West Fork Foss Lakes


Backpack - West Fork Foss Lakes

This is one of the ultimate trips for lovers of Alpine Lakes (six lakes for the price of admission!) We'll spread this out over three days to bring the effort level down to a moderate/strenuous hike and make it available to more folks!

  • Moderate/Strenuous
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 13.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 3,700 ft

We'll consolidate carpools at Monroe P&R and then head up to the trailhead on Saturday morning.  

Our goal will be to be at the trailhead ready to go by 10 am on Saturday.

Trailhead directions:

One half mile past the Skykomish Ranger Station on the Stevens Pass Highway (US-2), turn south on the Foss River Road (Road 68). The pavement ends in 1.1 miles, and beyond that be alert for occasional potholes.

Continue on Road 68 and in about 1.3 miles, pass under a railroad trestle. Just beyond the trestle, stay right at the road fork. In about another mile, stay right again at a fork. The left fork goes to the Tonga Ridge Trail. In another 0.6 miles, pass by the trailhead for the Necklace Valley Trail, and continue on Road 68. In 0.7 miles, be alert for a left turn onto Road 6835 signed for Trail 1064, your destination. This intersection has good signs but they sometimes are partly obscured by vegetation. Continue on Road 6835 for 1.9 miles to reach the trailhead, a total of 6.7 miles from US-2.

Note that some maps-including Google-incorrectly show Road 68 going all the way to the trailhead. It does not, so be alert for the left turn onto Road 6835. At the trailhead, there is a privy, but no regular water source. A Northwest Forest Pass, or equivalent, is required.

Travel to the heart of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness!  This is normally a strenuous trip due to the high elevation gain, but with a multi-day backpack, we're going to break it down to make it accessible to those that prefer a more moderate level of effort (although this will still be at the high end of moderate).  That said, this is still a challenging trip so when you request leader permission, please let me know your experience level and background of recent hikes/scrambles/backpacks.  B3 students are welcome also, but you will need some experience under your belt to succeed on this one!  

On day one/Saturday, we'll hike in and up to Copper Lake which will take us about 4 miles, but with 2400 feet of elevation gain.  We'll make camp and spend the afternoon exploring the area.

On day two/Sunday, we'll pick up the rest of the elevation to Big Heart Lake (another 3.5 miles and roughly 1000 feet of gain).  We'll camp here and explore the area as there is a footpath that continues on to Angeline Lake.

On day three/Monday, we'll make one long run back down to the trailhead so be prepared for a full day of descent over 7 miles.  This will be a strenuous day so prepare accordingly.

Along the way, we'll pass Trout Lake, Malachite Late, Copper Lake, Little Heart Lake, Big Heart Lake, and for those that want to push on a bit on Sunday, Angeline Lake and potentially a few others.


West Fork Foss 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
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