Explore the most popular nature trips 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.

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.

hiking
6 months ago

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

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

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

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

hiking
8 months ago

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

backpacking
8 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.

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!

hiking
9 months ago

Hiked to Mirror Lake then came back different way. Trail back (NOT Mirror Lake route) was overgrown in places but passable, recommend using GPS to stay on that trail. Buggy and shaded en route to Mirror Lake, sunny and less buggy on other route back. Beautiful all the way round.

Hard hike, but beautiful. After a quick swim ventured further on to Rampart Ridge and Lakes; a must. Had Rampart Lakes all to ourselves... heavenly! Water is perfect for swimming. Bugs were bad, but responded well to repellent. Trail was free of people until late afternoon.this hike is not based from Cle Elum though, it's from the top of Snoqualmie Pass.

trail running
9 months ago

Fun trail run until half way, where there are a ton of roots and rocks which make you slow down not to trip.

Lake is beautiful and able to swim.

Would be an awesome place to camp.

hiking
9 months ago

This was a great hike for beginners or those just wanting a nice short hike. The lake was beautiful! Just be ware of the parking shortage and DO NOT attempt to drive up to the trail head, park along the gravel road on your way up and then walk.

9 months ago

Never again. The road leading up to the parking lot is impossible to navigate via car, so you have to walk about .30 of a mile to the trailhead (marked by a pile of stones and a stick, it's on the left). The path is very narrow and we passed several people coming out as we were headed in. To make room for everyone on this trail, was precarious at best. Overgrown, claustrophobic, and really buggy. Not worth it.

hiking
9 months ago

Great trail, enjoyed merging with the Pacific Crest. At the end of the trail at Mirror Lake recommend going another 1000 yards down the PCT for a nice view.

Went on Saturday 22nd July, 2017.
1) No proper restrooms, so go light on the fluids.
2) A bug spray is a must, this trail offers a packaged-deal of all sorts of bugs.
3) Poorly marked ( actually I don't think I saw any markings apart from the Trai-> mark once you reach the lake )
4) Parking requires a $5 bucks so carry cash and a pen.
5) 3-4 little creeks on the way so water proof shoes would help.
6) The trail is pretty flat and do-able the last mile gets a bit steep.
7) The views are splendid both on the way and the lake.
8) It's moderately trafficked which actually helped a lot due to the poor trail marking.

hiking
9 months ago

Be prepared to start straight up with almost 1000 feet elevation gain in the first mile on a dirt, rocky road/trail. There are some decent ups and downs along the path but many of them very vertical. It is a technical hike and probably not good for small kids. The lake is beautiful but not a great hangout area.

hiking
9 months ago

Very, very beautiful! Went on a Thursday's early afternoon and it was mildly crowded.
-Expect to share the top with a visible amount of people.
-Can't recommend bringing a map strongly enough! If it doesn't look like the trail, it probably is!
-The road in has an amazing amount of potholes. It's like an exploded mine field. Cars without good suspension systems will move very slowly and suffer.

backpacking
9 months ago

Really beautiful but really aggressive mosquitos caused us to cut our trip short.
Keep your head up on the trail; we got off trail a few times.

hiking
10 months ago

Even though we only made it to Margaret Lake it was totally worth it. 2 hours uphill at a very slow phase enjoying colorful wild flowers, views of mount rainier, a special small green body of water and lake Margaret was cristal clear perfect for swimming (very cold of course, but great after hiking on a hot day). I'd love to come back soon before the flowers are gone.

Beautiful hike! Perfect for beginners!

hiking
10 months ago

EZ access by any car, trail begins single track, quickly leads to trail which passes a small falls, numerous meadow areas, still flowering but must have been a color riot not too many weeks ago. This hike is rated moderate I think only because of the distance; it is a stiff gradient up hill. Oh, couple of creek crossings that could be challenging earlier in spring or after a rain.

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