm almost 60 years old. My older Brother Brian, eldest son Christopher and I took the very difficult backpacking trip to Necklace Valley in the central Cascades Alpine Wilderness in late August. It was a long, grueling, difficult hike, We suffered extreme fatigue, primitive conditions, hungry mosquito's, marginally appetizing trail food, unsanitary accommodations, bruises, cuts, abrasions, blisters, welts, and unbelievable thirst between streams. To make matters worse I had a serious pack suspension failure that forced me to carry much of the weight on my shoulders. It was a blast.
Actually it was a trip Brian and I went on 39 years ago with our now deceased oldest brother Bruce. We went back with my son Christopher. Like my Brother said, "we did it because we could" (that has special meaning at our age).
My son was impressed with our determination and resiliency. The Forest Service categorizes the trip as "most difficult". I had my (ahem) ultralight 57 lb pack. The net elevation gain was 300' in the 1st 6 miles and 2550' in the final 2 miles of the 8 mile trip. The first 6 miles was up and down most of the way resulting in a collective elevation gain of near 4000'. The trip down was not all downhill either.
I just had to prove I'm still 20 years old. As you can imagine it was quite an achievement for a guy pushing 60. I can't say I know anyone my age ambitious or dumb enough to attempt it. We saw one guy about 55 years old. The rest were "kids" (of course most hikers nowadays seem like kids to me). The next trip will be easier. There aren't many that are more demanding that I would care to do.
The trail was okay with a few obscure carins and tthe bridge railings are broken, and one shor t bridge is half rotten off but otherwise the ruthless elevation gain was my only hardship. The weather was perfect. The hikers were respectful and friendly, and it wasn't overly crowded.
We caught and released 7- 14" trout at Lockett Lake. The valley was as beautiful as I remembered and there was no litter to speak of. The pictures I am posting tell the rest of the story.

Monday, July 08, 2013

A lot of the campgrounds in the valley were still under water or under snow. We had to remove our boots to cross Jade lake, but water levels seemed lower on the way out. I feel like the endo of July or August would be the perfect time to hike this. Once we were in the valley we made the trek up to tank lakes and camped there. The lakes were beautiful even if still 95% frozen over, but the views from there and the hike up are amazing. Without this leg of the trip I would rate this 4 stars. Some highly used campsites are available along the river before you make the climb up to the valley.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Good spring hike. Quite a few trees down on the trail, but a crew is working to cut them out. Weather was perfect.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The morning started at 4:14 am with a beautiful sunny Thursday morning and ended with a 10 mile hike upon Necklace Valley Trail. Rick, Bas, Sasha and yes, little 3.7lbs Tuki along with myself of course. Our initial plan was to hike Greider Lakes; unfortunately for us the rode was closed to Greider because of flood damage.

So we rerouted, headed further east on hwy 2 and stopped at the Rangers Station. After searching for Tonga Ridge and missing the turnout we decided to head up Necklace Valley Trail.

3 days ago

15 days ago

16 days ago

16 days ago

1 month ago

Sunday, July 02, 2017

recorded Jade Lake

Friday, June 03, 2016

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Friday, July 29, 2011