Day Hike - Hidden Lake Lookout

There are so many reasons to undertake the strenuous 9-mile 3200' climb to the Hidden Lake Peak lookout in September: fall color, panoramic views of many of the premier peaks of the north central Cascades, and a lovely restored forest lookout.

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.
  • Sat, Sep 6, 2014
  • Foothills Hiking Committee
  • Day Hiking
  • Singles, 20-30 Somethings, Retired Rovers, Adults
  • Strenuous
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 9.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 3,290 ft

Leader will work with participants to help them arrange carpools.  We will likely meet at the Ash Way Park and ride in Lynnwood at 7AM to head north to the trailhead, although this may change.

To get to the trailhead, take the North Cascades Highway 20 to Marblemount and veer off onto the Cascade River Road. Go 10 miles to FR 1540 and turn left (there should be a sign for Hidden Lake Peak). Drive FR 1540 4.7 miles to road's end.

The first couple of miles from the trailhead alternates between forest, a brushy old clearcut and meadows.  At about 2.2 miles, the meadows become more of a rock garden and the views become more impressive. At about 3 miles, we'll cross an avalanche chute (if snow lingers we would need an ice axe and so would change our destination). 

In another half mile, the lookout becomes visible, impossibly high above on its spire perch.  Shortly thereafter, it is possible to peer down from a ridge and see Hidden Lake - but few people hike to it. Instead we'll climb the remaining steep miles up to the lookout. With windows all around, the view is jaw-dropping from inside the lookout, to  Glacier Peak, Mt. Rainier, the Stehekin Valley, and dozens of serrated peaks of the North Cascades.

Participants need to be in very good cardiovascular condition, able to hike up a steep path at a 1.5-2mph pace with few rest stops.  Leader permission is required to ensure that everyone on the hike is aware of the demands of the route and capable of completing the trip successfully.


Hidden Lake Lookout

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    Green Trails Diablo Dam No. 48

    Green Trails Cascade Pass No. 80
  • See full route/place details.
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials

  1. Navigation
  2. Sun protection
  3. Insulation (extra clothing)
  4. Illumination
  5. First aid supplies
  6. Fire
  7. Repair kit and tools, including knife
  8. Nutrition (extra food)
  9. Hydration (extra water)
  10. Emergency shelter
Trip Reports