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Deception Pass

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There are 39 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Cathedral Rock, Deception Pass — Aug 17, 2013 — Justmelisa
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming | Ripe berries
Issues: Blowdowns | Water on trail
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Hit the Cathedral Rock trailhead about 10:30 am. Conditions were near perfect, mostly sunny, 65 degr...
Hit the Cathedral Rock trailhead about 10:30 am. Conditions were near perfect, mostly sunny, 65 degrees but a little on the humid side. The trail is in good shape all the way. Not too many bugs, and a variety of wildflowers blooming. Huckleberries are plentiful and at peak ripeness right now so we ate quite a few. After the turnoff to Peggy's Pond, we didn't encounter another soul until after the pass. I suspect this was because of the difficult river ford about 7 miles in. After crossing successfully, we both agreed it had been risky--don't attempt if you are by yourself, as no one will be along shortly to render aid! Consider bringing hiking sandals for the crossing or at least an extra pair of socks--we both got boots full of water.

The craggy mountain views along the way to the pass are spectacular and distinctive, especially in the late afternoon light. The pass itself is nothing special, watch carefully for the junction to the Hyas Lake Trail, which takes you to the Deception Pass trailhead in a quick 5 mile all downhill stretch. Lots of people camping in the lovely campsites along the shore of Hyas Lake. This would make a great overnight backpack.

My friend lost her black prescription sunglasses on the trail or maybe at the D.P. trailhead. If you find a pair, please call Courtney at 360-280-4957. Thanks!
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Deception Pass, Marmot Lake, Jade Lake — Jul 19, 2013 — KenWP
Multi-night backpack
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Blowdowns | Overgrown | Bugs
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My friend and I took off work early Friday to explore Marmot Lake and get up toward Jade Lakeand ho...
My friend and I took off work early Friday to explore Marmot Lake and get up toward Jade Lakeand hopefully Pea Soup Lake on a two-night backpacking trip.

We set out from the Deception Pass trailhead at about 2PM. Originally we intended to go up to Tuck Lake, but decided to save the time and energy and instead camped at a site on an isolated lake just south of Deception Pass, just over 5 miles from the trailhead.

Know that the mosquitoes are in full force the entire way, so be SURE to have plenty of DEET handy. We were also visited by a curious deer several times in the hours before dawn. No worries there.

Early Saturday morning we packed up camp and headed out to Marmot. Including the blowdowns from the trailhead to Deception Pass, by the time we reached Marmot Lake, we had to cross over, under, and around 16 blowdowns. Fortunately on our way out Sunday we encountered two Forest Service women with a two-handed saw intent on clearing the stock trails up to the Pass, but not all the way to Marmot Lake, as that is not really their priority, apparently. -- Hey WTA: work party?

The 4.25 mile trail from the pass to Marmot Lake descends 700 ft and then gains 900 ft. It is overgrown on the exposed slopes beneath the ridge, so be prepared to get wet from dew if hiking early in the morning. Otherwise the trail is in decent shape. Lots of flowers in bloom.

Punching out into the Marmot Lake basin you are greeted with a variety of great campsites huddled along the eastern shore; a few are right on the water and we were able to score what we believe is the best site.

As the day progressed, more backpackers arrived and set up camp around us, and several folks were fishing, though we only saw a handful of fish being caught.

After setting up camp, we set out for Jade Lake with aspirations to get on up over Dip Top Gap and seeing Pea Soup Lake at the base of the Lynch Glacier beneath Mt. Daniel.

Going around the south side of Marmot Lake, we followed and then lost the trail at the first chute, so we headed straight up the chute into a box canyon and traversed to the right (west) and reacquired the trail. We definitely did not want to go down the way we scrambled up.

The key is to keep a close eye out for the cairns. The correct trail leads past the first chute and up the left (east) side of the second (true) chute that sometimes criss-crosses the scree. After we completed our ascent, about a mile from our campsite on Marmot we walked past No Name Lake, and then descended to the Jade Lake basin. This is where we crossed over small patches of snow; the only snow on the trip to this point.

Jade Lake and its azure water is absolutely stunning with snowy Dip Top Gap beckoning as the backdrop. We saw a lot of frogs in the streams and pools around Jade Lake. Due to the time and energy lost on our mis-route, we decided to just enjoy Jade Lake and not slog up the gap. Jade Lake is quite satisfying in its own right.

After some time soaking up the views at Jade, we headed back down to Marmot Lake and had a cold yet refreshing swim in the lake to wash off the dirt and sweat. We relaxed on our rocky beach as our swim clothes dried in the afternoon sun and breeze, then settled in for some dinner and called it a night as the sun went down.

We broke camp at dawn, and the bugs were really intense. We were very happy to be moving down the trail just after 7AM. Less than four hours later we were back at the Deception Pass trailhead, just about 9 miles from Marmot.

This was a memorable trip; both Marmot and especially Jade Lakes are beautiful and worth the time to explore.

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Deception Creek, Marmot Lake, Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) Section J - Snoqualmie Pass to Stevens Pass - East, Surprise Mountain, Surprise and Glacier Lakes, Deception Pass — Jul 13, 2013 — LDistel
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Blowdowns | Water on trail | Snow on trail | Bugs
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Full report and photos on We did an inverse lollipop, starting at Decept...
Full report and photos on

We did an inverse lollipop, starting at Deception Creek, up to the pass, to Marmot Lake, back to Pass and over PCT to Surprise, up to the summit, descended the gap, out Surprise Creek and then back to Deception Creek TH.

Trails are relatively clear, with a few blowdowns on each one, but mostly manageable (most probably are on Deception Creek). We met a ranger when we were descending Surprise Gap and he was curious to trail conditions; we told him which areas needed the most attention and he said he would relay the info to the trail teams (cool!).

Tiny patches of snow at Deception Pass and on Surprise Mountain. Surprise Gap still has quite a bit, mostly on the north side.

Lots of creek fording and water sources throughout.

Note that if you come out Surprise or Deception creek and want to go back to the other trailhead, the RR tracks or highway 2 are your best bets (but be careful on RR, and I'm not certain on the legality of that). The powerline road is only good for 75% of the way, and will lead you to a heinous devil's club bushwhack.
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Cathedral Rock, Deception Pass, Hyas Lake — Jul 07, 2013 — SanGaek
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Blowdowns | Overgrown | Water on trail | Snow on trail | Bugs
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Cathedral Rock - Deception Pass Loop in July? Aren’t there dangerous water crossings? Isn’t i...
Cathedral Rock - Deception Pass Loop in July?

Aren’t there dangerous water crossings? Isn’t it high water season?

Exactly. And I was all by myself on the PCT section of this loop. I really should have turned back at Cathedral Rock.

First things first. I think Cle Elum Valley road is in need of serious maintenance. I was on this road a few years back, and I don’t remember it being this bad. Potholes galore. Many jutting rocks in the middle of the road. It took a long while to get to the trailhead.

The trail to Cathedral Rock is in a great shape. You start to see snow patches after you get past Squaw lake. The meadow area under the rock is about 70 % snow covered still. I went up and over Cathedral pass to see the awesome view of Deep lake and the surrounding mountain. There were many hikers in the area.

After returning to the trail junction, I turned left to get on PCT. I thought I was prepared. Foolish of me.

Steep switchbacks on the way down was covered in many snow patches. Finding route was not easy, but not difficult, either. After you cross Hyas creek (first water crossing), there is no more snow.

I switched to my hiking sandals for the first water crossings at Hyas creek and continued on. If you cannot find the trail after the creek, it goes up the small hill right in front of you.

I didn’t have to switch shoes for the second crossing. The view of the valley, Granite mountain, and Hyas lake was nice. I felt good, until I got to the “difficult ford”.

It’s some kind of a gorge, and the water was more like a falls right now. I switched to sandals and crossed the main stream. Water was up to my waist (I’m short) and it was very difficult to walk straight. Once I got to the other side, I realized I was not done. The trail landing on the far side was right next to dangerously pouring water. This was what Manning meant by “suicidal” crossing, I suppose. I started to panic; I was quite tired at this point, and I was not confident that I could get back up to Cathedral Rock in the snow (although that may still be a safer choice).

After much contemplation and planning, I decided to attempt the crossing. I switched back to hiking boots for better traction, and I slid down the rock face while holding on to some plants for dear life. I barely made it. I was so happy to be back on a dry trail.

After this, I was determined to get home as soon as possible. There are numerous blowdowns (some of them were quite difficult to get past) on the PCT section to Deception Pass. There was another crossing I had to switch shoes for. Bugs were fierce at low elevation. But nothing else mattered. I had to get home, fast.

I finally felt relieved when I got to Robin lake trail junction. I knew there would be people coming down on this trail. The last miles from Hyas lake to the trailhead, I don’t remember much. There were many small water crossings.

It was an adventure I should not have taken on. I was just glad to come out in one piece. I don’t think I would be attempting this loop again. I had enough excitement, thank you.

O, and crossing Scatter creek in my sedan was no picnic, either, especially on the way back.
To my wife, who doesn’t know the details yet. “I’m so sorry. This will not happen again.”

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Granite Mtn Potholes, Tuck Lake, Robin Lakes, Deception Pass — Aug 09, 2012 — Montana
Multi-night backpack
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Blowdowns | Bridge out | Water on trail | Snow on trail | Bugs
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The road from Salmon La Sac to the trailhead wasn't all the bad. It was slow going but there was ple...
The road from Salmon La Sac to the trailhead wasn't all the bad. It was slow going but there was plenty of small cars at the trailhead.
The trail to the deception pass-tuck lake "t" was great. The trail to Tuck lake from there was a little less to be desired. It is very steep and reminds me of a goat trail. Funny thing it probably started out as one. The trail from Tuck to Robin lakes isn't much better just follow the cairns and you will get there. They are both worth the hike. Great area but the trail is almost like a freeway on the weekends. Midweek not as crowded but still a number of people camped up there. The water at Tuck was amazing and jumping off the rocks on the west end of the lake was a highlight of our trip and Robin lakes was still 50% covered with snow. So, I did not go swimming but I did fall in there. The trail from Robin Lakes to Granite Mtn Potholes was well marked and easy to follow.
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Deception Pass (#1376)
Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass - East
Roundtrip 10.0 miles
Elevation Gain 1100 ft
Highest Point 4500 ft
Guidebooks & Maps
Green Trails #177 - Stevens Pass

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