Total Ascent: 3400ft (2700ft in; 700ft out)
Highest Point: 4700ft
Total Distance: 7.5 miles
Location: N 47° 56.0760, W 121° 20.5920
Required Permit: Northwest Forest Pass
The bright blue skies of a September weekend were enough to push us to tackle an alpine lake that’s been on our list for years: Blanca Lake. The hike is known for the vivid colors of the lakewater and a relentless series of switchbacks gaining nearly 3000ft in three miles. We expected a challenge and Blanca Lake delivered.
We recommend this hike for most hikers, though some will find the elevation gain a little too taxing. Of course, as we mentioned, Lake Blanca attracts quite a few hikers, and you can expect quite a bit of company when you make the trek. However, this isn’t a hike to do early in the season to avoid the crowds, as the lake needs to thaw in order to reveal its trademark colors. This is definitely a destination for those hikers looking for something a little different – Lake Blanca is not your typical alpine lake.
There's a lot more to Blanca Lake, and you can learn all about it in our book, Hiking Through History Washington. You'll find a trail map, route descriptions, history, and more for this and many more hikes throughout the State. Help support hikingwithmybrother.com and the work we do by picking up a copy!
To get there, take Highway 2 out past Skykomish to milepost 50. Take a left onto FR 65, also known as the Beckler River Road. Continue for almost seven miles to a junction and pavement end. From here continue north for just under six miles to a 5-way intersection known as Jack Pass. Take the second left and continue two-and-a-half miles to FR 63. Turn right and drive two miles to the trailhead. -Nathan
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