The Alpine Lakes Wilderness is located in the rugged Central Cascades region of Washington state and is jointly administered by the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie and Wenatchee National Forest.
Alpine Lakes was created when Congress passed the 1976 Alpine Lakes Wilderness Act to protect the area in its unique natural state. It encompasses approximately 394,000 acres accessed by 47 hiking trailheads and 615 miles of trail.
The name Alpine Lakes takes its origin from the nearly 700 small mountain lakes nestled like jewels among the high rock peaks and timbered valleys of the region. Its breathtaking beauty and proximity to the Seattle metropolitan area makes the Alpine Lakes one of the most popular natural areas in the Northwest. Over half of Washington States population live within a one-hour drive of the Wilderness. In many places we are loving the Wilderness to death. Too many visitors and careless behavior result in campsites stripped of vegetation, trampled meadows, a dizzying network of trails, and reduced levels of solitude.
With nearly 150,000 visitors each year, many with little understanding of wilderness ethics, the Alpine Lakes is hard to manage under the guidelines of the 1964 Wilderness Act . In order to preserve the integrity of the Wilderness it has become necessary to impose restrictions in many areas. BEFORE you plan to visit the Alpine Lakes check with officials on what regulations may apply.
Overall, Alpine Lakes Wilderness is the 21st most popular hiking trail of all 56 hikes in Washington.