Hiking The Alpine Lakes Wilderness

The 20th most popular hiking trail in Washington.

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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 20th most popular hiking trail of all 56 hikes in Washington. Several of the better hiking trails are nearby Alpine Lakes Wilderness including North Fork Nooksack Trail, Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Trail, John Wayne Pioneer Trail, Skookum Flats Trail, Chain Lake Trail / Artist Point and West Cady Ridge Trail.

North Cascades (WA/US)

North Cascades (WA/US)

North Cascades (WA/US)

North Cascades (WA/US)


Local Contact(s):  NFS (509) 548-6977; WA Tourism (800) 544-1800

Recommended Book:  "Backpacking Washington" from Craig Romano

Best Season:  Jul. - Oct.

Luxury Loding:  Summit Inn, Snoqualmie (800) 557-STAY; Salish Lodge (800) 826-6124

Reference Source:  click here http://www.fs.usda.gov/mbs/

Date Published:  12/31/2015

Date Updated:  7/8/2016

ID:  12603


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For hiking the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in Washington, our printable trail guides offers trail descriptions, maps, lodging suggestions, driving directions, levels of difficulty and points-of-contact.