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Spade Lake and Venus Lake via Waptus River Trail

MODERATE 28 reviews

Spade Lake and Venus Lake via Waptus River Trail is a 26 mile out and back trail located near Ronald, Washington that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options.

Distance: 26.0 miles Elevation Gain: 5,892 feet Route Type: Out & Back

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

forest

lake

river

views

wildlife

hiking
bridge out
2 months ago

did this as an aggressive 1 nighter. made base camp 6 miles in on a friday night by the river and then did the entire rest of the trip starting the next day to get back to the TH by midnight. I'd recommend doing this as a 2 nighter. the trail is fun and the views keep getting better and better as you progress through the valley and up the mountain to the lakes. There is at least 1 large black bear prowling around by the river but it ran off as soon as it saw us. All the bridges over the river are out so we took off our shoes and socks and forded the waters. bit chilly and slippery but certainly doable.

hiking
bridge out
scramble
3 months ago

Did this as a three-day trip, with a base camp at Waptus Lake. The trail from Waptus up to Spade is punishing and not sure I could have done it with my full pack. Good trail conditions up to Spade lake but the trip up to Venus is an off-trail scramble. Views and solitude make it worth the effort. There's a black bear poking around at Waptus lake so be vigilant.

hiking
scramble
3 months ago

This is a tough trail but it is worth it. If you make it to Spade make sure to put the extra effort to Venus!

backpacking
bridge out
bugs
no shade
4 months ago

This is a gorgeous hike but rough. The first day we hiked to waptus lake. It’s a great trail that covers several different types of landscape with lots of access to water. The river crossing was easy. The first part of the hike is very exposed so be prepared. On our hike out we had to carry one of dogs because we were afraid of her getting heat exhaustion and burned paws. The second day we Day hiked to spade lake and it was a pain. The last half mile of the hike walks a cliff side with some scrambling and loose rock. Be careful on this section. Spade was gorgeous as expected. The third day we walked around Waptus towards the PCT and encountered an adult black bear looking for dinner. We scared it off, and needless to say, cut our hike short and headed back to camp. I highly recommend this trail, but definitely train for spade. We encountered a group that thought they could do it with only a little water (my husband, myself and our two dogs went through 7 liters before reaching the lake) and thankfully they turned around.

hiking
bugs
rocky
scramble
4 months ago

Salmon le Sac to Waptus Random Tip #1: The trail was so dusty! Bring a buff or dust mask if you don't wanna be coating your lungs with powdered horse poop. (There's A LOT of it). The trail is long, take the opportunity to cool off when you have shade or access to the ice cold streams. Yeah the bugs were bad in some places, the biting flies, so gnarly. That head net will keep your sanity. Logged 11.5mi and just under 7hrs since it took a little time to find a campsite. Waptus Lake Beautiful, but I'd be concerned with the water quality. Especially at the front camps where people can be careless around the lake. You may wanna wade in a bit to filter drinking water. Lotta mice running around the campgrounds, so be diligent with food storage! Definitely recommend bear canister over any sort of bag systems, rodents can easily chew thru Ursacks so I've heard. Decent tree branches are tough to come by. Canisters are not supposed to be hung, just stashed 100ft away from your camp. Found trash and some half burnt fruit in a fire pit here. Not unusual I guess, still a major bummer to see. Your food and trash doesn't burn. Quit that shit. Apparently there's a pit toilet, and apparently it's horrific. Cuz you know, people. Better off leaving no trace finding a good peaceful spot in the woods. Waptus to Spade Random Tip #2 start EARLY for this one. The heat'll get ya. Well, we didn't start early, but that was mostly my fault since nature calls when it calls, man. Anyway, we started around 8:30am, and had decent cloud coverage till 11. Thank god. Yup it's steep and a hell of a climb with a 30+ lbs pack. Took me and my gf 5hrs. Took the others in our group a bit longer. Spade Random Tip #3 Learn about Leave No Trace, I'm begging you. This lake is so pristine. Campsites are smaller and more spread out. Branches for bear bags are nonexistent, I was so glad I brought a canister instead. Spade to Venus At some point, the trail sorta disappears. Just be gentle with this unbelievable backcountry. Look carefully for the trail and cairns once you reach the base of the ascent. Venus Well... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ The last toilet you'll see is at the trailhead, and even that one is BAD. Needs a new lid, the stink is harsh. Plan for some time to jump in at Salmon Le Sac after your hike! Fun little spot. The lakes are snowmelt fed and freezing even in August. Leave the floaty and selfie stick at home. @niiimz_

hiking
bugs
rocky
4 months ago

Day 1. We headed out of Salmon La Sac Friday evening around 6pm and hiked to the river crossing which was about 9 miles in. Camped there that night. Lots of bugs. Bring spray! Day 2. Crossed the river and saw Waptus Lake but we took on the challenge and wanted to camp up at spade. So we took our packs way deep! Sounds like most people camp at Waptus and day hike into spade so we wanted to camp up there. That mountain had very little to no switch backs, just straight up. Some parts were a little sketchy but that’s what makes it fun right? We ended up getting to spade around 3pm on Saturday and set up camp and around 4pm we decided we better go see Venus lake. Now all I’ve heard is it’s worth it but it takes at least 3-4 hours to get there. WRONG!! It took us 40 min. The trail is basically washed out but someone made rock stacks that lead the way all the way up the granite slabs. Sooo beautiful. If you make it to Spade do Venus!! Day 3. Woke up at spade and trekked all the way back to Salmon La Sac campground. Seemed sooo long but we did it in just about 6 hours. Don’t think the hike back will be anywhere near easy. But what a spectacular visit in the Alpine Wilderness! Some days it’s super windy at the lakes which means no bugs! When the winds not blowing you will get eaten right up, so bring deet!!!

Highly recommend! Gorgeous views, cool lakes, abundant wildlife, and well maintained trails. Crossed a few streams where I barely got my boots wet, crossed a river (just above the knee) and a couple rocky points that are easier navigable near Spade. I was so so thankful I packed DEET. The mosquitos at Spade are worth mentioning. Started at trail head 8 am got to Spade around 5-6 pm. Took a two hour break at Waptus which was lovely. PAY ATTENTION during the first mile of Waptus River Trail. When you approach the first fork in the trail - take the small trail that bears right. The sign is confusing. Went straight and hiked up a bit before realizing I went off course.

hiking
5 months ago

Ignore everything I'm saying after this sentence because the views once you reach Spade Lake was entirely worth it. And thankfully I downloaded and paid the $30/annual fee for the Apptrails app to pre-download the Waptus and Spade Lake maps while at home. I still recommend bringing the paper map, but trails were sometime hard to find covered snow and rocky terrain to find the route and this app worked perfectly to guide us the entire way without any cell service. Your phones GPS will always plot your location on the Alltrails app really accurate. Just bring extra chargers. We used the Sawyer water filter along the way. Lots of streams and access to river to use, but from Waptus to Spade, make sure to bring plenty water for the climb. Not any really good accessible spots for water until you reach the mini lake before Spade, which is about 500 feet before Spade Lake. We saw numerous other groups along the route going and coming. Day 1 - The trip to Waptus Lake was challenging. Watch for tons of horse crap on the trail as you don't want that in your tent later on. I probably should repeat this twice because it is that important the bugs in Waptus was the worse mosquitoes/other bugs I've ever seem and this is coming from someone who was born and still lives in south Louisiana where bugs are terrible in our area/humidity. Highly recommend comfortable dryfit long sleeve shirt, Magellan style pants that are comfortable and waterproof to cross river as well as a headnet to use over your hat to protect from mosquitoes and strongest deet bug spray you can find. We did cross a few streams along the way, but be prepared to cross a freezing cold Waptus River about 100 feet wide up to knee level. We hiked about 9 miles from Salmon la Sac campground to Waptus Lake and camped there for the night. Day 2 - We made the 4 mile stretch to Spade Lake. The view was amazing, but it was the most grueling incline up and some of the scariest loose rocky trails next to edges with a huge dropoff I've ever done before. Take your time and dont rush. Make sure to bring hiking poles to secure your footing in tricky areas. We camped on one of the rock ledges with the most spectacular view in Spade Lake that looked like a postcard. The wind at night can be brutal though. Day 3 - Left Spade Lake and headed back to Waptus Lake. We camped there for the night. It is very tricky coming down that high incline from Spade, so make sure not to assume downhill will be easier. Some rocky areas is on the edge of the cliff and can be dangerous. Day 4 - Left Waptus Lake and made it back to Salmon la Sac campground. Had an enjoyable trip and definitely recommend it.

backpacking
bugs
over grown
rocky
washed out
5 months ago

We hiked 13 miles in one day to get to Spade Lake. Started our trip around 10:30-11:00 AM and got to Spade Lake by 8:30 PM. The first ~9 miles to Waptus Lake weren't too terrible. There were some mosquitoes on the trail, but there was this swamp-like area on the way to Waptus that was infested with mosquitoes. Definitely need bug spray, and lots of it. There are many places you can fill up on water with your filter bottle, and plenty of places to rest and enjoy a scenic view. The last 4 miles up to Spade Lake were quite terrible. So many fallen trees/washout and the trail was hard to see. Besides that, it was very very steep and I would recommend Trekking Poles for this portion. Spade lake is absolutely breathtaking though, which is why we couldn't wait to get up there in one day! The water is freezing, but if the weather is in the 80's it is definitely swim-able. The weather was at low 70's and cloudy which is why we couldn't swim. There's also a waterfall within walking distance from Spade Lake for fresh cold water. No fires are allowed up at the lake (some people had fire pits, please don't break the law, it's there for a reason).

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

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