Explore the most popular hiking 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.

Road and trail are completely snow free. The trail is steep but really short. As of 5/20 the stairs to get onto the lookout are still locked. View was amazing. Also Alltrails directions will take you to the wrong place, use WTA directions.

Too much snow for a small car to traverse once you hit the fork near the top. A truck or four wheel drive might have better luck, but frozen snow was quite high and scraping the bottom of our car. Needs a few more weeks.

4 months ago

it's actually 15.5 miles from parking to lake Lillian and back--not 8. hike was beautiful and got a little technical with a small boulder field and an unclear path within a half mile or less of lake Lillian. my suggestion is to head to Margaret lake and save yourself several miles for a very similar, if not more, beautiful view.

great views of Rainer on a clear day on your way up.

I agree with the other reviews. Beautiful, difficult, bug repellant is a must, force yourself to go the extra mile+ to the Rampart lakes, hiking poles would have been very helpful, especially on the way down (big, steep steps, rocky and or roots).
We went on a Monday and had a couple lakes to ourselves and shared the others with only 2-4 people. So tranquil and awesome. I love waterfalls and wildflowers and they were everywhere! Also, yes, its cold but you have to swim in one of the lakes.

backpacking
6 months ago

This is an incredible overnight trip. I know there are a lot of questions right now about trail conditions and trailhead access. We were skeptical ourselves. However, as of Sunday morning, the trailhead is easily accessible for high clearance vehicles. Two friends and I went out in a Honda Accord and had to park before the last wash-out, although this wash-out is only MAYBE a quarter of a mile from the trailhead, so the extra walk is not bad at all. Intermittent snow on your way up to Ingalls Pass, although its all easily passable. Once you reach the pass the North side is all under snow. The trail can be hard to find at times, but now that the snow has been worked in, you should be able to follow where others have gone. You will need microspikes or crampons for sure. We camped in the basin for a night and it was spectacular. Got a little chilly at night but not bad. The lake is gorgeous and worth the hike up from your camp site, although, it is quite steep and will make you work for it. If the weather turns and the trail gets more snow, I don't see how it would be passable without snowshoes--there is already 4-18" depending on area.

hiking
6 months ago

Took the backdoor trail and stopped at Lake Laura on the way. Super pretty views! Very steep, but worth it.

Beautiful and easy for the kids.

Nice quiet walk from either direction.

Very challenging trail in the snow, make sure you have adequate dry clothing and warm clothing, especially when staying over night. A beautiful destination, the elevation gain was very intense for a beginning backpacker

backpacking
7 months ago

This was a gentle and very beautiful trail cut through some soft wood and evergreens along Bean Creek. Just before the trail tip at 5,175', we left the creek and turned east toward Earl Peak. The trail turned to switchbacks, offering great scenery. We setup camp above the freezing level at 6,200' just before leaving the treeline. The trees and the saddle shape provided much needed shelter from the high westerly wind and snow. We hiked the rest of the way to Earl Peak (7,036') without our gear. The terrain to the summit was snow-covered rocks and boulders. There was very little protection from wind at that point. Overall, this was a very nice day hike turned into an overnight for the fun of it. Caution: Truck/SUV recommended to drive the last mile to the trail head to ensure sufficient ground clearance. Also, a couple of streams may be difficult to cross after a good rain or snow melt.

hiking
7 months ago

Sunday, 10/15/2017 - I've had this one on my todo list for years and finally got around to doing it. I've tried getting to all of the local fire lookouts and Red Top is one of the last. Unfortunately, they've locked the access hatch from the stairs so we could not get to the deck. It's still a pretty great view and worth the trip. I was concerned that the forest roads might be tricky to navigate because there's several of them on the map, but there is really only one road up there and it leads right to the parking area. The forest road is typical - rough and bumpy. Lots of red mud, so plan on your car needing to be washed. The hike is short, but steep in places and lots of loose rock near the top make it slippery. I didn't learn until afterwards about the agate beds a mile from the lookout. I wish I'd made it there too. There are several geological markers up there if you are into those. More here: http://cairnguru.com/trailreports/2017/10/16/red-top-lookout

hiking
7 months ago

The ridge line and meadow was my favorite part, with all the beautiful golden Larches in full display.

hiking
7 months ago

I did this hike with a friend, and while I am not a fan of the trail itself between the parking lot and Rachel Lake... both were gorgeous. Lila Lake felt very remote, but also safe as there were a few campers there too. I wouldn't go alone.

I stupidly hiked alone to Rampart Lakes with a bikini in my backpack and got lost in deep snow one July. Not my proudest moment, but fortunately I had standard extra food, water, layers! I also find the trail up to even Rachel Lake to be very unpleasant. Everything up there is gorgeous though and somehow people brought tons of kids both times I passed Rachel Lake - which seems like a fun, place to camp and swim. I would't recommend going alone to anyone, and of course, don't be stupid like I was that day. :-/ This trail also put my bug spray to the test!

hiking
7 months ago

This is a great hike to bring beginner-level friends on. It's relatively very easy and leads to gorgeous lakes you can swim in. There's a little green lake first, which you can just skip (though the green lakes do have the warmer water!), and then actual Mirror Lake which is icey and beautiful. I went in the summer and was glad to have a little $3 inner tube to sit on in the chilly water. My friend brought a hammock and his dog. For us, the only downside was the long drive out of the city, and the narrow dirt rode that scratched up the truck. We went twice though. It's a great place to chill and spend your afternoon. Campgrounds dotted the drive up.

birding
7 months ago

It was a nice quiet day in the trail today. But the motorcycle tracks were everywhere and I can tell it's heavily traveled. Just go on a weekday or early in the morning to avoid motor traffic

hiking
7 months ago

First of all, don't always trust your GPS. My GPS took me to the wrong forest road. Luckily I checked the National Forest website for directions and was able to find the right forest road to the trail head. The views where great on this hike. The trail was a little steep, lucky it was a short hike. If you have kids that are a little nervous about heights or steep trails, don't take them on this hike. I learned this the hard way.

8 months ago

Went today and highly enjoyed this hike. As others have said park at the bottom lot and walk up the road as it's impossible to drive up it unless you have a jeep or off roading vehicle.

The trail is not marked, but starts right after you see two sets of stacked rocks on the ground (as long as no one moves them). The hike was fairly gradual. To add a little more distance to your hike and some beautiful views of the lake, I recommend hiking around the entirety of the lake- it's not a super clear cut trail, but It's fairly easy to navigate around.

Went around 8:45am and were there until 12:30ish because we hung around by the lake and had lunch, but only saw a few groups of people and a handful of campers.

Mostly want to leave his review for those hesitant to head out to this hike with the wildfires in the area. Was only hazy for about an hour or so and then it cleared up, leaving us with phenomenal views. Forgot how much I loved this hike- well worth the last mile climb to the top!

Easy and kid friendly

backpacking
8 months ago

Stumbled upon this by mistake. We planned another hike, but was closed off due to fires. This definitely is a moderate hike. Uphill nearly all the way for about 3 miles. The views up the side are nice! Once over the ridge, you have two paths to the lake. We took the shorter path down to set up camp. These views were even better! The next day we did the one mile hike to the lake - then my breath was taken away (and not just from hiking!). The lake is surreal. Definitely go to the left around the lake to the far side. You don't want to miss that!
Hiking back from the lake we found plenty of spots for water. Still - we filtered most of it.
The last day, we hiked up and then the 3 miles down hill.
So very happy we came here! Would absolutely come again!

My girlfriend and I were staying in George for a concert at The Gorge Amp about 2 hours from the Wenatchee National Forest. We were looking for something lite to hike during the day while we had some downtime. This trail was the perfect spot. We only saw one other person while on the trail and it offered great views of the mountains around us. Easy trail with great views.

backpacking
8 months ago

Nice view

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful. Lakes, waterfall, wildflowers, wild blueberries... heaven on earth.

backpacking
9 months ago

Everytime I come to the PNW I fall more and more in love with the place. This hike was my first overnight trek and a brilliant one at that. Get in early to get the best campsites though, especially on a cracking weekend like I had.

backpacking
9 months ago

Great hike! Got to the trailhead about 8:30a, only 3 other cars in the lot, which matched the 3 groups we saw (a group of 3, a group of 2, and one guy with a doggy). Real gorgeous, plenty of water refill spots throughout the hike all the way up until the meadow just before the pass, and almost no bugs at all which was amazing for my girlfriend who is terribly allergic to mosquitos.

Gets more and more exposed as you go farther, with very few trees between the meadow and the pass. Super awesome view of the mountains right when you get to the pass. We decided to setup camp about half a mile between the pass and the peak, and planned to wake up tomorrow morning to get to the peak for sunrise as per recommendation of another trip report :D

After sunset, the night sky had an astounding array of stars, especially for city kids like us!

We woke up before sunrise the next morning, hiked to the peak (~30min from our camp about halfway between pass and peak) and ate breakfast whilst watching a gorgeous sunrise with a 360° view that included Mt. Rainier!

backpacking
9 months ago

Spent the night partway up Navaho Peak last night.

I usually backpack with a group of my buddies but as they've all left for college, I did this one by myself. The first four miles or so up to Navaho Pass are fairly easy. I set up camp about four and half miles in, which put me partway up the peak. From my camp to the top of Navaho Peak was about 3/4 of a mile of grueling, steep, loose rock. Difficult but well worth the struggle. So worth it that I actually did this last stretch twice, once at sunset and once after waking up. If you are able to stay the night at Navaho it is a must to watch the sunset from the top of the peak. I can't put into words the site of the pink and orange sky backdropping Mt. Rainier, Mt. Stuart, Mt. Adams (if it's clear enough), and the surrounding cascade hills and peaks. Breathtaking to say the least.

FOR BACKPACKERS: Don't camp in the meadows. I planned on camping in the meadows but decided against it once I reached the area. It's a great place, but if you can carry your heavy pack just a mile or so further to the pass and beginning ascent of the Peak, you'll find much more rewarding camping spots. I set up my tent and hammock on the edge of a step rock face with a perfect view of the adjacent mountains. I wouldn't have wanted to camp anywhere else.

I've hiked all over the state and can say this was one of, if not the, best hikes I've ever done. Make time for this one.

backpacking
9 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

The hardest part was to drive up to the parking area! The trail to the lake was very nice but I needed to remind my mom (70) to watch out for tree roots. This trail is rated easy, but for seniors, hiking poles would definitely help. The lake was beautiful and kids enjoyed swimming in it. There were many files at the lake, but we didn't see mosquitoes. We saw many campers around the lake. Would love to come back with a hammock next time!

backpacking
9 months ago

I loved this place! Was there July 14-16 and my goodness I've never seen so many people camped in one location. It's amazing there was room for us all. The trail wasn't well marked and we found ourselves accidentally going on little side trails a few times but were rewarded with great views. The bugs were very heavy so we hid in the tent and spent a lot of time on the water to avoid them. All in all though, it was a great trip and I'll go again! Definitely take the time to visit Rampart Lakes and climb to the summit of Alta Mountain while there!

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