Upper Icicle Creek


Backpack - Icicle Creek-Chain & Doelle Lakes-Frosty Pass Loop

In 3 days, visit 10 spectacular less-visited (and swimmable) alpine lakes in the Central Cascades (3 Chain Lakes, 2 Doelle Lakes, Upper Florence Lake, 2 Lake Graces, Mary Lake and Margaret Lake), one panoramic high pass, a potentially spectacular lupine field, a section of abandoned trail, and 2 scenic camps.

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  • Very Strenuous
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 35.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 9,500 ft
  • Pace: 2.0

Icicle Creek Trailhead (#1551).  Time TBD.

The tentative plan:

Day 1:  Drive to the end of the Icicle Creek Road, continuing where it becomes NF-7600 to the Icicle Creek Trailhead, about 19 miles from Leavenworth. Hike the Icicle Creek Trail (#1551) 9 miles to the Chain Lakes Trail (#1569) (including a ford of Doughgood Creek), turn right and climb 2 steep miles to Middle Chain Lake to camp  This area is compared in beauty to the Enchantment Lakes Basin by authors Nathan and Jeremy Barnes in their Alpine Lakes Wilderness book (Mountaineers Press).  Approximately 11 miles, 3,800’ ascent, 1,000’ descent.

Day 2:  Continue along the Chain Lakes Trail to Upper and Lower Doelle Lakes, traversing below the iconic Bulls Tooth.  Follow an abandoned trail (#1570) about 3 miles to Frosty Pass.  Drop packs here, and hike Trail 1570 2 miles through spectacular flower fields to the panoramic views from Mary’s Pass.  For those seeking another lake with great views and swimming, it’s about 1.5 miles round trip from Mary's Pass to Upper Florence Lake.  From Mary’s Pass, return to Frosty Pass, retrieve packs, and hike about 2 miles to Grace Lake to camp.  Weather permitting, enjoy a spectacular sunset from Lake Grace.  Including the side trip to Upper Florence Lake, approximately 12 miles, 4,400’ ascent, 4,000’ descent.  

Day 3:  From Lake Grace, return to Frosty Pass, descend the Frosty-Wildhorse Trail (#1582), passing Margaret Lake and Packrat Basin to the Icicle Creek Trail, and follow that trail back to our cars.  Approximately 11 miles, 1,300’ ascent, 4,700’ descent.  

Leader permission is required, which you can obtain by sending an email to the leader.

I expect low overnight temperatures will be in the 30s. You should check the current weather report shortly before departure: https://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=47.6923&lon=-121.0034#.YDlHBdyIZpg Rain should be expected, and you should bring a raincoat, rain pants, and pack cover and clothes that will keep you warm when wet (no cotton!). The trip is subject to change or cancellation if the predicted weather is unusually poor or there is substantial smoke.  

Conditioning:  This trip requires excellent conditioning.  We will average about 2 mph on the trail, including breaks.  You should be able to climb Mt. Si with a full backpack in 3 hours or less, and be able to repeat the climb the next day.  


Gear notes:

  1. Bear canisters are not required.  We will hang our food each night. I plan to bring my Ursack.
  2. You should bring some method of water purification.
  3. You should bring a means to carry at least a gallon of water. 
  4. Bugs are certainly possible; bring bug repellent.
  5. Bring shoes for fording Doughood Creek.  

Upper Icicle Creek

  • Green Trails Alpine Lakes East (Stuart Range) No. 208SX

    Green Trails Stevens Pass No. 176

    Green Trails Chiwaukum Mtns No. 177
  • See full route/place details.
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials plus overnight gear which may include:

  • Tent with footprint/ground tarp
  • Stove and fuel
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Water filter
  • Bear canister or extra stuff sack and cord designated for hanging food
  • Cooking pot/pan with plate and utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel or blue bag to deal with waste
  • Shoes for fording Doughgood Creek
Trip Reports