Quote of the Month:

Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own." - Charles Dickens

Blue Lake Trail # 314, Autumn

Parent Category: Hiking
Created: 25 November 2015
Location: North Cascades Region, Diablo Lake Area
Roundtrip: 4,4 miles
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Elevation Gain: 1050 feet
Highest Point: 6254 feet
GPS Coordinates: N 48 31.142 W 120 40.452
Visitor’s Information:

Northwest Forest Pass Required

Pictures below will take you along a trail full of fall colors to a magnificent lake. Enjoy the beauty of autumn scenery!

 Photo from the Blue Lake Trail, taken in autumn; Diablo Lake Area, North Cascades Region
General Information:

It is amazing and sometimes even unbelievable, how abundantly rich is our Washington State with various natural features. Gorgeous mountains, breathtaking coastline, countless parks and refuges… You may enjoy the grandeur and beauty of the nature in any corner of our wonderful state. All you need is a desire to explore something new and a little bit of time.

There are few Blue Lakes in Washington State. Only two of them are in North Cascades Region. Both of them are beautiful and often visited by tourists, but the same name and their location sometimes make people to confound them. 

The Blue Lake Trail we hiked this time is the one in Diablo Lake Area. A 2,2 miles picturesque trail will take you to admirable subalpine lake nested between the granite walls. This easy hike provides the hikers with stunning views, precious memories and a little bit of exercise. It is considered to be the classic autumn hike, thus if you are looking for the view full of fantastic vibrant hues from scarlet to gold, plan your hike for the end of September – October. 

Photo from the Blue Lake Trail, taken in autumn; Diablo Lake Area, North Cascades Region

The trail is considered kids friendly, and you may often meet 5-6 year olds proudly conquering their first trail, getting their first-hand experience with magnificent nature.

The parking lot and the trailhead are located just off the Hwy 20. And the first short part of the trail runs along this highway, that’s why you may hear some noise from it. But very soon the trail starts ascending and you will get immersed into the wild nature of the North Cascades, forgetting about the distractions of civilization. 

At the beginning the Blue Lake Trail meanders through some wetland areas covered by spruce forest, over which several boardwalks were created to help the hikers in passing them. But in 0,25 miles the last boardwalk ends and this is the point at which you see the highway for the last time as the trail starts its climb in the direction of Blue Lake. 

Winding through the old-growth dense forest the trail runs out from time to time to enchanting meadows. In summertime they are covered with various beautiful wildflowers, but as we did this hike at the beginning of October we could admire these meadows ablaze with the vivid colors of autumn. The impressive peaks of the Early Winters Spire were hardly seen through the mist of that magical autumn day.

Photo from the Blue Lake Trail, taken in autumn; Diablo Lake Area, North Cascades Region

At approximately 1,5 miles distance the Blue Lake Trail passes the area covered by huge boulders of avalanche debris. After this area the trail splits. The left branch will take you to some popular climbing routes of Liberty Bell Mountain.

After passing one more meadow, you will enter again a forested area, but this time it will amaze you with the golden colors of the fantastic finery of larch trees. The combination of colors if just unbelievably beautiful here. 

The last 0,5 miles of the Blue Lake Trail will allow you to admire some more mountainous scenery. The views of Cutthroat Peak and Whistler Mountain, with the clouds trying to hide their tops, are just priceless.

Photo from the Blue Lake Trail, taken in autumn; Diablo Lake Area, North Cascades Region

Very soon you will reach a small creek springing from Blue Lake. You may pass it by a log lying across the stream, or just by rock-hopping. After crossing the stream you may see the remnants of an old dam, built by beavers. You can also notice the remnants of an old miners’ cabin, standing to the right of the trail. 

Walk along the shore of this spectacular lake with the transparent waters of incredible blue-green color, encircled by stunning peaks. Enjoy the divine serenity of this marvelous gem hidden in the mountains.

Photo from the Blue Lake Trail, taken in autumn; Diablo Lake Area, North Cascades Region

There are a lot of big boulders scattered along the shore, which can make a perfect lunch place for you. Or you may just seat and soak in the beauty of this mountain lake. Who knows, maybe you will see a mountain goat, who are reported to be often seen there.


These pictures were taken in October, 2015

Driving Directions:

If you are coming from the west: you should drive on Hwy 20 from Newhalem for approximately 42 miles. The parking lot and the trailhead are on the right. Don’t miss it. Passing the Washington Pass Overlook will tell you that you’ve gone too far.

If you are coming from the east: you should drive on Hwy 20 from Winthrop for 31,3 miles. The parking lot and the trailhead are on your left. You will drive less than a mile after passing the Washington Pass Overlook.

GPS Coordinates: N 48 31.142 W 120 40.452

In order to get directions click on the map below:


Photo: Roman Khomlyak

Photo Editing: Juliana Voitsikhovska

Information: Svetlana Baranova

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