Alpine Lakes of Washington

In January I decided to set a goal for myself…to walk/hike every single Saturday in 2013.  I wanted it to be hike every single Saturday, but I had just had knee surgery for the sixth time in November so I was still on crutches when I set the goal.  My first walk amounted to one mile, in the rain, and took about an hour.  It was my first time ditching my crutches, so this was actually better than I expected.  Since then (32 Saturdays in all) I’ve managed a lot of walks and hikes.  It didn’t take me too long (3-4 weeks) before I was going on much longer and more challenging walks.  Hiking started the first Saturday in March.  I haven’t looked back.

While doing all this hiking, so far my favorites have been the alpine lakes.  I thought I would share photos of all the alpine lakes I’ve visited this summer.  I’ve also included links for details on all these hikes to my favorite NW hiking website (  There is no point in my detailing the hikes since they do an amazing job.

Barclay Lake

One of my favorites that I do every year.  It’s a great trail for the entire family, including the pups.  There are some great camp sites along the lake, so staying overnight is an option.  The low fog and bad lighting made for horrible photographs the day we were there…take my word for it…it’s a lovely lake.  Here are some details and photos from my other visitsMore details from Hiking with my Brother.

Barclay LakeAshland Lakes (Upper and Lower)

I have a terrible sense of what different elevations gains over different distances will feel like.  For some reason I had it set in my mind that this would be a mostly flat hike.  Since then I have come to know that no one should believe me when I say “I think this will be an almost flat hike”…and, most alpine lake hikes are not flat…duh…ALPINE!   The lakes were beautiful (click here for my full post about Ashland Lakes); the mosquitoes were terrible.  More details from Hiking with my Brother.

Upper Ashland LakeLower Ashland LakeMason Lake (Bandera Mountain)

We didn’t actually go to Mason Lake, but we hiked up Bandera Mountain which overlooked Mason Lake.  Bandera Mountain has been my most difficult hike to date.  We met several people training to hike Mount Rainier while we were up there.  Grueling…but also amazingly beautiful and totally worth it.  More details from Hiking with my Brother.

View of Mason LakePratt Lake

Our goal for this hike was Pratt Lake, but it was the last of four hikes I did over 4th of July weekend.  Instead we walked to a Y in the trail and I decided not to hike down to Pratt Lake only to turn around and hike back up.  My legs were “screaming”.  Along the way, I got a photo of this beautiful alpine lake.  More details from Hiking with my Brother.

View of Unknown Lake near Pratt LakeLake Serene

This hike has been on my wish list for a few years.  Some friends and I hiked to Bridal Veil Falls and part way to Lake Serene one day a few years ago.  We never made it to the lake and since then I’ve had knee surgery after knee surgery.  I was so excited to finally see the lake in person instead of just photos.  More details from Hiking with my Brother.

Lake SereneEvans Lake

This lake was just a blip on my radar.  Our destination was Boardman Lake and this was along the way.  I only stopped long enough to catch this quick photo.  There really wasn’t much of a decent shoreline to stop and enjoy.

Evans LakeBoardman Lake

This was a very short hike (.8 miles each way) that we did after hiking another trail in the area.  We had fun relaxing by the lake, wading in the water, and having an eight-year-old entertain us endlessly.  More details from Hiking with my Brother.

Boardman LakeSilver Lake

This was an unexpected treat.  The plan for the day was to hike to Monte Cristo.  The trail in was quite easy, so once there we decided to hike up a bit towards Silver Lake.  We had no idea how far it was and after many switchbacks we began to doubt out decision.  We kept saying if we quite now, we’ll likely find out it was just around the corner.  Finally we met some fellow hikers coming down the trail.  Turns out we only had about 1/2 mile left…whew…the bad news was that we had only gone a mile so far.  I have to tell you…it was one heck of a hard mile.  We pressed on and boy were we rewarded by the view.  I wish I could say going down was a breeze…it was not…I had forgotten my trekking poles in the car.  More details from Hiking with my Brother about Monte Cristo.

Silver LakeHeather Lake

By far, this was my favorite lake so far.  It was quiet, small, and the low fog made it feel other-worldly.  The water was like glass reflecting it’s surroundings.  I found it hard capture the beauty of this lake in photographs.  It felt so comfortable to me…maybe it was the beautiful fireweed that reminded me of home (Alaska).  More details from Hiking with my Brother.

Fireweed at Heather Lake Reflection in Heather LakeDorothy Lake

Yesterday we hiked to Dorothy Lake.  It was huge.  So many of the alpine lakes are gorgeous, but not many (at least that I’ve seen) are quite this massive.  From one end you cannot see the other.  We did hike from one end to the other and a bit more, but the trail doesn’t continue around the entire lake.

Dorothy Lake Dorothy LakeFrom Dorothy Lake we could have continued on to Bear, Deer, and Snoqualmie Lakes.  We opted not to yesterday, but I feel like we’ll make it back up there later this summer.

What’s your favorite Alpine Lake in Washington (or any place else for that matter)?

I have many more Saturdays ahead of me.  I’d love to hear your favorites so I can add them to my list (leave me a comment to let me know).

5 Replies to “Alpine Lakes of Washington”

  1. Pingback: Three Wildflowers | Travel, Photography, and Other Fun Adventures

  2. Nice pictures. My fav is the Evan Lake one. Glad to see that you are going again. By the way Spring Cave will be open again after being close for several years.

    • Thanks Sheila. I didn’t realize the cave had been closed. Great memories there, so glad it’s back open.

  3. Wow, beautiful series Pam. I hiked up to Dorothy Lake back in the early ’80’s with my brother and it was a life-changing weekend for sure. I really love all of these images – well done!
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    • Steve…thank you so much…it really means a lot me when you like my photos.