Lake Valhalla


Day Hike - Lake Valhalla

Columbus Day Hike to Lake Valhalla

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  • Moderate
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 12.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,500 ft
  • Pace: 1.5

Meet at the Monroe Park and Ride at 7:30 am.

We'll  take the Smithbrook Trail #1590 route. I am a slow hiker and I like for everyone to stay together. Please do not join this hike if you want to run/condition/hike alone. Depending on weather, we might need microspikes. I'll check trail conditions before and update. Bring your 10 essentials, warm layers, and lunch. If it looks like all day rain or snow, I will cancel a few days before the hike. WTA description below. 

Lake Valhalla is a gem, tucked under Lichtenberg Mountain and Mount McCausland on the PCT North of Stevens Pass. The lake is a great day hike in summer or fall and accessible by snowshoe in the winter. Wildflowers abound in early summer, berries in late summer and fall colors make vivid surroundings in autumn.

Approaching Lake Valhalla from the Smithbrook trail, the grade is modest, and while there is plenty to look at, the round-trip distance is moderate. The trailhead has an ample parking area off Forest Service Road 67. A recent reworking of the trail starts off with gentle switchbacks. After you cross the wilderness boundary, keep your eyes peeled for the 8-foot diameter Douglas fir that fell across the trail a few years ago. This tree was too big to cut with a crosscut saw so it was cleared using blasting.

Turn south at Union Gap and climb gently to the gap between Mounts Lichtenberg and McCausland where you get your first glimpse of Lake Valhalla, shining in the cirque below. Pass over the gap and descend to Lake Valhalla. There are a number of overnight campsites and a couple of backcountry toilets at the lake, though please note that no campfires are permitted. There is a very pleasant sandy beach, perfect for lunch. Small 4-or 5-inch cutthroat jump along the shore trying to catch the bugs skimming the lake surface.


Lake Valhalla

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