“A steep climb to breathtaking views of some of the best North Cascade peaks.”
— Sarah Baker
Features: Lake — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Dogs: No Dogs
Tapto Lakes is a must-see destination if you are staying at the Whatcom Pass Campground or are passing over Whatcom Pass and have a little extra time. There are many opportunities to explore the lakes and to take in views of the rugged North Cascade peaks across the lakes.
The trail to Tapto Lakes starts at Whatcom Pass. This "trail" is really more of an unmaintained route that is rugged, overgrown, and is sometimes hard to follow. The route splits multiple times; just try to follow the route that looks the most traveled and it should lead you to Tapto Lakes.
The route starts by ascending steeply through a high alpine forest. You'll soon be above treeline and continue ascending more gently through beautiful meadows and over rocks with spectacular views of Mt. Challenger, Whatcom Peak, Mt. Fury, Luna Peak and many other North Cascade peaks. After climbing 800 ft, the route reaches a high point and then descends over rocks and through boulder fields to Tapto Lakes.
There is some camping at Tapto Lakes, though there is no formal campsite. If you are looking to stay up at the Lakes, you'll need to make reservations with the NPS in the "cross-country zone" called Tapto Lakes.