Backpack - Spectacle Lake


Backpack - Spectacle Lake

Join us for a scenic backpack to Pete Lake, along the Pacific Crest Trail, and then on to Spectacle Lake, deep in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Preference to Tacoma Branch Introduction to Backpacking Students. Trip will open to all Mountaineers on May 1.

  • Moderate
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 22.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,800 ft
  • Pace: 1.5 to 2 mph depending on terrain

We will meet at the Pete Lake trailhead the morning of Friday, July 14th. Drivers will need a NW Forest Pass or America the Beautiful Pass to park at the trailhead. Additional information, including exact meeting time will be sent to registered participants closer to the start of trip.

Preliminary 3-day itinerary:

Day 1: Depart from the Pete Lake Trailhead, taking the trail past Pete Lake to the intersection with the PCT. We will camp just north of this intersection in the Lemah Meadows area. Given that it will be mid-July there is the possibility of snow still lingering in some areas. Microspikes (that fit your boots/shoes) may be required if there is snow or ice on the trail. Borrow or purchase these if you don't have them already. 

Day 2: PCT south to Spectacle Lake. Plan on an early start so we have time to explore the lake or venture further along the PCT to the Park Lakes or Chikimin Ridge areas. We will need to cross Lemah Creek on the PCT to get to Spectacle Lake. We will evaluate snowmelt and the creek level prior to the trip, but you should be prepared to bring water shoes to assist in fording the creek if required. 

Venturing past Spectacle Lake to the Park Lakes and/or Chikimin Ridge areas will be optional. If we choose to do this once camp is set up, expect an additional roundtrip mileage of approximately 5 miles and elevation gain of approximately 1,300 feet to the Park Lakes. If we elect to explore Chikimin Ridge and Glacier Lake instead, this will be a round trip of approximately 8 miles and an elevation gain of approximately 1,800 feet.

Day 3: Return to the trailhead using the same route we take in.

Preference to Tacoma Branch Introduction to Backpacking Students. Trip will open to all Mountaineers on May 1.


Prospective participants should reach out to the leader to set up a time to discuss their experience and training plan on a call with the leader prior to acceptance on the roster. Applicants should also consider their comfort level with possible travel on snow/ice and fording creeks with a water depth up to their knees. This includes prospective participants for the waitlist. Leader will remove participants from the roster or waitlist that do not request permission before registering.


Pete & Spectacle Lakes

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

To be discussed at lecture for Introduction to Backpacking course students.

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 Ursack 
  • Cooking pot/pan with plate and utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel or blue bag to deal with waste
Trip Reports