Waptus Lake via Waptus River Trail

HARD 9 reviews
#17 of 32 trails in

Waptus Lake via Waptus River Trail is a 17.4 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Ronald, Washington that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

17.4 miles
2,434 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash



nature trips

trail running







wild flowers

bridge out


over grown

2 months ago

Watch my video of the trip linked. You can also read my full trail report on my blog. https://www.gatlincreatives.com/blog/waptuslake

This was an incredible hike. Waptus Lake was more gorgeous than I could have imagined. It was worth every sore muscle and bug bite (and believe me, the bugs were not fun). I would highly suggest bringing bug spray and a mosquito netting to wear on the hike.

I am new to backpacking so the hike was only difficult because of the mileage. We hiked in on 7/6/18, did a relaxing day hike alongside the right side of the Lake on the 7th, and left on the 8th. Next time I would plan an extra two days to add in Spade Lake.

3 months ago

Wanted an easy hike to kick off the season and would definitely classify this as moderate rather than easy. Decent elevation gain (2,621 ft), loose rocks on the trail (nothing major, but tiring), and multiple river crossings definitely slowed us down. Most of the rivers were small and could be crossed on rocks if you are careful. One (at about 3 miles) was wider and the choice was either a thin wet log or remove your shoes and walk (about knee deep). We walked through the water on the way in. Kind of wish we brought water shoes. Bugs were not an issue for about the first 4 miles, and then we hit a wall of mosquitoes that lasted about 2 miles. Bring the Deet or mosquito netting!

Ended up stopping at mile 6 when it started raining as we found a sweet spot next to the river. Thought about trying to make the lake, but we were exhausted. Bugs were manageable at this point. Made a small fire in the existing pit and took advantage of the fresh water source. Woke up the next morning to swarms of mosquitoes and decided to head out rather than relaxing at the campsite (which we planned to do). Was a relief to finally get out of the bugs back around mile 4. Decided to traverse the thin log at the mile 3 river and made it but it's tricky. We were both gassed when we got to the car and rewarded ourselves with an amazing burger in Roslyn.
While we didn't make it to the lake, we did meet some hikers that did and were told that there are no mosquitoes there, and lots of prime camping spots. Only issue is the Horse Ford/River Crossing at 7.7 miles. Apparently, there used to be a bridge, but it washed out. Not sure I'd want to do that without a change of shorts (or quick dry material) and water shoes (crocs or something). Apparently, it's waist deep and cold. Maybe not year round, so I'd check. Would love to make it all the way to the lake one day, but might break it up into a 2 day hike in (unless I'm in better shape.) There are LOTS of pretty sweet camping spots along the way, but avoid the gauntlet of bugs if you decide to break it up. We also saw horses several times and had to avoid droppings all along the trail. Not a big deal, but thought I'd mention it.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Had a great two-day, one-night trip here! Bugs are a bit bad on the route, but aren't present at waptus lake. There were many great campsites and good solitude at waptus lake.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Friday, August 11, 2017

Tuesday, July 04, 2017