Spectacle Lake

MODERATE 19 reviews

Spectacle Lake is a 18.1 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Roslyn, Washington and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, camping, and backpacking and is best used from July until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

18.1 miles
2,601 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly




trail running




3 days ago

My wife and I took our first backpacking trip of the year up to Spectacle Lake. We hiked in from the parking lot to past Pete Lake to the river crossing - roughly 6 miles. We arrived at 3:30 and landed roughly 3 hours later. We hiked with 100# dog and 20-25# packs. High temps between 80-90 degrees in the day.

River seemed a little cold on arrival so we didn’t care to cross at 6:30 not knowing what lies on the other side.
Set up at a nice little camp spot right by the river though. Mosquitos pretty tough even with spray.

Woke up and encountered several crossers at the river by 9-9:30. We packed up and left to Spectacle. River wasn’t bad at just below knee height with a dog saw people of all ages (12-55) crossing fine. My dog did well as he is tall, another couple with a small 20# dog went down river a little and there dog was fine as well. Definitely recommend water shoes to change into for crossing.

We were warned that it may be too hot with a dog in the exposed area of the climb to Spectacle Lake but decided against the heed to our relief.

There is a nice pretty well covered area for the first 45 min until you become more exposed with burn out sections. By 10:30 even at 75 degrees sun exposure not bad. If anybody fared well it was the dog. New growth on the mountain leaves a 3-4’ canopy on the trail in which the dog spent most of the exposed hike in. The hike through the exposed section consists of an hour or so of switch backs but some less gradual. There are many small streams all along the hike up the mountain.. to a dogs delight or drinks or a good dousing:)

Lots of wild flowers. Greenery and beautiful back drop even with torched trees from a decade ago. There is a wonderful bridged waterfall after driving through the switch backs which is a nice place to chill. There are 3 + areas were you have small stream crossings with no bridge.. But doable for all creatures. Mosquitoes once again can become a nuisance if your not prepared. Bring a facial net as a preference as seen with many hikers (we didn’t bring any but wished we had.)

After nearing the top the canopy of trees once again shades you more. After cresting and viewing small glimpses of the lake there is a sharp drop down if you travel to the SE side of the lake. Once your down around the lake there are access trails all around. The lake mostly surrounded by rock so pick your access wisely if you want to get in.

We jumped in on the SE side with a little beach access. Water was great! A little cold but definitely swimmable after a hike on a hot day. The lake is split up into sections south east side has one smaller section in the larger side to the northwest. There is lots of rock and land in between to travel between the two sections. Beautiful back drop to the West mountains with several cascading waterfalls and snowcapped mountains. We were to the lake roughly 3 hours after breaking camp at the river. We didn’t camp there but noticed several nice camping spots on rock or grass overlooking the lake.

We left to hike back down at around 1:30.-2:00 it was warm close to 90. There are many trails around the leak so it’s easy to get lost if you don’t know which way you came in haha. Hike was warmer in the afternoon but nothing crazy. We crossed the river again and cooked food at the river. We left our tent and some stuff by the river and packed it all ip.. headed back out past Peat Lake to the Parking lot... about 6 miles. Beautiful walk and beautiful hike out as it was in. Well covered with trees not really exposed.... except more mosquitos... once again bring your face net and spray. They were super bad on the way out.... elevation and moisture make a difference but yea. The hike, the lake, the river, the camping and the scenery were all great. Highly recommend for a 2 full day trip.... we made it to the car by 9 pm but hiked 16 miles and went to the lake all in one day! I’ll be back:)

10 days ago

Hiked and stayed at spectacle like 7/9-7/10. Snow free the whole way. The hike itself is not hard if you’re in shape, but it is definitely long. My gps tracked 12.2 miles one way. Get ready to cross frigid lemah creek. You will definitely need to remove your boots/ shoes since it’s about knee deep and painfully cold (I am 6’2). The lakes are both spectacular. I brought an inner tube and floated around the whole inside section of spectacle lake. The water was the perfect temperature on a hot day. Keep your eyes peeled for wild life. We spotted a deer and what potentially could have been a cougar stalking it in the evening. All that was visible were eyes so have bear spray handy when that deep in the backcountry.

1 month ago

This hike is actually 22 miles round trip but has some stunning views. It's 4 miles to Pete lake which is beautiful and then 7 more to Spectacle lake. There's still a lot of snow near the end of the hike but it is doable with just hiking boots. The temperatures at the lake dropped much lower than we were expecting so if you plan to camp up there, be prepared! The bridge about 2 miles from the lake is also out so you may have to go downstream a bit and wade across.

We got lost several times due to the lack of signage so make sure you have your AllTrails location on so you can direct yourself around and keep track of how far you have gone.

11 months ago

Actually over 35km. Really nice hike, we saw WTA working and horses. Flys were kinda bad on the trail, but the hike was really easy until the last couple miles. Switch backs were really well done with minimal fallen trees.

Beautiful views though, and some of the cleanest water I've EVER seen. I got stung twice for the first time in 8 years. Definitely would do again soon.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Great hike. It's 11 miles from the Pete lake trailhead into Spectacle Lake but not overly difficult because of minimal elevation gain compared to most of our hikes. We both had "heavy" packs on and did fine, but we are avid hikers/backpackers. A cold and swift Lemah creek water crossing and fallen trees blocking parts of the pct were the only obstacles but both doable and fun. Bugs were annoying and plentiful but expected. Go in with lots of bug spray and plan on using it frequently. Had minimal backpacking "neighbors" on our first night at the lake but they were coming in like hoards on night two. We definitely prefer less company but that's life and with a beautiful lake and amazing views... we were just happy to be outside enjoying the perfectly hot temps and blue skies.

It's a long hike and tends to be too popular for our taste but if you love high mountain lakes, do it.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Great hike, awesome mountain views of Lemah, Chikamins, and three queens. Camping on the peninsula offers plentiful access to water and amazing views.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Wow-amazing hike!!! My one and only complaint was that we did not camp up at Spectacle (we camped at Pete's Lake) because there were (and I quote) "100 people camping and partying up there!"
The lakes were beautiful! The hike was a butt-kicker! The river was tough to cross...slippery rocks and fast moving water. All worth it!!

Thursday, October 01, 2015

My wife and I did this as day hike. It was a beautiful fall day, cool in the morning (upper 40s) and into the 70s in the afternoon. The fall colors among the undergrowth were amazing, and Spectacle Lake is great, well worth it.

Note: We found a pair of prescription eyeglasses by the waterfall. Anybody missing them call me at (425) 443 2385.

The road to the trail is paved until the last few miles which is the usual potholed gravel, but passable in our little hatchback.
The trailhead is at Cooper Lake, and from there the path goes past Pete Lake, across the river (easy to cross in September with low flows), joins up with the PCT, and then there's a 1/2 mile spur to the lake.
We clocked it as 18 miles round trip. The path is pretty flat for most of the way. The last mile or two are fairly steady switchbacks with about 1500 feet net elevation gain, but few rocky or rooty patches. So overall, it's a relatively easy path, just long for a day hike. We left the trailhead at 8am, and with time spent at the lake didn't get back until 8pm, about an hour after dark.
Most of the trail is open to horses, so you'll find the usual presents along the way, but it makes for a wide and easy trail.
The first half of the trail up to Pete Lake and beyond is fairly open forest, but with no views. The second half goes along the PCT through a forest fire from a few years back and this gives great views out into the valley and the mountains beyond.
Spectacle Lake is one of the prettiest lakes I've seen the Alpine Wilderness. It has a rock isthmus you can walk along and lots of good places to camp or just take a lunch break. Highly recommended.

Monday, August 13, 2012

It is quite a spectacle! This beautiful lake is nestled in a bowl above the Pacific Crest Trail. A destination unto itself, or as a short side trip from the PCT, this lake is worth a visit.

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Friday, August 28, 2015