General Considerations

  • Time and distance? When kids are young, a mile hike on level ground could present a serious challenge. As they gain strength and experience, you might have to limit mileage to what you can handle.

  • Attention span? Some kids will be fully into it every moment, while others, particularly younger ones, can overload quickly.

  • What kind of terrain? A steep and stony route can be demanding for anybody, but dangerous for kids that are tired and unable to concentrate on what they are doing. But some kids thrive on extra challenge and need it to maintain interest.

  • What level of past experience? Hiking and backpacking are gradually acquired skills. Young hikers will appreciate more challenging trips as they develop skills for identifying plants and animals, reading maps, recognizing local geographical features, leading the group, packing and using equipment.

  • Are there points of special interest? A trip with interesting features (like sparkling rocks, a tiny waterfall, bold camp robber jays, or a clear overview of the trailhead below) might seem easier.

  • You have to get yourselves out at the end of the day. Reaching any specific objective is secondary.

With the considerations above in mind, the rest of this page suggests day trips that kids are likely to appreciate.

 


Trips are cross-referenced to geographic regions.

Be sure to check the main hiking section pages for more specific information about these hikes.

Trips suggested in the Camping for Kids page can be viable options for day hikes, but the destination might be something like a creek-side camp to stop for lunch.

The listed mileages are round-trip, assuming that you reach the suggested destinations.


 

 

Region 1 - Middle Fork

Warning! Trails in this area are not currently accessible. The Middle Fork Road was severely damaged by washouts during the 2019-2020 winter. Expect the road to be gated 3 miles from I-90, shortly beyond the Mailbox Peak lot.

 

1. Middle Fork River - 4.0

Warning! The Middle Fork Trail, from the main trailhead to the Dingford Creek bridge was closed in July 2019, and remains closed, for separate unspecified reasons related to landslide danger.

With a smooth hard-surfaced Middle Fork Road getting you 12 miles from the 468th exit from I-90 to this trailhead, and with ample parking, this is one of the most accessible trails in the Cascades. Leave the Middle Fork trailhead parking lot, and cross the Middle Fork River on an impressive suspension foot bridge. At the other side, go left, as far as you want. There's not anything particularly spectacular. Beware, it is open to bicycle traffic on odd-numbered days, so plan going on the even-numbered days. Most of the trail is in deep river canyon second growth, with lots of hardwoods, some redwoods, and some natural pines. In general, not a lot of open views, no stunning old growth like further upstream. So, best to plan on going a couple of miles, stopping for lunch at the first major creek crossing / washout.

 

2. Pratt River Connector - 3.0
See the road closure warning above! From the Middle Fork River trailhead, cross the suspension foot bridge, but at the other side of the Middle Fork River take an immediate right turn. The recently rebuilt / widened trail goes three miles to connect with the Pratt River trail, but the parts that you are likely to care about are along the first 1.5 miles. There is a strong feeling of the river's presence. There is an interesting foot bridge at Rainy Creek. A stony wash at 1.5 miles is a good place to stop for lunch or to view the river. However, the stones are broken, sharp, and unstable. This is not a safe place for river access. So stay safely back from the river's edge.

 

3. CCC road - north- 2.0
See the road closure warning above! From the Middle Fork River trailhead, turn away from the Middle Fork River and walk out the main entrance road of the trailhead area. Just across the Middle Fork Road, locate an access trail leading to the north part of the CCC road/trail. The experimental forest management activity in this area has been largely successful. Though not jammed with brush and forest debris like most nearby areas, a natural feel is maintained. There are patches of thick moss blankets, and keep your eyes open for colorful (and deadly!) mushrooms and other fungus. The trail heads nowhere in particular; when you reach the actual CCC Trail at a T intersection, you can go left to a stony clear-running little creek; or you can go right to end up at the Taylor River campground. About the same distance either way. It is a short and gentle trip that younger ones can appreciate.

 

4. Taylor River to Marten Creek- 6.0
See the road closure warning above! Drive the Middle Fork River Road. Pass the Middle Fork Trailhead area, onto rougher unpaved road. Continue about 0.9 miles to reach the primitive Taylor River trailhead area. Walk past the vehicle barrier and cross over the concrete bridge to begin the hike on restricted forest road. At about 0.5 miles, stay straight ahead, do not swing left with the road up along Quartz Creek. The deteriorating historical road above the river, gradually converting itself into a worthwhile trail, is occasionally rough, but on a very gentle grade. At 3.0 miles, reach the wooden bridge across Marten Creek. Look closely, and count how many trout are swimming in the pool below the bridge. The kids will also have a good time scrambling on big logs and stable boulders to see "The Chute," a water-slide falls that feeds the pool.

 

 

Region 2 - Bandera

5. Mason Lake / Bandera Mountain - 7.2
Turn north at exit 45 from Interstate 90, and follow the road to the left to the Ira Spring trailhead at the end — large, but almost always full. Find the start of the trail at the far end. This is what I call a jogger trail, flat and wide, but there is plenty of elevation to gain. At the last switchback before the long grade that reaches the ridge, there is a rude side trail that beats a direct uphill line with minimal solid footing; great views at the ridge top, but not everybody appreciates the extra 700 feet of harsh elevation gain. Stay on the main trail, and it will take you over a lower portion of the ridge and down a couple of short switchbacks to arrive at Mason Lake, 3.6 miles. Cross over the outlet creek on flat-topped rocks. Continue around the lake to the left about halfway to stable piles of large boulders, a good place for a lunch stop. Mason Lake is a chilly but feasible swim (sometimes).

 

6. Talapus Lake - 3.6
Turn north at exit 45 from Interstate 90, and follow the road to the left toward the Ira Spring trailhead. In about 0.8 miles, take the fork to the right. Follow up the hill to the end and limited parking. The trail is steep, and not very smooth, but mastered with a little dedication. This is a pretty and very popular location, so not very private. There is an interesting view of a boulder wall on the north end of the lake. Wading or swimming is often done but seldom understood, given the chilly water.

 

 

Region 3 - North Fork Snoqalmie

7. Loch Katrine - 7.6
Imagine the audacity of charging you eight bucks to visit your own property! Well, that's how it is now with Campbell Global, a holding company with the goal of wiping timber off the west slopes of the Cascades as quickly as possible. If you must indulge them, go north on Ballarat Road out of North Bend. At Ernie's Grove, angle left steeply up the hill where the road becomes the North Fork County Road. Pavement soon ends. Follow this road 14 miles to cross the Wagner High Bridge above the North Fork Snoqualmie River. Go up a steep grade on the other side, then level out, after 2.0 more miles reaching a very wide log truck landing (no trucks!) on the left. There is a slanting gated road on the other side. Park in a corner of the wide area. Hike up the slanting road. At 1.0 miles, take the road fork to the left. Climb gradually, rising above desolation. There are views of distant intact peaks as you go, the Sunday Creek basin and Goat Mountain, as you dodge between the eager little trees that are not cleared using the money you pay. As you approach an elevation almost even to a prominent minor peak on your left, the road curls away to the right; look down the left shoulder of the road here for a side trail of length about 150 yards to reach the lake. It is real slice of wilderness, it is lovely, it is lonesome, it has wild trout. It is outrageous that we allow this to be held hostage by commercial exploitation.

 

8. Bear Creek - 8.8
This is a worthy project hike for the adventurous, experienced, and fully fit — to one of the prettiest viewpoints in the state. Go north on Ballarat Road out of North Bend. At Ernie's Grove, angle left steeply up the hill where the road becomes the North Fork County Road. Pavement soon ends. Follow this road 14 miles to cross the Wagner High Bridge above the North Fork Snoqualmie River. Continue 5.5 more miles, to a square left turn at a gravel pit. Cross a low bridge over Lennox Creek. Just beyond, turn right. It is 3.2 miles along narrow and sometimes scary road to limited trailhead parking. If you thought you earned your stripes driving, the fun just begins. There is a safe but entertaining creek crossing on rocks and logs at 0.6 miles. The steep, rough road-turned-trail becomes better and vastly more interesting at 1.2 miles as you cross the creek on a rickety looking foot bridge. Watch your step as you pass through the more-than-head-high bracken ferns. At about 2.2 miles, turn left on an acute switchback. Now, begin an ascent, gaining 1800 feet elevation in the next 2.2 miles, with around 60 switchback legs (depending on which ones you care to count). When you reach the peak of Bare Mountain (oddly, not "Bear Mountain") there is an old lookout site, with remaining bits of foundation and grounding wires. Views are expansive, to McClain Peaks and Lennox Mountain, into the basin, and down to the Paradise Lakes. The return trip seems longer, but much easier.

 

Region 4 - Snoqualmie Pass

9. Snow Lake - 6.4
This is an amazing pretty lake, worth the experience, but you will only be one among thousands of visitors each year, so expect no solitude. Leave I-90 at exit 52, the Snoqualmie Ski Area exit, and go north to the Alpenthal Ski Area. Its parking lot serves as the dry season trailhead lot for Snow Lake. The trailhead is across from the lot entrance. After an initial climb on some short switchbacks, the trail gets to business along a firm rocky grade. At 1.9 miles, reach some imposing cliffs. Keep to the right and climb the more direct (maintained) route through three switchbacks to arrive at the ridge top, 2.5 miles. There are some good views here — some people stop, but you can continue. The other side descends about 400 feet on more switchbacks, approaching the lake shore at 3.2 miles. There are side routes down for lake access here if you wish, or you can continue to less busy places further around the lake.

 

10. Annette Lake - 8.0 mi
This is a good day hike, busy, but far less crowded than Snow Lake only a few miles away. The trailhead is on the south side of I-90 right at exit 48, about 4 miles west of the Snoqualmie Pass summit. There is a moderate but substantial uphill trek. Older kids and experienced younger kids can handle it. You can find a nice spot for lunch close to the place where the trail arrives at the lake. Sometimes there is algae floating in the shallow water, but depending on how the wind blows, wading is an option.

 

11. Commonwealth Basin - 7.8
This is one that experienced hikers can enjoy. Leave I-90 at Snoqualmie Pass exit 52. Go to the north side toward Alpenthal, a few hundred feet, and turn right to the signed, spacious PCT / Commonwealth trailhead. The trail shares the first 2.2 miles with the Crest Trail. At the Y junction, continue on the left fork, descending slightly to follow Commonwealth Creek. At mile 3.1, the trail gets mean and rough, climbing almost 900 feet in 0.8 miles. You will feel it. But there will be respite, as you reach a cute tarn nestled below the summit of colorful Red Mountain. Not enough? Explore further along unmaintained trail up to the ridge for close-up views of Red Mountain and Lundin Peak.

 

12. Gold Creek Pond - 1.0
A loop! But its's a short one, suitable for the very young ones, or as a short leg-stretcher for older ones. Take the Gold Creek exit from I-90, the next one east of Hyak. From the freeway exit, go north. Follow as the road swings right, east. In approximately 0.9 miles, take the left turn to a forest road. Go about 0.7 more miles to the elaborate parking area. The cute (not obviously artificial) pond in a safe "natural area" is typically occupied by waterfowl. The trail is hard-packed surfaces, wheelchair accessible, small kid friendly.

 

13. Twin Lakes / Lake Lillian - 6.2 / 7.6
Take the Gold Creek exit from I-90, the next one east of Hyak. From the freeway exit, go north. Follow as the road swings right, east. Continue straight ahead about 2.7 miles. Reach a switchback turn to the left. As the road climbs there are more turns: right, then left. Again, right then left. At the next bend, exit left into the ample trailhead parking along the end of an abandoned road segment. Follow the main road on foot a couple tenths of a mile to the true trailhead, and then proceed left and up the hill through brush of a barely recovering clearcut, 2.0 miles. About 0.2 miles along the ridge top, you can optionally scramble up to the top of Mt. Margaret for high views. At 3.1 miles, reach the little Twin Lakes. Wander to the other side of the lakes, a nice place for a lunch stop. Or, if you prefer a longer outing, continue along roughly level grade for 0.7 more miles to experience cold and stark Lilian Lake.

 

 

Region 5 - Kachess Lake

14. Rachel Lake - 7.6
Suitable only for stronger, more experienced, sure-footed kids. With an early start, this is a tough but achievable destination when carrying just a day pack. From I-90 exit 62, drive to the Kachess Lake state park/campground, and at that entrance swing away left and uphill. Only a short distance beyond that, take the next right turn up Box Creek road, and follow it to the large trailhead lot at the end. The first 3 miles of the hike are a breeze, with level grade and occasional crossings of small creeks. The last mile is barely more than a scramble through twisted roots, over stones, through oozing mud. Rachel Lake, however, might make it all worthwhile. Freeze your feet in the crystal water, but swimming is probably a very bad idea. Continuing the climb to the magical Rampart Lakes would put the day's mileage well over 11 miles, probably beyond the range of all but a few.

 

 

Region 6 - Teanaway

15. Bean Basin / Bean Peak - 4.8 / 7.2
Exceptionally pretty and relatively quiet given the low mileage, but be respectful of the fragile high meadows. Drive the Teanaway River road to pass the old 29 Pines campground site. Where the road forks, continue on the (rough) left fork. Continue about 2.2 miles more, and take the side road on the right, possibly unmarked. Go up the hill 1.3 miles to the Beverly Creek trailhead. Begin the hike by crossing the footbridge. Follow the right side of the creek 0.5 miles. It looks like you could cross the creek here, but instead stay to the right. The grade steepens significantly, with occasional hops across the creek, no particular difficulty in middle to late summer. At 2.0 miles, there is a signed trail junction and another hop-and-jump creek crossing; keep left and do not cross. Reach the meadows in about 0.4 more miles. From here, you can cross down carefully to the shade of trees at the bottom edge of the meadow. Those with extra energy can stay on the uphill track 1.2 more miles to the ridge for a possible scramble to the top of Bean Peak.

 

16. Ingalls Lake - 8.4
This is serious adventure trip for experienced older kids with extra energy. Drive the Teanaway River Road. At the Y intersection just beyond the 29 Pines camp site, stay right. Follow ahead to the end of the road. Hike 0.3 miles, and take the clearly-marked Ingalls Lake trail up to the right. Up is the operative word here. Grind out 1.3 miles to reach the junction with the Longs Pass Trail; stay left. Grind out another 1.5 miles to reach Ingalls Pass. Congratulate yourself for surviving the 2000 feet of elevation gain. Descend the other side, and take the left trail fork, staying high. Continue until your arrive at Ingalls Lake at 4.2 miles. The view to Mt. Stuart across the lake is a photographic classic.

 

17. Way Creek - 4.0
This was once a slam-dunk choice, a short trail, smooth grade, a bubbling river half-knee deep. But that was before the fires that came through in 2018. Has it completely changed the character of the area? I don't yet know. Drive the Teanaway River Road. At the Y intersection just beyond the 29 Pines camp site, take the road fork to the left, the Jungle Creek Road. This will gradually swing toward the west. Continue 4.2 miles to the end of this road. The trail continues down the hill to the west at an even pace, 2.0 miles, dropping 750 feet elevation to reach the Middle Fork Teanaway River. There used to be a camp, before the fire. Follow the river trail to the right for shore access.

 

 

Region 7 - Mt Daniel

18. Lower Hyas Lakes - 3.2 mi
This is a shorter hike, but the point of this trip is to play in the water on a sunny day. From Cle Elum, drive (slowly) through the little towns of Roslyn and Ronald, then up the east bank of Cle Elum Lake. When you reach the Salmon La Sac recreation area, look for the rough Cle Elum River Road heading uphill to the right. Rough is understatement. Go slowly and carefully about 13 miles to the miserable trailhead parking at the very end of the road. From here, the easy and well-trodden trail reaches recreational access at Hyas Lake in about 1.6 miles. Bring food, drink, swim wear. And please, help keep the lake area clean.

 

19. Pete Lake - 8.0
This is much easier than the mileage might suggest. Head toward the Salmon LaSac recreation area, about 17 miles along the east side of Cle Elum Lake on Hwy 903. Look for a left turn to Road 46 across the Cle Elum river on a major concrete bridge. Follow this roughly 4.7 miles to a marked right turn toward Cooper Lake. Take this road straight through to the last large trailhead lot at the end. The trail is wide and easy, one of the easiest wilderness trails in the state, though sometimes smelly from the yellow bricks dropped by saddle stock. There is a wide and gravelly shoreline area where the trail reaches the lake — a good place to cool the feet as you absorb the views of the high Snoqualmie peaks.

 

20. Cooper River - 6.0
This is a short low-country hike, easy to reach, easy to do; but it can get very warm! Drive into the Salmon La Sac recreation area from the east side of Cle Elum Lake, staying right until you arrive at the trailhead parking. It is busy, but usually there is enough room to park if you arrive early. Follow the signs to reach the trail system. In about 0.1 miles, reach a major, signed trail intersection. Go left, and stay left. Move upstream above the Cooper River, gradually gaining about 400 feet elevation. Then descend about 100 feet to comfortable riverside rocks, 2.2 miles. This is a reasonable place to stop, but you can continue on if you wish. At 3.0 miles, cross the road and continue on the trail to Cooper Lake, or as far as you want to go.

 

 

Region 8 - Skykomish

21. Trout Lake - 2.8
Take the Foss River Road exit from Highway 2, about 2 miles east of the town of Skykomish. At about 1.2 miles, the road bends to the right. At about 4.5 miles, at a road fork, take the left branch. Continue 2.0 more miles to the trailhead lot at the end. As long as you go no further than Trout Lake, the trail is short and sweet, generally easy and well surfaced. Beyond the lake, the uphill grade goes savage, generally not recommended for kids. The view is limited but pretty. The lake is not very accessible, but at least you can see it as you enjoy lunch.

 

 

 

22. Tonga Ridge - 6.0
This is very popular as a day hike, because you start high on the mountain, and the trail quickly opens up to expansive views. Take the Foss River Road exit from Highway 2, about 2 miles east of the town of Skykomish. At about 1.2 miles, swing right, heading more southerly. At 2.5 miles, take the log-truck-friendly left turn, and begin climbing a 4.6 mile upward grade. When you reach a "T" intersection, go right, and very shortly beyond that, take the next left. Follow this (mostly) to the end and park along the road, the best you can. As you begin the hike, the trail takes a bit of mild elevation gain, then levels out for the rest of the way to meadows. There are lots of convenient flat places to stop for lunch, and by mid-August, you should also find bushloads of large sweet berries as a distraction.

 

 

Region 9 - Surprise Creek

23. Lake Susan Jane - 6.0 miles
This hike is different because of the way it navigates through the Stevens Pass ski area, which looks very different during summer months with snow and ski activity gone. Go to the ski parking lot on the south side of the highway. Somewhat near the main lodge area, find a road ramping up to the second level of parking. About halfway along that lot, find the Pacific Crest Trail going south with plenty of parking space nearby. The first 1.8 miles climb to a shoulder of Cowboy Mountain, and you can look down into the Mill Creek valley on the other side. This is a quite satisfactory place to stop and take in the views with lunch. But if you want more, the switchbacks down the other side are gentle. They take you under the snapping high-voltage power lines, along the edge of the high creek basin, and back up a short way on the other side, reaching Lake Susan Jane in 1.2 more miles — a good destination for the day, though the really hard core hikers can wander further along the Crest Trail.

 

24. Tunnel Creek / Hope Lake - 3.0 mi
This is a vigorous hike, but not long, on a relative steep and narrow trail. Even so, it doesn't really deserve the "difficult" rating that the Forest Service gives it. Take obscure forest road 6095 to the right at the cusp of the hairpin corner where Highway 2 bends left to begin its upward climb on the west side of Stevens Pass. Coming down from the east, you must go further west to clear the divided highway, where you can make a U-turn after all of the traffic has cleared. Once on the narrow forest road, go straight about 0.5 miles. A bend to the right crosses a rickety looking bridge, and then a broader bend to the left returns almost to the original direction. Continue 0.7 more miles. There is a side road to the left with an unbelievable steep grade. Gear down to low and take your time driving up about 150 yards. After the road swings left and levels, park beside the road where you can. The trailhead marker is at that final bend. Attentively gain 1200 feet elevation in 1.5 miles to reach Hope Lake at the junction with the Pacific Crest Trail. There is a nice spot for lunch by a large rock, or go to the right and follow the foot path to visit the far side of the lake.

 

 

Region 10 - Beckler River

25. Johnson Ridge / Scorpion Mountain - 8.0
This is a rather moderate ridge-top hike, similar to Tonga Ridge because of starting high, but staying mostly on the ridge top in variable tree cover. Take the Beckler River Road north from Skykomish for 7 miles. Paving ends at a 3-way junction, with two roads turning right; take the rightmost. Go 2.8 miles, reaching the junction with road 6520; stay left, and continue 4.2 more miles to sufficient parking high on the ridge at the end. Foot traffic has beaten a well-defined path through gravelly clear cut damage for the first 0.7 miles. The trail then becomes more natural, following along the ridge, mildly up and down, as it heads east. Near the finish, pass across some high open meadows to reach a rounded rib of Scorpion Mountain; go left, and it is an easy 0.1 mile up to its rounded summit. Great views to Glacier Peak country to the northeast. Down to the east, overlook little Joan Lake. If you have plenty of extra energy, add a mile of steeper slopes to your trip agenda and you can drop down to visit the lake.

 

26. Skyline Lake - 2.6
This is a nice side trip when visiting the Stevens Pass area in the summer. Park your vehicle in the north side lot. There will be more than plenty of room there. Walk toward the foot overpass, but turn away from it to the dirt utility road heading into forest on the right. It passes between various buildings, eventually past all of them, and winds its way up the slope to the north. At 1.1 miles, as it seems you are nearing the top, take the obscure fork to the left for 0.2 more miles, where you reach the small lake. The water is clear, and there are plenty of hopping stones along the shore, but you will probably not be inspired to swim amidst thousands of dancing mayflies. They won't bite, but you might not feel so sure about that.

 

27. Lake Valhalla via Smithbrook - 6.0
While Lake Janus is a more friendly place for camping, the stark scenery of its neighbor to the south, Lake Valhalla, offers a more intriguing day hike destination. (A longer approach is also available from Stevens Pass via the Pacific Crest Trail north trailhead.) Take the Smithbrook Road exit from Highway 2, about 4 miles east of Stevens Pass (in the divided highway section). Go 2.8 miles to the large parking area on the left. The trail weaves gently up to Union Gap at 1.2 miles. Go left, passing on the east side of the crest, on an almost level course high above Smith Brook Creek. Reach a low saddle at 2.7 miles with a scenic lake overview. Continue over the pass and descend to a side trail, about 0.2 more miles to some open meadows where there are side routes down to the lake shore.

 

 

Region 14 - French Creek

28. Icicle Canyon - 3.5
A loop! This popular, accessibility-rated trail makes a good introductory trip for inexperienced hikers. Take the Icicle Creek Road south out of Leavenworth and follow 15 miles to the Chatter Creek Guard Station (usually not manned except holidays and special traffic situations). A short half mile beyond that, look for a large and well signed, but often busy, trailhead lot. The loop can be walked in either direction, but I recommend clockwise. Head downstream, slowly descending to a foot bridge across the canyon. Marvel at how the water has chewed gashes out of solid rock below. On the other side, head back upstream, with occasional views. Cross Jack Creek on a foot bridge, and at about 2.2 miles reach the road and the concrete vehicle bridge at the Rock Island Camp. With reasonable supervision, kids can experience the biting cold water of Icicle Creek (well named!) from the rocks near the bridge. Across the bridge, just beyond the camp and picnic area, find the continuation of the trail for the 1.3 mile return leg of the trip.

 

29. Icicle to French Creek - 3.2
This is a short hike, suitable for very little ones, with almost enough little creeks and bridges and large trees to hold some interest. But it can get very dry and dusty in late summer. Drive the Icicle Creek Road south out of Leavenworth. Cross the bridge at the Rock Island Campground, keeping right at the other side. Go 2 more miles to the lot at the road end. The hike is relatively featureless, often hot, but it goes fast. Where the trail arrives at French Creek, there are dusty camps, logs, and rocky spots near the creek that work fine for a lunch. Because the area has been so vigorously beaten down by so many feet, for so many years, much of the area is marked as a "recovery zone" for vegetation regrowth. You MUST stay within designated access areas.

 

30. Jack Creek - 7.2 - 10.0
This is unusual, a horse-friendly trail that is not severely mangled, and rarely crowded. Perhaps it is because the hooves don't chop the intensely groomed and hardened trail? Or is it that there is no particularly appealing destination to draw heavy traffic? In any case, drive the Icicle Creek Road south out of Leavenworth. Just after crossing Icicle Creek on the concrete bridge at Rock Island Campground, take the next turn left. Follow this to the well-marked Trout Creek / Jack Creek trailhead. Despite some elevation gain, the grade is very mild, so mileage is barely a factor. At 1.6 miles, reach the marked fork to the Trout Creek trail (a reasonable alternative, another 0.9 miles to reach views and plausible off-trail spots for lunch). Continue right and go 2.0 miles on yet easier grade to reach a creek-side camp above the creek. Probably a good place to stop, but if you want more, there are more creek-side sites over the next 1.3 miles to choose from.

 

 

Region 15 - Enchantments

31. Eightmile Lake - 6.0
This is in the Enchantments Area; day hiking only, special permits required to reserve overnight camping.
This could be a very pretty lake and a good swim, but don't plan on it, since grandfathered water "reclamation" projects are likely drawing water levels down severely, and there could be heavy construction activity at the lake outlet. Drive the Icicle Creek Road south out of Leavenworth. At 1.5 miles beyond the Eightmile Campground, turn left, descending to cross the bridge over Icicle Creek. Begin climbing on steeper and rougher forest road. Find trailhead parking on the left side of the road 3.0 miles from Icicle Creek. Parts of the area along this trail were burnt by the Jack Creek fire in 2017, but it was a good burn, promising new life to come. The trail goes uphill mildly, passing the Little Eightmile Lake at 2.5 miles, where you could stop if you wished. But why not continue the extra 0.5 miles to visit the main lake? This is an interesting geological crash site, with clearly different kinds of rocks on the opposing sides of the lake valley.

 

32. Stuart Lake - 8.6
This is in the Enchantments Area; day hiking only, special permits required to reserve overnight camping.
Follow driving directions to the Eightmile Lake Trailhead, but continue 3/4 miles further to the Stuart/Colchuck Trailhead. This area is also on the fringes of the Jack Creek fire from 2017. The first 1.5 miles follow the creek, but the next 0.8 miles begin a more serious climb. At the top of the grade, reach a marked trail junction with the Colchuck Lake trail. Stay right. The trail is quick and near level for the next 2.0 miles to the lake. Very pretty, tucked deep in the valley below Mt. Stuart.

 

33. Colchuck Lake - 8.6
This is in the Enchantments Area; day hiking only, special permits required to reserve overnight camping.
This is a gorgeous destination, but distance and elevation make it suitable only for experienced and stronger hikers. Follow driving directions to the Stuart/Colchuck Trailhead. The first 2.3 miles are the same as the Stuart Lake hike, but turn left onto the Colchuck Lake Trail. It is good firm trail, well trodden, oft trodden, the same distance as Stuart Lake... but only if you disregard the 1100 additional feet in the vertical direction! Colchuck Lake is incredibly beautiful, with Dragontail and Colchuck Peak towering above the lake's powder blue water on one side, Jack Ridge on the other.

 

 

Region 16 - Nason Creek

34. Lanham Lake - 3.6 mi
It's a nice, high alpine lake, under big trees, not to busy, not too spectacular, and not too far to go. Being close to the pass and on the shady north side, it tends to be a cool spot later in a hot summer, but the water show along the creek is better in early summer. It does gain about 1100 feet elevation, however, so there is workout value. Take the Mill Creek Road exit from Highway 2. It is located 6 miles east of Stevens Pass, about 0.3 miles from the eastern end of the split highway. Coming from the east, a narrow left-exit access road goes across the split lanes; use it with caution. Go a short distance south on road FS 6960, then turn right into the Stevens Pass Nordic Area lot. The trailhead is located on the south edge of this lot. On the trail, you will pass under the power line right-of-way at 0.4 miles. There is plenty of climbing under old growth forest canopy. The grade eases a little on the final approach to the lake.

 

35. Merritt Lake - 6.6 mi
From Highway 2, turn north on a forest road about a mile east of the highway department sand facility, about 3.5 miles west of Merritt, about 2.5 miles west of the road-side custom knife shop. The road immediately swivels to the right and quickly turns ugly. Climb along the power line corridor, then double back under the lines to traverse the slopes on the most brutal, narrow, brushy section of the road. At 1.6 miles (it feels like 4) reach an ample parking area. The trail itself is smooth but relatively steep, gaining 1800 feet in 2.4 miles. At that point, beyond a marked trail junction, the trail swings right and becomes easier, reaching the lake in another 0.9 miles. Best to visit in early summer, just after the snow leaves, when the water is fresh and the air mountain crisp.

 

36. Whitepine Creek - 5.2 mi
The comfortable and spacious site at the once busy Whitepine Creek ford makes a super destination for rookie hikers as well as campers. They can practice crossing a creek safely in late summer when water flow is low and slow. Turn south off of Highway 2 at Whitepine Road, about 6.5 miles west of Coles Corner. (It is easy to miss.) Pass over Whitepine Creek on a stout steel bridge. Continue along the forest road on the other side, being careful not to stray onto side roads. The road becomes more primitive but more pleasant as you go, until you eventually at 3.8 miles reach the small but adequate trailhead lot. The trail has a few mild ups-and-downs, some peculiar moist spots, some prominent viewpoints, a fun rock-hop crossing of a small creek, and even one switchback! At 2.4 miles, reach a signed "Y" junction; go right, and drop 0.2 miles down to a comfortable open site beside the creek.

 

 

Region 17 - Lake Wenatchee

37. Dirtyface Falls - 2.0 / 4.0
(Warning: there have been reports of trail blockage above the falls. Come prepared with a backup plan, just in case.) This is relatively challenging for its short mileage. Take the Lake Wenatchee road north, 4.4 miles from Coles Corner on Highway 2, to a Y-junction marked "Fish Lake." Stay left. Go straight ahead another 4.4 miles up the east shore of Lake Wenatchee to reach a small USFS ranger station on the right. Turn right, and find the trailhead parking lot close by on the right side, rarely busy. The trail is insistent, gaining 800 feet in 1.0 miles to reach a waterfall along Fall Creek. There are good view here down to Lake Wenatchee. The more ambitious can continue another 1.0 mile to the ridge where the trail intersects an old road. The insanely dedicated can continue all the way to the abandoned lookout site on first high summit (oddly, not the true Dirtyface Peak summit).

 

38. Hidden Lake - 1.6
This is a very short hike, popular as an easy nature hike for young children. Take the Lake Wenatchee road WA-207 north from Coles Corner on Highway 2. Where the road forks, stay left. At 3.6 miles, turn left at the signs for the Lake Wenatchee Campground on Cedar Brae Road. Swing to the west and pass south of the campground, staying on Cedar Brae Road. Continue for 3.4 miles, where the pavement ends and the road becomes FR 6750. Go 0.4 miles beyond that, and take the left turn, 0.2 miles to a large looping trailhead area. The trail starts at the far end. The first half of the hike, about 0.4 miles, gains about 300 feet. The second half takes a square turn to the right and continues roughly level to reach the lake. The lake is pretty but shallow, mostly brushy around its shoreline. If this is nice, but not enough of a trip to fill your day, you could try the daily-double. Drive around to the other side of Lake Wenatchee, and visit the Dirtyface trail too.

 

39. Heather Lake - 6.0 mi
This is a better destination for day hiking than camping. The trail has a good mix of challenge and comfort, and there are good views up the windswept lake from ice-polished rocks where the trail arrives at the lake. Drive 1.0 miles beyond the far end of Lake Wenatchee. Take the left turn across the White River on the Little Wenatchee River Road. Follow it about 6.0 miles, and turn off to the left to cross the river on a bridge. Continue, now on the other side of the river, for 5 miles to a marked intersection at Lake Creek. Go left, 2.3 more miles to the trailhead. The trail features 1.0 mile of easy trail, 1.0 mile of steep switchbacks, and a mild final 1.0 miles, partly beside the creek, all of it in very pretty old growth forest. Swimming? Probably not...

 

 

Region 19 - Chiwawa River

40. Carne Mountain - 6.0 / 7.6 miles
This is a challenge suitable only for experienced older kids, with some really impressive views on an old lookout site. Take the Fish Lake turnoff from the Lake Wenatchee road, 4.4 miles from Coles Corner on Highway 2. At 1.3 miles along this road, take the left turn, marked "Cove Resort." Bypass the resort, go 3.3 miles and cross the Chiwawa River on a low bridge. Take the road fork left to the Chiwawa River Road. Continue north 19 miles on good road. Take the Phelps Creek road uphill to the right. Navigate large switchbacks, climbing 2.25 miles to the trailhead parking. Start up the trail 0.3 miles, then turn right onto the Carne Mountain Trail at a marked junction. Continue uphill vigorously, gaining 2500 feet in 2.5 miles to reach high meadows, with camps and water. Pass through the meadows, swinging right, and ascend toward a saddle just left of a secondary peak. If you have had enough, scrambling up to that prominence is a good way to end your climb. Otherwise, take the trail fork to the left just shy of the ridge, and follow it north 0.4 miles and 300 feet higher. From there, a 0.3 mile footpath reaches the lookout site at the Carne Mountain summit for the best of the views.