Josephine, Chain & Doelle Lakes


Backpack - Josephine, Chain & Doelle Lakes

In 3 days, visit 9 spectacular less-visited (and swimmable) alpine lakes in the Central Cascades (3 Chain Lakes, 2 Doelle Lakes, Upper Florence Lake, 2 Lake Graces, and Mary Lake), one panoramic high pass, a potentially spectacular lupine field, a section of abandoned trail, and 2 scenic camps.

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers activity.
  • Strenuous
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 33.4 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 8,985 ft
  • Pace: 2.0

Stevens Pass Parking Lot on south side of Route 2 8:00 AM, Thursday, August 12, 2021.

The tentative plan:

Day 1:  Drive to Stevens Pass on Route 2, turn right (south) into the large parking lot just east of the main ski area buildings, elevation 4100.  Drop one car shuttle vehicle here.  Drive Route 2 east about 13.5 miles, turning right just after milepost 78 onto Whitepine Road (Forest Road 6950), signed for Cascade Meadows  At 2.7 miles bear left at Y junction.  Continue for just over a mile to the trailhead at road’s end, elevation 2800’.  According to Google Maps, the shuttle drive time is 30 minutes one-way. Start hiking on Whitepine Creek Trail.  At 2.5 miles, elevation 3200’, continue left on Wildhorse Creek Trail.  At 8.3 miles, elevation 5400’, take the side trail on the left to lower Lake Grace elevation 6240’ and camp.  Approximately 9 miles, 4,100’ ascent, 1,000’ descent.

Day 2:  From Lake Grace, return to Wildhorse Creek Trail, hike to Frosty Pass and drop packs.  Hike Trail 1570 2 miles through spectacular flower fields to the panoramic views from Mary’s Pass. Return to Frosty Pass, and follow an abandoned trail (#1570) about 3 miles to Doelle Lakes.  From Doelle Lakes take Chain Lakes Trail to Second Chain Lake and camp.  Approximately 10 miles, 3,700’ ascent, 4,300’ descent.

Day 3:  Hike Chain Lakes Trail down to intersection with Icicle Creek Trail.  Turn right (N) and follow Icicle Creek Trail past Josephine Lake to Pacific Crest Trail.  Turn right (SW), and follow Pacific Crest Trail to Stevens Pass.  Retrieve shuttle cars from Whitepine Trailhead, and return home. Approximately 10 miles, 2,300’ ascent, 4,000’ 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: 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.  

 Vaccination: All participants on this trip must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

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.

Josephine, Chain & Doelle Lakes

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
Trip Reports