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Eightmile Lake

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Eightmile is a gorgeous, big backcountry lake ideal for quick escapes when the thermometer is pushing 100 in the Wenatchee Valley. But get an early start to beat the heat. The first half of this hike traverses an open burn zone that'll leave you scorched by the sun. Plop yourself down on a shore-line rock and soak up the soothing backdrop of Eightmile Mountain, which is oft-reflected in the lake's placid waters.

The way starts off with a steady climb up open slopes punctuated with ponderosa pine. Roaring Eightmile Creek nearby provides a deafening score, drowning out birdsong and insect buzz. Heading into the heart of a massive burn zone from a 1990s forest fire, the trail and its environs warms up rapidly once the sun casts its rays. Pioneering fireweed growing head high flourishes along the trail.

After crossing a side creek, intersect an old logging road, once used as the trail's approach. At 0.75 mile cross tumbling Pioneer Creek on a steady foot log (elev. 3800 ft). Shortly afterward enter the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, following Eightmile Creek up the broad valley. Most of the way, the going is fairly easy. At 2.8 miles reach a junction with the trail to Lake Caroline at the mud hole of a pond, Little Eightmile Lake (elev. 4450 ft).

Continue straight, crossing a massive rock slide peeping with pikas. Giant sandstone boulders litter the way, and hiking tykes will probably enjoy flitting about them. Brush up against maddening Eightmile Creek, making a short, steep ascent to its source, Eightmile Lake. Like many of the lakes in the Leavenworth area, this one sports an irrigation dam and a "washtub ring" from its fluctuating levels.

Scout the shoreline for good sunning and swimming spots. A trail continues along the north shore for nearly a mile to the lake's inlet creek. Check it out, or just settle down on a nearby ledge and gaze out at a jagged ridgeline reflected in crystal waters.
Driving Directions:

From milepost 99 on US 2, on the western edge of Leavenworth, follow the paved Icicle Creek Road (Forest Road 76) for 8.4 miles, turning left onto Eightmile Road (FR 7601). Continue on this washboarded dirt road for 3.1 miles to the trailhead. Park opposite the trailhead, on the left side of the road (elev. 3300 ft). Privy available.

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Note: the description and driving directions for this Mountaineers Books entry are copyrighted and can't be changed.

Recent Trip Reports

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There are 120 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Eightmile Lake — Apr 20, 2014 — wendydra
Day hike
Features: Fall foliage
Issues: Snow on trail | Road to trailhead inaccessible
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Very nice trail but we had to hike 3 miles up to the trailhead on a road mostly covered with snow. T...
Very nice trail but we had to hike 3 miles up to the trailhead on a road mostly covered with snow. Then the trail split off into two directions and we could not figure out which way to go, so we went back. Lots of snow on the trail, easy to sink in.

Will probably come back after things melt down.
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Eightmile Lake — Mar 26, 2014 — WWGH
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail | Road to trailhead inaccessible
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Another beautiful day for a hike. It's been a while since anyone reported, but we decided to take a ...
Another beautiful day for a hike. It's been a while since anyone reported, but we decided to take a chance and give Eightmile Lake a try. We brought micro spikes and snowshoes to be prepared.
The road to the trail head (FR7601) is still inaccessible. The sign says it is 3 miles to the TR, our GPS tracked it as 3.8.
We started with spikes and switched to snowshoes after the bridge. We had to cross a few bare patches of road, but the snow was deep/slushy enough to make the snowshoes useful.
We reached the trail head in about 2 hours, with a few short stops for snacks & photos. We ate lunch then headed up the trail.
Hiked about a mile on the trail, met up with the old logging road, then decided it was time to head down.
We made good time until my snow shoe broke. Matthias was able to rig it back together with a carabiner and a key ring. Worked like a charm, we made it back to the car about 7:30.
Looking forward to hiking this again once the road is open.
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Eightmile Lake — Jan 22, 2014 — rakajima
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail | Road to trailhead inaccessible
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We were initially discourage from attempting this hike because the road was closed at the bridge ove...
We were initially discourage from attempting this hike because the road was closed at the bridge over Icicle Creek. However, we decided to tackle it anyway and hoofed it up the road 3 miles to the trailhead. It turned out to be a nice hike -- the side of the road opens up to some beautiful views about a mile up.

An important note is that long stretches of the road were covered in a sheet of inches-thick ice, so some sort of traction device is definitely required. We used IceTrekkers, which were mostly up to the task. We still slipped a little, but it was workable. It was very nice having poles on the way back down.

It took us just under 2 hours to get to the trailhead. The trail itself was beautiful and almost as soon as you start up the actual trail, you come out of the shade and into some glorious sunshine, a welcome change after the shaded hike thus far.

The trail was covered in snow and a little hard to see in some spots, but fortunately there pretty clear boot- and snowshoe tracks to follow. There was lots of snow and ice on the ground, so, again, some sort of traction device is really necessary.

Because of the extra six miles due to the road closure and a too-late start, we turned back before getting to the lake, but even with the limited time we had up on the trail proper, it was a great hike. Very beautiful up there.

If you're going to do this while the road is closed, I would definitely recommend being walking on that road by 8:00 am. These days the sun traces a pretty low arc in the sky, so even up on trail itself, with the higher peaks all around, there was limited sunshine and by 2:00 pm it was already feeling like the end of the day. Ideally you'd want to be at the lake by noon.

Hope this helps some other intrepid winter hikers. Good luck!
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Eightmile Lake — Oct 06, 2013 — TerahmarieT
Overnight
Features: Fall foliage
Issues: Overgrown | Water on trail
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We had an overnight permit for the Eightmile/Caroline zone. Original plan was Lake Caroline, but we ...
We had an overnight permit for the Eightmile/Caroline zone. Original plan was Lake Caroline, but we were moving slower with our packs being heavier with extra gear for the colder conditions and did not feel like hiking the almost 6 miles UP so - decided on plan B, and we were glad we did this time.
 Lots of fall colors along the trail up to Eightmile. No snow on the trail on the way up- some along the sides but almost all gone by the hike out.
Eightmile was beatiful- surrounded by the snow dusted peaks dotted with golden fall colors against the blue sky. Nice warm afternoon,and very much enjoyed lounging around and exploring the lake.We had a nice quiet night with clear skies and awesome star gazing.
 Only a couple other groups camping around the lake, lots of nice campsites and plenty of room to spread out. Great hike! Also, my husband and I celebrated reaching 100 miles of hiking together this year, so it was a special hike for us!
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Eightmile Lake — Aug 25, 2013 — LizzyRN
Overnight
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Mudholes | Bugs
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We five gals took an overnight trip up to Eightmile Lake; there were 2 adults and three children who...
We five gals took an overnight trip up to Eightmile Lake; there were 2 adults and three children who are 11, 9 and 6. Road 7601 to the trailhead was in pretty good condition with several areas of washboard and some pretty deep holes that were handled fine by my high clearance vehicle. Caution should be used in a low clearance vehicle. The trailhead was PACKED upon arrival; but it was a Sunday. Loved that there is a restroom right there!

The rain started to fall as we were putting on our packs so the kids pulled out their rain jackets and we started up the trail after the obligitory trailhead photos. Of course, the rain stopped very soon thereafter.

The trail is in good shape. About 3/4 mile in Pioneer Creek must be crossed on a very sturdy log footbridge. Each kiddo handled it well using our hiking poles for additional stablization. The rushing Pioneer Creek was also the best place to get water on the entire hike. Soon we entered a very exposed burn area which, although depressing, was beautiful in its own right. The black of the burned trees along with the green growth and purple wildflowers were all in great contrast to one another. It was a warm day and the kids were done by the time we reached Little Eightmile Lake. Another 1/2 mile plus and we caught our first sight of Eightmile Lake.

There are two sections with a short burst of elevation gain, but it's mostly a gradual hike up the approximately 1,200' of gain. We were not picky in searching out the best campsite; we just wanted access to the water and room for all of our tents. The site we chose had an adjacent area we used as our "kitchen". The following day we hiked the trail to the end of the lake and found several wonderful campsites and even better sunning areas! So, if you are headed to Eightmile Lake, walk further down-lake to have your pick of sites.

The skies opened up briefly after we were all tucked into our bags for the night. The day was hot and the night was warm. We adults were awoken by an animal obviously enjoying a boney meal. The crunch crunch crunch lap lap lap sounds went on for close to an hour. We were concerned that our bear bags were invaded! It sounded very close to my ears, so I got out and tossed a couple of pebbles......and the crunch crunch crunch lap lap lap continued. No evidence was found in the morning, so perhaps it was across the lake. Something bumped into my tent twice during the night and one of my shoes was moved from my vestibule and found a few feet away from my tent.

There was a "toilet" sign that led to an area where it appeared that NOBODY carried a trowel or carried out their toilet paper. DISGUSTING!!

The lake was pretty, but not amazing, like I'd seen in some photos. Perhaps it was just the time of year or my high expectations. The trail was very dusty and I was glad to have brought my Sawyer water filter as opposed to the SteriPen. Lots of floaties (and an oil sheen??) in the water. The only two places that I would get water were Pioneer Creek and Eightmile Lake. If you are headed to Lake Caroline, the junction is a little overgrown and difficult to see on the right (when headed up) but there is a sign on the left. It doesn't say Lake Caroline though.

Nice short trip, great hike for kids. We saw lots of people headed out as we headed in, but only one other tent along the lakeside. For me, it was one of those places that I'm glad I went, but I don't think I'd go back again. I can't imagine spending too much time here. Lots of fun with a bunch of giggly girls and my pack was WAY too heavy. The trailhead parking lot was almost empty when we returned Monday afternoon. What a difference a day makes!

BURY YOUR BODILY WASTE AND CARRY OUT YOUR USED TP, PLEASE!! I'm a RN and don't get grossed out by much, but that sort of thing is way beyond disgusting. I'm not sure what makes some people think we all want to look at it.
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Eightmile Lake just a hiker.jpg
Eightmile Lake. Photo by Just a Hiker.
WTA worked here!
2010, 2012
Location
Eightmile Lake (#1552)
Central Cascades -- Leavenworth Area
Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest - Wenatchee District
Statistics
Roundtrip 6.6 miles
Elevation Gain 1300 ft
Highest Point 4650 ft
Features
Rivers
Lakes
Old growth
Wildflowers/Meadows
Mountain views
User info
Northwest Forest Pass required
Guidebooks & Maps
Green Trails the Enchantments No. 209S

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Note: the description and driving directions for this Mountaineers Books entry are copyrighted and can't be changed.

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Red MarkerEightmile Lake
47.5359666667 -120.8139
  • Trail Work 2012
  • Volunteer Vacations 2010
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