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

trail running
1 day ago

A beautiful but difficult hike. Planned on 10 miles as some of the reports indicated, but it turned out that AllTrails is accurate. I got 6.8 miles on my Garmin watch. I trail run several of these Mountain Loop hikes, and am very confident this one is about 7 miles long from the trail head. This does not diminish the fact that this is a difficult hike though. Give plenty of time to complete it. The benefit of this hike are the views most of the way up. You could really cut it short at any point after mile 2 and you would still get your fill of the beautiful terrain. Headlee Pass is an experience worth the pain of getting there. 20 or so switch backs in a small gap.
Many portions of the trail are over rock fields, we got off trail a few times, but as long as you understand the big picture of the hike, it’s not hard to get back. Overall the trail is in really good shape, and well worn.

backpacking
19 days ago

We went on Sept 2nd for our honeymoon. The trail was great, rugged but definitely worth it!

Great runnable trail to an amazingly scenic lake if the sun is out. Most of the trail is through woods and the bushes along it rub you along the way. Important to note if certain plants give you rashes you may want to wear long sleeves. There is a great waterfall that comes off the lake in the woods. You can get to it by going a bit off trail and following the sound. It’s worth seeing. The trailhead is off Mountain Loop Highway however this highway turns into a dirt road with some large potholes so drive carefully as you’ll likely spend 30 minutes on the dirt road part. You’ll be 35 miles from the nearest gas station or cell service some plan accordingly. There have been bear sightings here too. I post photos of my hiking adventures on instagram under “adventuringKR”, which include some solid Goat Lake pics from a nice sunny day. Great place to camp.

Okay hike with a nice lake at pay-dirt and a pretty rushing river along long parts to f the hike. Why only 3 stars? other mountain lakes in the same area are better and with easier access. While we enjoyed the hike, it’s not one we’d do again.

Nice Hike. An adolescent bear wandered up the trail while we were having lunch near the mid-point of the lake. We stood tall and made noise and, fortunately, it backed off and chose another route. Definitely our closest encounter with a bear, tho we were intent on eating and weren't making a lot of noise before it came upon us.

Would hike it again, probably skip lunch at the lake.

backpacking
28 days ago

My wife, 120 lbs German Shepherd, and I did this hike. We took upper Elliot the way there (~6.2miles) and t was generally flat, slight incline until about the last mile or so. If you stay on the trail and don’t get distracted by the first waterfall, it’s switchbacks the rest of the way up. However if you get off trail, you likely follow the trail of ‘travelers-lost’ and likely go straight up adding a ton of incline. We did the upper Elliot in about 3.5 hours with back packs.

The lake is worth every bit of the walk. You’re not allowed to camp as close to the water as you would like, but the designated camping area is nice, well-used making most of the sites flat for sleeping.

On the way out we took lower Elliot and it was about ~4.6 miles and that took less than two hours. Much better views than upper Elliot. Many wonderful waterfalls and sounds of water flowing down the river.

This was my wife’s first backpacking trip and she loved it.

So I started my hike at the trail head sign at 12:03. Started out walking through A dense forest with a very nicely maintained trail, some water crossings and cool small bridges made of tree slabs. Eventually it turns into a old growth forest of Firs and cedars. So many magnificent trees. It just keeps on going and going forever. Being a arborist I found that part amazing... so at 5.9 miles there’s a very nice open wrest spot but still in the forests. My advise is to take a breather and refuel for 30 minutes or so if you are packing heavy. It would also be a nice spot to pitch a tent. The elevation then starts. The trail then becomes very narrow and weedy. The views then start to open up but i had none with the rain and clouds killing the visibility for me. Blue berries everywhere! Very nice treat they where. I got up to the PCT trail sign around 430 and the mileage read 9.3 right there. I hung out for 25 minutes until my fingers started to go numb from the wind and rain coming down on me. I headed back down around 5 and it was only getting colder with not a view 1 at all. I got back to the car around 7 40-7 50 with. My moving time was 7hrs and 15 minutes. Backpacking in would be quite a bit more challenge but my pack only weighed 27 lbs.

backpacking
1 month ago

It was a fabulous backpacking trip. we only stayed one night but it was just right amount hiking. Took my 70 lbs dog with me and he did just fine. we did see some bear tracks but no bear. the views are awesome! well worth it.

#findsamsayers - Sam went missing on this trail on August 1st. She made the summit around 3pm. Check out the Facebook group for updates and help if you can!

hiking
1 month ago

Absolutely loved this hike! Took Lower Elliott on the way up and Upper Elliott on the way down. Lower had beautiful scenery and soothing water sounds. The last mile of the hike is the toughest part and the trail gets a bit confusing but the lake is worth every bit. So beautiful, great for a swim and plenty of trees for your hammock ;) The waterfalls near the lake were equally breathtaking! We went later in the day on a Sunday and ran into very few people, even at the lake. Upper is perfect for the way down because it’s majority downhill. As mentioned in another review, make sure you have the right pass because they’ll get ya. I will 100% be coming back here.

hiking
1 month ago

This is an awesome hike. It is a hard hike with very rewarding views. I don’t suggest this for anyone not conditioned for hard hikes.

Some parts of the trail are difficult to locate. Pay attention to your surroundings as it will make your return much easier. Be safe and bring a lunch.

#findsamsayers

Great trail but easily could be a difficult designation. The hike up to white pass is no joke. Great views on clear days, definitely a must do hike...

hiking
1 month ago

I do both lower and upper trail I like more the lower one batter view but what shack me is the huge water full hiding in the trail you will love it more of the lake

This was a great hike but it’s an ass kicker.
WARNING: As others have written, The trail distance info listed here as well as on the trailhead markers ARE INCORRECT!!!!
It’s exactly 4.2 HARD miles over Headley pass to the lake. Then another .7 miles to the summit.
Plan on 5 miles EACH WAY and spending the night at the lake is a good call.

Route finding experience is suggested but the trail is failed well marked with cairns on the boulder fields where it’s easy to get lost. While on the boulder fields keep your eyes peeled for these cairns and other hikers. We ran into several people who lost their way.

The trip was amazing but very crowded with helicopters & mountain rescue teams looking for the lost hiker.

hiking
1 month ago

It was an awesome hike! We took our young 5 year old and almost 7 year old and they agreed! The waterfalls on the way and the lake at the top was a perfect place for lunch! Can’t wait until they are a little bit older and we can backpack and tent it up there!!

backpacking
1 month ago

It was quite a hike the way up there, but the view was definitely worth it! Took a dip in the cold water - felt amazing after the long hike :)

Day one from trailhead to White Pass is a hard push up, up, up through endless switchbacks. I was rewarded with the most awesome spring trickling down the mountain as I reached the Pacific Crest Trail. The campsite was buggy, so my $1.50 mosquito head net was totally worth it, Wearing long sleeves and long pants were also necessary due to biting flies. However, the temperature was about 70 degrees despite being 91 degrees down in Darrington.
Day 2 was my favorite due to plentiful wild flowers still in bloom and tons of marmots scrambling along directly on the trail. We never had to filter water at the stagnant ponds; there were trickling springs at multiple spots. There is a good one immediately after leaving the PCT and heading towards Pilot Ridge. We took the high route to Blue Lake. It is a strenuous, fully exposed hike, but doable. We only lost the trail at the very top for a bit. We easily re-found the trail. (I would NOT do this route in snow.) The camp sites are good. The lake is beautiful. It was refreshing to soak my feet.
On Day 3, we totally missed the trail leaving Blue Lake, because there are many crisscrossing trails through camp.. We had heard of this based on reviews on other websites and we STILL missed the trail. This is where Alltrails SAVED me. I was recording the route on my phone. I could see where I was and where I was supposed to be. We just headed in the direction we needed to go across a random wild flower laden mountainside. We could not see the trail until we were five feet from it. So again, the Alltrails app saved me. The rest of the day was not very spectacular. It is mostly just a lot of downward hiking. When you reach the river at the bottom, there is not bridge -- jsut fallen logs. When you cross the logs, there is no trail up to the trail that takes you home. You have to bushwack your your way to the trail.

backpacking
1 month ago

We went yesterday and had a lot of fun! We did both Upper and Lower Elliott. Lower is the more scenic one, but also a little more difficult, but I'd recommend doing both. It took us about 5 hours total, but we also hung out at the top for an hour or so. We did hear someone say they had seen Elliott the bear on the Lower trail, but sadly, or thankfully, we did not see him. The view is worth the hike and the trail itself is also pretty fun. I will say the road getting there could use a lot of work. We were in a Jeep, but I think any car could make it, just drive slow.

Loved the lake, the waterfalls and the forest. Did not love the bugs.

hiking
1 month ago

A nice scenic easy hike with a great lake view and well-maintained trail. Take Upper Elliot if you want to skip the crowds, but Lower Elliot has better scenery. If you continue to follow the trail after you get to the lake for about a half mile it will get very dense and you'll need to do some easy scrambling, but you'll eventually pop out on a really nice flat rock overlooking the lake that is perfect to dive off of. Worth it? Debatable. Saw several trout come up to the surface to take flies, so if you're into fishing you might want to bring a rod! The black flies were pretty bad on the trail and around the lake when we were there a few days ago. Beware of the bear and everyone trying to get selfies for Instagram.

We didn’t hike it unfortunately. Bear was angerly breaking into the restroom yesterday. Boo.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked this yesterday with my pup. You don't need a 4x4 to get there, but if you have a low clearance vehicle you're definitely going to scrape in a few spots. Don't let the distance and elevation fool you, this is a real hike. I recorded 13.9km round trip, which is over 50% more than the distance listed here, I think the distance listed here goes straight through a lot of the switchbacks. I guess I wasn't paying attention in the beginning, because when I came to the 4th stream crossing I continued the trail along the creek for a little bit until it got really dense and clear that it wasn't the route. Make sure that when you get to the 4th stream, you drop down and cross it on the easy log crossing. The rest of the trail was easy to follow for me, but I can understand how people get lost in the boulder fields. The GPS route from OpenStreetMaps seems spot-on, so if in doubt, download that to your phone or watch before heading out. The trip up the snow was fine in trail runners with poles as there were already a lot of steps and the snow was quite soft, but if you do this early with a crust you will probably want microspikes.

Really excellent scenery the entire hike, but make sure to give yourself enough time to enjoy it. I think I did a decent pace and it's a solid 6 hour hike not including breaks. Spent 45 minutes on the peak to take some photos and hang out. Definitely one of my new favorite hikes in this area!

backpacking
2 months ago

My husband and I loved this place! Totally worth the hike. Clear waters and beautiful mountains reflecting off the lake! Lots of shade along the hike and camp area. The hike up there was tough, as we were carrying heavy packs. A breeze going back though. You'll be hiking mostly along the water if you go the lower Elliot route. It's more scenic than the upper Elliot trail and about a half mile shorter! Lots of mosquitoes on the trail but not really at the lake or camp area. Lacks some signs toward the end, if you get lost by the water fall, back track and look for a trail on your right, it's very close. No signs of Elliot the bear! Saw some salamanders (:

July 21, 2018: This trail is no slouch.
Road to the TH is your typical Cascade dirt road; leave your Aston Martin at home.
Several rushing water crossings in the first mile, each with a different method of traversing but nothing too crazy.
Once out of the woods the relentless climb starts, often over rocky, faintly established trails. The cairns never steered us wrong. The switchbacks at Headlee Pass in particular are just stupid steep.
The rocks eventually give way to snow, which was easy to navigate until the final giant slope just before the summit. It looks like it's every hiker for themselves at that part because there's no established trail; all the footprints go straight up, several different routes. Spikes and trekking poles would help here. The wife used both whereas I only used my spikes. We glissaded down, because why not.
Our view from the summit in one direction (I think ESE) was obscured by low cloud cover, which was a bummer given all the work it took to get up there!

hiking
2 months ago

This was a great hike! We did it last Saturday (7/14) and really enjoyed ourselves. The trail is extremely well-maintained and flat until the very end, where there’s a slight incline up to the lake. When you reach this part, there’s a fork in the road. We encountered several groups here debating over which route to take, as the trail isn’t clear. They went left, we went right. Left leads you to the trail and up some switchbacks, right leads you past a gorgeous waterfall and there’s a bit of a steep path that eventually leads you up to the trail if you’re willing to climb a bit (bushwhacking). It’s nothing crazy, but if you want to stay on the actual trail, I would go left. The lake itself is gorgeous—when you arrive there, keep walking for a bit past the crowds to find a more secluded spot. Pack a lunch and a raft if you want to hang out in the water. We saw several people floating and I was jealous we forgot to do this!

Like several others have mentioned, there were at least two bears in the area. We saw some fresh scat about a mile outside the lake, and then there was a small black bear wandering around the camp near the lake when we arrived. We didn’t see either, but everyone we talked to had. Bring some bear mace (and a bell if you like) and you should be fine!

hiking
2 months ago

Took this hike this past Sunday, the hike was very beautiful and the dense canopy provided necessary shade in the hot weather. I got to the trailhead at around 3:00, and reached the lake via lower Elliot by 5:30. I ate dinner near the lake and took in the beautiful views, and left the lake around 6:00. I reached the parking lot via the lower Elliot at 7:45 (last car in the lot), but the trail was getting very dark, fast, due to the trees. I did spot two piles of fresh bear poop on the trail and a very large paw print, so that sped my walk back quite a bit. Overall, a very nice hike, I would recommend getting to the trailhead at no later than noon to leave enough time to enjoy the walk, the views, and the lake.

hiking
2 months ago

Got there on a Sunday morning around 815 and there were plenty of parking spots available. We took upper Elliot both on the way up and down and got in 11 miles. No bear to be seen! It definitely warmed up by the time we got back to the cars, so bring plenty of water, or there’s plenty of sources for filtering water if need be.

Its a very good hike it’s not that hard I really liked it

We came down from BC to do this over the weekend! Got a late start (6:45) - we took upper Elliot trail on the way up and it took us 2hr15min. Got there just in time to watch the sunset behind the lake and find a spot for our tent before dark. It was busy but no problem finding a place to camp. We took lower Elliot on the way down and it was nice walking by the creek (1hr 45 min).
We didn’t see the bear !

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