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Trip Report    

Backpack - Cathedral Rock–Deception Pass–Tuck & Robin Lakes

Deep Lake variation instead of camping at Tuck or Robin Lake makes the trip less strenuous and even more interesting and enjoyable. You can still venture to Tuck & Robin Lakes if so inclined and motivated.

  • Road recommended for high clearance only
  • The trail is in good condition and easy to follow, except for the trail to Tuck Lake and Robin Lake, which is steep and unmaintained. There is a "Difficult Ford" at PCT mile 2439, which is actually the main Cle Elum River and not just a creek as shown on PCT Halfmile map. The river splits into two separate main paths where the trail crosses. When going northbound, look for a pair of logs bridging the first main stream, then work your way to the right (east) about 50 feet below normal trail crossing. There is a pile of rocks that have been deposited there to facilitate crossing without removing your shoes. At the time of our trip, the PCT trail between the "Difficult Ford" and Deception Pass had not been logged out. We had to maneuver our may around no fewer than 9 fallen trees over this section. All the rest of PCT and Hyas (Deception Pass) Trail have been recently logged out, which is greatly appreciated.

The road is very rough and still bears the scars of winter erosion. There is also a fairly deep water crossing at Scatter Creek so a high clearance vehicle is recommended for the drive to the trailhead. We had no trouble parking on Friday morning, but the lot was completely full and cars parked along the road for quite a ways when we returned on Sunday. Obviously the area is very popular, especially on the weekend.

We elected to do the loop clockwise and headed up Cathedral Rock Trail first. We met a lot of other hikers headed for Squaw Lake and Peggy's Pond but also found many people already camped at Deep Lake. Nonetheless we found suitable campsites on the southeast side of lake opposite from main camping area. The mosquitoes were hungry and a little annoying but not a lot worse than other areas. Be prepared for some awesome views if you decide to camp at Deep Lake. I think the diversion is well worthwhile and still only 8 mi from trailhead.

We were uncertain about our ability to cross the "Difficult Ford" on the main PCT route but decided to try anyway. We met a hiker coming the other direction that had successfully crossed without removing shoes or getting his feet wet. He gave us some hints which proved useful so we also crossed without removing shoes, however one of our party did slip or loose their balance and get one foot wet. Otherwise the crossing was fairly easy although a bit scary. We elected to camp at the campground near the intersection of  Robin Lake Trail, which has a good water source as well. However we did not know that and doubled back to a small lake for water anyway.up the

Two of us hiked (scrambled) up the Robin Lake Trail to Tuck Lake. The views are nice but the camp area is popular with a lot of other people and the trail so steep with poor footing that I do not recommend carrying a full pack up it. I think it is better to set up camp at the junction and go to the lakes with only a small pack as a side trip.