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Blue Lake High Trail #652.1

Difficult
 4.0 (2)

Direct, challenging trail over a knife edge ridge, for the shortest route from Blue Lake to the PCT. Awesome views!


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Map Key

1.3

Miles

2.1

KM

54%

Runnable

6,259' 1,908 m

High

5,496' 1,675 m

Low

763' 233 m

Up

520' 158 m

Down

18%

Avg Grade (10°)

43%

Max Grade (23°)

Dogs Off-leash

Features Commonly Backpacked · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Description

The Blue Lake High Trail starts and ends deep in the Glacier Peak Wilderness backcountry. It can be done in either direction. As described here, it starts near Blue Lake close to the end of Pilot Ridge Trail #652, goes east towards the PCT, and then ends at Bald Eagle Trail #650 very close to the PCT.

At a trail junction along Pilot Ridge Trail #652 near the Blue Lake outlet creek there are a couple signs. One sign points to Blue Lake. Follow this arrow to Blue Lake, to run Blue Lake High Trail. Do NOT follow the sign pointing to Bald Eagle Trail and the PCT, as its arrows take one the long way around to the PCT, avoiding the direct Blue Lake High Trail. From this trail junction, Blue Lake High Trail begins in the trees with a steep rocky, rooty climb along the Blue Lake outlet creek, on its north side. After about a tenth of a mile, the trail breaks out of the trees and becomes flat as it continues along the creek to arrive at Blue Lake, a scenic, popular place to camp.

At Blue Lake there are many side trails. To pass Blue Lake, cross the lake's outlet creek near the lake and continue along the lake's open grassy southwest shoreline. Blue Lake High Trail then leaves the lake behind to immediately climb a couple short switchbacks and then directly head up a steep open area revealing great views of the lake and Johnson Mountain.

Continuing on, the trail now angles up the steep ridge it will go over. The meadows thin and become rather rocky, as the trail heads higher towards its summit on a knife edge ridge. To the left/northeast the ridge rises steeply, and to the right/southwest, the ridge drops off sharply. Climbing the steep sided ridge, some loose talus stretches are also encountered just to keep things interesting. Close to the ridge summit there are a couple steep but welcome switchbacks, and then suddenly, after a bit over half a mile of steep climbing, the knife edge ridge top is reached. There are some great rocks to sit on here and admire the views.

Following a rest at the summit, the trail heads almost directly down the steep, loose, rocky east side of the summit. After a tenth of a mile the descent becomes less steep, as the trail now angles down the ridge. Soon the trail angle is almost at a contour line and although the slopes are steep, the descent eases substantially, as one finds themself in grassy meadows with wildflowers. An unmarked trail junction with Bald Eagle Trail #650 is soon reached where Blue Lake High Trail ends.

Flora & Fauna

Rocky high meadows with wildflowers and barren rocky stretches.

Contacts

Shared By:

Joan Pendleton with improvements by Jason Santos

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 2 votes

#11733

Overall
  4.0 from 2 votes
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Trail Rankings

#560

in Washington

#11,733

Overall
7 Views Last Month
106 Since Jul 30, 2021
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Photos

Blue Lake and Johnson Mountain
Jul 22, 2019 near Skykomish, WA
Snowy Glacier Peak is in the distance to the north, seen from a lookout at the Bald Eagle/Blue Lake High Trail junction.
Jul 22, 2021 near Skykomish, WA
A few more steps to the top of the knife edge ridge summit of the Blue Lake High Trail. Watching from a roost on the summit.
Jul 27, 2021 near Skykomish, WA
The clear, cold waters of Blue Lake, set in a high mountain cirque.
Jul 27, 2021 near Skykomish, WA
Johnson Mountain watches over the north side of Blue Lake.
Jul 27, 2021 near Skykomish, WA
On the knife edge ridge, the high point of the Blue Lake High Trail, view to the southwest along the ridge top on a "socked in" day.
Jul 27, 2021 near Skykomish, WA

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