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Trip Report    

Margaret Lake, Lake Laura, Lake Lillian, Rampart & Lila Lakes

Out and back to Lila Lakes with side trips up Alta and Mt. Margaret.

  • Road rough but passable

    The last mile or so of the access road has washboard and some large potholes.  It is passable by most vehicles but care is needed for low clearance cars.

    The area beyond Mt. Margaret has lots of unmarked trail intersections and very few trail signs.  It took some concentration to keep on the correct paths - I had to backtrack a couple of times.

    The "obvious" trail on the East side of Lake Lillian that heads toward Rampart Lakes requires a short scramble - this was no problem on the way out but was trickier on the return when the rock was wet.  A close look at CalTopo (after the trip) suggests that there is another route that would avoid the scrambling - that route was not obvious on the ground.

    Lots of "social trails" around Rampart Lakes and Lila Lakes.  Some of these are indistinguishable from the primary trail - until they abruptly end or become impassable.


I had a great trip and met all of my objectives.  

On my Tuesday - Wednesday trip I encountered about 12 people total.  I suspect this number would be much higher on the weekend.

This is a beautiful area.  I stopped briefly at Twin Lakes, Lake Lillian, and Rampart Lakes.  I camped at Lila Lakes.  I hiked up Alta Mountain and Mt Margaret on the way out.  I did not go down to Margaret Lake, Lake Laura, or Rachael Lake.

Parking requires a NW Forest Pass. 

The trip enters the Alpine Lakes Wilderness so a free permit must be displayed on your pack - these are available at the trailhead.  (Curiously there is no sign on the trail to indicate that you are entering the Wilderness). 

I hiked with a 25# pack.  It took about 7.5 hours to get to Lila lakes.  It took 9 hours to go from Lila Lakes up Alta and Margaret and back to the trailhead.

The primary trails are in decent shape.  It rained on Wednesday but there were no big areas of water pooling.  Only a few fallen trees - all were easy to get around or over.