Day Hike Brand Ambassador, Christina continued to enjoy Pacific Northwest splendor during August! Bugs and tough road to the trailhead weren’t going to stop her and we appreciate her tenacity! Where did you get out to over Labor Day weekend? Enjoy #TwoBeersInTheWild at your next summit and share with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
Hidden Lake Lookout
Region: North Cascades
Difficulty of Hike: Medium
Distance Round Trip: 8 miles
Did you encounter any of the following on your hike? Wildflowers
Road conditions to trailhead: High clearance vehicle recommended
Bugs: Bugs were an annoyance
Trail Condition: Trail in good condition
Distance from Seattle: 2.5 hours
I’ve wanted to do this hike for more than two years, which is when we attempted to make it up the road in our Prius and had to turn around. This time I was in a 4WD truck and we did great, even though some spots were still tricky. We saw some smaller SUVs parked on the road before a particularly big divot in the road, presumably because they couldn’t make it up.
Once at the trailhead (we arrived at about 11:30am), the bugs were definitely out but not as worse as they had been on hikes the previous two days. The first part of the trail is in a nice covered forest with some fun boardwalks. After this, prepare for no consistent shade the rest of the trail. Next you weave through switchbacks through fields of wildflowers, which was magical, as were the views, which were definitely obscured by smoke but still sweeping views. You gain some elevation quickly here and it’s quite hot in the afternoon sun. Every once in a while you catch a tree or boulder to crouch under. Eventually the trail flattens but heads over a rocky boulder field where you have to cross over some streams and around some patches of snow.
You switchback again and then head up a ridge. From here, you enter a huge boulder field area, and I didn’t actually know where the trail was. There were various cairns and trails… I waited until I saw folks coming down… and now I know why I couldn’t see the trail! It’s still a snow field to get up the lake overlook, but it is very easy without any gear (though a bit steep, not dangerous at all). After this you reach a great stopping point for those who want to. You can look down over the lake and around at surrounding peaks (obscured partially on this day by smoke, again). We eventually rambled up to the right to the look out tower. It is a series of steep switchbacks on sandy terrain–use caution! You eventually scramble over some big boulders to get to the look out. There was already a couple set up in there, at around 2pm on a Sunday. I didn’t stay in too long because it was smelly from recent paint. The views are even more dramatic here. Can’t wait to go up on a clear day. Apparently going to the left at the overlook will lead to to the true summit of the Hidden Lake Peak. Will do that next time too!
Also, some may look at the this hikes stats and think it is comparable to something like Mount Si… it isn’t. Though nearly identical, this hike is more exposed and has steeper sections with more varied terrain that can be a little more difficult to manage.