You are here: Home Find a Hike Hiking Guide Greenwater and Echo Lakes

Greenwater and Echo Lakes

» REI » Amazon

A portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.

Lush old-growth forest; dark, mysterious forest lakes; and a wonderful chance to meet and see wildlife await hikers here. The trail sticks to a deeply forested river valley where it passes a wonderfully clear, cool lake--Greenwater--with good fishing. The route eventually reaches Echo Lake in a long 7 miles, but these miles fly by as you stride through the cool forest. Footsore hikers will love the soft, duff-rich trail tread, and Echo itself is a wonderful place to rest and relax before hiking back down the pretty trail. But for all that, few people visit, perhaps because the trail doesn't offer sweeping panoramas. The distant views may be missing, but the route is remarkably scenic and solitude is a high probability.

Leave the trailhead and hike into the moss-laden forest, following the Greenwater River upstream. The trail is quiet and damp--even in summer--providing soft footing for those hiking in shoes other than boots. As you hike up the trail watch for any sign of critters. Deer and elk browse through this valley, and where there are deer and elk there may be cougar, coyotes, and bobcats.

The trail crosses the Greenwater River three or four times before reaching the long, shallow Greenwater Lake at about 2 miles. Then for the next 3 miles the route maintains a slow, easy ascent of the valley.

 At 5 miles the climb steepens substantially. For 1.5 miles the path switchbacks up the valley wall before tapering off into a smooth, level glide into the Echo Lake basin at 7 miles.

This pretty forest lake offers great swimming, sunning, and general wilderness R & R. Enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the beautiful basin before heading back down the trail.
Driving Directions:

From Enumclaw drive east on State Route 410 (Chinook Pass Highway) to the small town of Greenwater. About 1 mile east of the Greenwater Fire Station (at the eastern end of the community), turn left (north) onto Greenwater River Road (Forest Road 70). Drive about 9 miles, crossing the Greenwater River, and turn right just past the bridge onto FR 7033. Drive up this narrow road about 0.5 mile to the large trailhead parking lot.

Improve or add to this guidebook entry

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

Recent Trip Reports

Hiked here recently? Submit a trip report!
There are 178 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Greenwater and Echo Lakes — Apr 06, 2014 — Polargirl5
Day hike
Issues: Water on trail | Snow on trail
Expand report text Hide report text
The road and lot to trailhead was in great condition, there was even some TP at the trailhead 'john'...
The road and lot to trailhead was in great condition, there was even some TP at the trailhead 'john'!~ It's early spring in the Northwest so there is tons of mud, still a lot of snow once you leave the flat portion of the trail, and a few areas where the trail is currently a creek bed. The dog had a ball and the trail was beautiful as always, I may have been a touch happier with poles for this trek but was fine without.
Read full report with photos
Greenwater and Echo Lakes — Nov 11, 2013 — Gdub
Day hike
Expand report text Hide report text
We did the day hike to Greenwater Lake to have lunch. The middle of the trail was a little mushy in ...
We did the day hike to Greenwater Lake to have lunch. The middle of the trail was a little mushy in a few places, but in great shape overall. I had a 5,6, & 8 year old with me and they were champs. The temperature was very steady in the forest, but was a little windy on the lake and the temperature dropped quite a bit. There were 8 cars at the trail head. We saw six people during our few hours on the trail. Very little horse poop. Great family hiking trail.
Read full report
Greenwater and Echo Lakes — Oct 13, 2013 — SeattleBebop1
Day hike
Features: Fall foliage
Issues: Blowdowns | Mudholes | Water on trail
Expand report text Hide report text
A lovely fall hike without snow! It's a two-hour drive from Seattle, but well worth it to enjoy a qu...
A lovely fall hike without snow! It's a two-hour drive from Seattle, but well worth it to enjoy a quiet hike without much elevation gain. The only "obstacles" on the trail are a few mudholes and the occasional horse droppings. It is definitely getting chilly, and as this hike is almost entirely under the tree cover, be sure to bring enough layers. Probably 40-45F in general.

Today, five of us hiked to Echo Lake. There were only three other cars in the parking lot -- we encountered a man and two children back-packing out with a friendly Doberman (they had camped at Greenwater Lake), and a couple with two dogs who had also been camping (probably by Echo Lake, which has several nice campsites and a pit toilet).

There are many Japanese maples in the deciduous forest section (about the first 2.5 miles), and their leaves are a gorgeous golden color that gleams in the sunlight. After you finish crossing Greenwater River on the bridges, you get deeper into a pine forest and gradually pull away from the river so you don't get the pretty river views. But keep on that last slog up the incline, Echo Lake is definitely worth it!

We didn't go to the "far" side of Echo Lake (the south side), but just going down the path to the campsites provides nice views and a good place to eat lunch in the sun.
Read full report with photos
Greenwater and Echo Lakes — Oct 06, 2013 — Packgoater
Day hike
Features: Fall foliage
Expand report text Hide report text
Started late at 1pm and decided to see how far we could get before our turnaround time. The goal was...
Started late at 1pm and decided to see how far we could get before our turnaround time. The goal was Echo lake, and we made it just shy of reaching that destination, but better to be safe than sorry with how quick the sun sets this time of year. Beautiful fall foliage along the trail to the first two lakes. The trail was dry and clear the whole way with the exception of two small blowdowns about two miles from Echo Lake. A great low elevation hike for the fall, especially with our early snowfall.
Read full report with photos
Greenwater and Echo Lakes — Aug 12, 2013 — ferrel4ever
Overnight
Features: Wildflowers blooming | Fall foliage | Ripe berries
Expand report text Hide report text
Love this hike, did a multi-night trip to echo lake the week before last and just did an overnight t...
Love this hike, did a multi-night trip to echo lake the week before last and just did an overnight to the upper Greenwater lake last night in hopes of seeing the Persides meteor shower, sadly there was too many clouds but a window did open up and we were able to see one meteor. However to my shock the water at both lakes and the river was disgusting and very brown, took me aback me since it was clear(green) just the 2 weeks before. Ran across a few other hikers on the trail and they couldnt account for this phenomenon either, only thing i could think was possibly a mud slide, or because its getting close to the end of the melt off seasons and it changed the color. Anyone else have any ideas?
Read full report
greenwater lk alpine art.JPG
Greenwater Lake. Photo by Alpine Art.
WTA worked here!
2013
Location
Greenwater Lakes (#1176)
South Cascades -- Chinook Pass - Enumclaw or Hwy 410 area
Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
Statistics
Roundtrip 14.0 miles
Elevation Gain 1600 ft
Highest Point 4100 ft
Features
Lakes
Old growth
User info
Good for kids
Northwest Forest Pass required
Guidebooks & Maps
Snoqualmie Pass
Green Trails Lester No. 239

Improve or add to this guidebook entry

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

Map it
Red MarkerGreenwater and Echo Lakes
47.1055833333 -121.474583333
  • Trail Work 2013 Frontcountry
(47.1056, -121.4746) Open in new window
Document Actions
  • Print this
  • Share
Get the Guidebooks

Mountaineers three booksSelect content from The Mountaineers Books' guidebooks is featured in this Hiking Guide. Sales of the books from this website help protect and maintain trails.

> Shop Now

More hikes » Hike of the Week
Diablo Lake Trail (Apr 17)

Diablo Lake

North Cascades

Follow the Diablo Lake Trail up and across talus slopes on the flanks of Sourdough Mountain to impressive cascading waterfalls and stunning views. This hike in the North Cascades Institute's backyard makes a great option for an early season hike in stunning North Cascades National Park, much of which is inaccessible during the winter and spring.

Get Trail News

Subscribe to our free email newsletter for hiking news, events, gear reviews and more.

What's Happening
Trails and Ales - Spokane 2014 Apr 22, 2014 Meet fellow hikers and raise a glass for trails!
GiveBIG 2014 May 06, 2014 Donate to WTA during The Seattle Foundation's GiveBIG event and grow your impact on trails!
Hiker Potluck in Vancouver May 28, 2014 Come out for an evening of great food, meet other hikers and learn what is happening on trails near you.
More »