Explore the most popular birding trails near Cle Elum with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

3 days ago

No bugs, just a few nice people, a perfect alpine lake. What more do you want?

Obstacles include mud at the bottom followed by a very steep climb up to Rachel and then the fork to Lila / Rampart / Alto. It’s a full click more rugged than trails with more switchbacks and better trail work.

Warning is I got confused on leaving Lila lake as there’s several trails out, so be sure to have a map. One option is screen shots of the all trails map, or of course buying all trails pro. There’s no cell service out there and very few people on a weekday, so be ready to be self sufficient. Apple had “helpfully” offloaded my compass app so I was without that. The ground at Lila is partly frozen so I imagine an unprepared overnight would not be fun. Fortunately I figured it out by back tracking and got to the car at nightfall.

8 days ago

Amazing colours. Not lots of people. No bugs. A bit muddy. Better to wear waterproof walking boots.
At Rachel lake, got a bit lost but found the trail to Lila lake. Look for a small sitting area just before reaching the edge of the lake. There is a sign with “trail” written on it. I was alone at Lila lake. Just beautiful. A bit cold up there in spite of the sun.

Stafford Lookout Trail: The road up is paved most of the way which was quite nice. I used the gps coordinates from the wa trails site to the lower parking area. Once there, there is a road to the left that goes up right to the trailhead. Many steep-ish dips in the road would make it iffy for lower clearance vehicles. I did the Stafford Lookout trail. Once you cross the bridge the trail appears to go straight ahead, but veering to the left is an old road that heads up. It is a moderate grade the whole way up, but a shorter hike. Maybe 1.5 miles one way at most. Few fall colors, lots of leaves on the ground but the view at the top is great for the little effort required to get there.

Overall great hike. Was able to get to Rachel Lake yesterday (10/7) but not all the way to Rampart. Around 4500' we started to encounter some snow patches. Snow on the trail was compacted down to around an inch for a couple of the last switch backs. Extremely difficult to pass without poles because it is VERY slippery. We were able to do it without poles, but only very slowly and almost face planted several times.

If going on a weekend, be sure to get there early, as the parking lot fills quickly.


Hiked here on a Saturday, 10/06/2018. Got to the trailhead around 830am, and only 4 cars were there. The trail had snow about 5 inches high. I didn’t have my spikes but wish I had them. After the first half a mile the trail is all snow until the Lake.

The effort was 100% worth the reward. Stayed the night next to the lake. Woke up to a beautiful morning. Fall colors were everywhere. Could not have done this hike at a better time of the year.

Gorgeous view at sunset!! I used google maps, which didn’t take me far enough along the road, although I figured it out based on others reviews and continued going - but I also had WTA directions on the well, which are accurate. Took me about 35 minutes to drive up the dirt road in my Dodge Neon, and about 25 to drive back down - it’s a bit bumpy, but nothing impassable at all.
The trail is steep but very short, and has great views. The lookout was locked when I was there, but I sat on a little log looking bench for about an hour and watched the sun set. Gorgeous, and for such a small effort!

24 days ago

Great hike! It’s a little tricky to get to the far side of the lake where the camp sites are. I had to traverse a steep slick rock face. The lake is beautiful.

Great place!!

on Red Top Lookout Trail

28 days ago

the directions in the app are wrong. takes you to a place along the road to this trail that isn't correct. continue to the very end of this road, total 5 miles from first turn off. this hike is easy yet a little challenging. easy because it's so short. challenging because it's a steep hike up the whole way. very worth it. the views are amazing!

Great hike for my puppy and me, great view too!

One of the hardest but most fulfilling hikes for me. We went all the way up to Earl Peak and was blown away by the views. This is a continuously steady incline trail though. Brought our dog and she did great. Started hiking at 4pm and no one was going up but saw about 5 people coming down. Great hike and would definitely do it again.

Easy trail....brought back memories of my recent trip of walking the Camino de Santiago.
We walked from Cle Elum to Roslyn.

1 month ago

Great day hike! The initial portion of the hike is uneventful as you walk up an access road. After about half a mile the trailhead is on your left. From this point it’s a good workout; significant inclining trail on both hard, loose gravel and soft forest bed. At around 1.75 miles the tree line opens up slightly and you’ll have some spectacular views; including Mt. Rainer on a clear day. The first signage marks he trail split; right for Lake Margaret, left for Lillian. We did both lakes and they are equally impressive. Both trails finish with a 300 - 400 ft. descent to the lakes themselves. We spent about 6 hours on the trail and at the lakes. We brought along our 2 year old Lab and he loved the trail as well as the lakes!

Camped at Labor day. Train in good condition, no bugs. hiked Alta mountains as a bonus.

Super easy hike to an absolutely gorgeous view!

Hiked this about a month ago. Mosquitoes were vicious and seemed to avoid the fact I repeated applications of 98% deet.

I've been a lookout here for 18 years. never a dull moment.

a lot of work for not much reward this time of year, some flowers, a small waterfall, a few looks at peaks... there are a lot of other hikes in the area with spectacular views and lakes

Great moderate-difficult day hike with outstanding lake views at the end. The trail to Rachel lake can get a bit confusing as there are no marked trail signs but keep looking for where you find the maximum density of footprints and follow along. Recorded about 11.5 miles RT to Rampart lake and back.

2 months ago

Excellent hike had lots of fun

Incredible views! We went on a Sunday morning and only saw two other people hiking the trail. It’s a short trail but straight uphill. The lookout was open and staffed with volunteers. The road up was well maintained. Definitely worthwhile!

on Lila Lake Trail

2 months ago

Great trail with views and waterfalls to spare, and decent canopy for much of the trail to Rachel Lake. With a 40-lb packs, I found this on the tough side of moderate, even after a lot of hiking and conditioning this year on Mailbox, Rainier, etc. This trail reminded me of Little Si, just 3x as long. Stairstepping most of the way lots of rocks, roots and water crossings, and lots of vertical, with a few flattish wooded sections. Mosquitoes were bad: but Jungle Juice and netted hats kept them at bay. Was it worth it? You bet. Gorgeous views, and only 3 other tents at Lila.

2 months ago

Did a day hike with my dog up to Lila now that it’s all snow free. It was on Tuesday and extremely hot. I made two trips prior to Rachel and one to rampart lakes. There is a lot less water in creeks and the falls with all the snow melted. The lake was perfect temperature to swim but the horse flies and mosquitos were so awful they had both my dog and I running down the mountain as soon as we could. (I had three different types of bug spray and they still had little effect on them so be warned before going up there this time of year.) Fantastic views the whole way up and a few very alert marmots right before the boulder field to Lila lake which was really cool. Please pack out your trash. I picked up a cigarette butt and some food wrappers on the way out near the trail head.

2 months ago

Amazing lake and views! Great place to go camp and get eaten by mosquitos!

2 months ago

Arrived on Sunday Park lot packed. Met mobs of folks heading down with packs all warning of "bring your bug spray". we did and our bad knees and hips made it to Rachel. Lots of stepping up on rocks and exposed roots. Very pleasant canopy. Rachel Lake is gorgeous. For all the vehicles only 4 of the camp sites were in use and we had plenty of room. The mosquitoes were bad, spray works but anything exposed will be bitten. Saw lots of welts over the younger generations showing skin on heir way down. We bugged out after a wonderful and peaceful nights sleep. To many bites to hang out and explore more.

nature trips
2 months ago

Lakes are slightly cold: not for pansies. Lots of mosquitos. Worth it in the end.

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