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The best day run in the area for fantastic panoramic views!


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Map Key

7.2

Miles

11.5

KM

75%

Runnable

6,914' 2,107 m

High

4,873' 1,485 m

Low

2,022' 616 m

Up

2,058' 627 m

Down

11%

Avg Grade (6°)

37%

Max Grade (20°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Fall Colors · Lake · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

No overnight camping within 0.25 miles of Lake Ann, Heather Pass, or Maple Pass. Best hiked July - October.

Overview

This moderately strenuous trail offers a lot of reward. As you slowly ascend, the views get better and better. Just when you think you've seen the best view, you'll see another one that's even better. This is a "must-do" if you are in the area! You'll see magnificent jagged peaks, lakes, wildflowers in the summer, and a beautiful cascade.

Need to Know

Maple Pass Loop is extremely popular during fall larch season (late September-early October). Arrive early, expect crowds, and have a backup plan in case the trail is overcrowded. A Northwest Forest Pass is required for parking. Restrooms available at trailhead.

Description

The Maple Pass Loop is located in Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, though you'll touch North Cascades National Park during the highest point of the run. The trailhead starts off of Hwy 20, at the Rainy Pass rest stop (on the west side of the highway).

You can choose to run this loop clockwise or counterclockwise. I would suggest running counterclockwise since the elevation change is more gradual, and the views also gradually get better and better. Running clockwise might save your knees as your descent will be more gradual, and you'll get the elevation change out of the way, but it's more popular to run counterclockwise, since the views continuously get more dramatic.

After you park (and pay), take the trail toward Lake Ann. You'll head slightly uphill through forest, and at about 1.4 miles you'll reach the Lake Ann Trail that branches off. Keep on the main trail (unless you want to take the side trip to Lake Ann, about 0.6 miles one-way). The main trail continues along the side of a mountain, and as you emerge above treeline, you'll see Lake Ann down to the left. The scenery here is beautiful, though it will get even better!

You'll climb steadily and encounter some switchbacks. At about 2.5 miles, you've reached Heather Pass. Keep running past a few more switchbacks, and now you'll be at the perfect viewpoint for spectacular views beyond Heather Pass. This is the perfect time to take a break and take in the beautiful panoramic views. Don't be surprised if you find yourself saying "Wow!" as you look around at the peaks and valleys all around you. As you look down into the other side of Heather Pass, you'll see several worn trails that meander through the meadow.

When you're satisfied with the views, continue on the main trail. You'll make your way to the opposite side of Lake Ann, on the very ridge you were looking at while on the other side of Lake Ann. Continue to climb, but do not forget to stop and take in the magnificent views and wildflowers during the summer. Along the way, you'll see signs that indicate you are on the border with North Cascades National Park. After you run through Maple Pass, you'll eventually top off at almost 7,000 ft. From this pass, you'll see a zig-zag of switchbacks that you'll take on your way down. You won't forget to take a break and marvel at the magnificent views here!

When you are satisfied with the views, continue on the main trail. You'll steeply descend over several switchbacks here. You'll cross another ridge (also with nice views). Continuing on your way, you'll be able to see Rainy Lake to the right. Don't forget to look back at the lake to see a beautiful cascade that feeds into the lake. The descent will lead you back into forest where you'll continue to meander. If you thought taking breaks was only necessary for the uphill incline, your knees will tell you otherwise here!

You may seem surprised when the trail suddenly spills into a paved pathway, Rainy Lake Trail #310. Take a left here, as this is the trail that will lead you to your car (about 0.5 miles away). If you take a right at the paved path, it will take you to Rainy Lake.

***If you choose to run this loop counterclockwise, start your run near the south end of the parking lot on the paved path to Rainy Lake. At about 0.5 miles, a trail will fork to the right. Take the trail to the right (not paved) which starts the uphill ascent. The trail will eventually lead you back to the parking area.***

Contacts

Shared By:

Kristen Arendt with improvements by Brandon Fralic

Trail Ratings

  4.9 from 69 votes

#68

Overall
  4.9 from 69 votes
5 Star
93%
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#4

in Washington

#68

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24,672 Since Jul 11, 2017
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Photos

Waterfalls feeding into one of the lakes. Taken in early October.
Oct 13, 2016 near Stehekin, WA
Snow falling on Lake Ann.
Oct 11, 2017 near Stehekin, WA
The Cascades over Lake Ann
Oct 19, 2020 near Stehekin, WA
Overlooking Lake Ann.
May 2, 2017 near Stehekin, WA
View down from near the pass, fall colors.
Oct 11, 2017 near Stehekin, WA
Larch trees golden for fall
Oct 11, 2017 near Stehekin, WA

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Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Minor Issues 2 days ago
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Check-Ins

Oct 8, 2023
Matthew Macfarlane
Good fall colors. Pretty trees. Crowded but not the focusz
Jul 31, 2020
Grace Heglund Lohman
Gorgeous morning before it was too hot! A few snow patches left and a solo swim in Rainy Lake to cap it off. 8mi
Jul 3, 2018
Kayleen Castelli
Turned around at the pass due to snow 5mi
Aug 17, 2017
Jordan Wirfs-Brock
Gorgeous. Perfect weather. Lots of hikers, but didn't see any other runners. 8mi
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