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Trip Report    

Backpack - Pete & Spectacle Lakes

Very Popular and Busy but Beautiful Scenery and Well Worth the Effort.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • On the way in we went the longer route via Lemah Meadow Trail and PCT which allowed us to bypass the ford on Lemah Creek and keep our shoes on without getting wet. However the route is 1.6 miles longer and has a challenging log crossing where the bridge is out. A lot of the PCT has not been logged out yet although we encountered a work crew that was working on the section south of Pete Lake Trail, so the main route via Pete Lake Trail should be logged out by the time you read this.

Pete Lake is very popular and so is Spectacle Lake to a lesser extent, so the parking lot was full when we arrived. Nonetheless we were able to find parking right by the trail along the side of the road. I recommend you minimize the number of vehicles especially on the weekends. You only need a self issued permit plus a NW Forest Pass.

We went the longer route on the way in as noted above. It only added about half an hour because we didn't have to remove shoes for fording of Lemah Creek. However there are a lot of downed trees to navigate around or over. That may have been the critical difference for a new student backpacker running out of energy. The elevation gain is 1600 ft before going down 200 ft to Spectacle Lake. The extra distance made the route in 11.5 mi which is within the range of most moderate hikers, so in my opinion his problem was lack of conditioning and experience. There is a convenient campsite at Delate Creek where him and one other person stayed overnight. The rest of us continued another 500 ft up over .9 mi to the Spectacle Lake Trail junction and then .5 mi down to the lake. At this point we were being delayed by frequent breaks so I decided it would be better to split the group. Fortunately an experienced hiker was willing to stay with him, so the rest of us could continue to Spectacle Lake. The area was very busy so it took a while to find a suitable campsite. Consequently it took us close to 9 hr by the time we located a campsite.

We had no problem on the way out other than the still numerous fallen trees and the fording of Lemah Creek which was not particularly difficult. We covered the 9.9 mi out in 4:45 including lunch and several breaks.