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Rainy Lake

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There are 27 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Rainy Lake — Sep 16, 2013 — austineats
Day hike
Features: Fall foliage
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Lots of bang for your buck on this short hike. The trail seems ADA accessible (paved and level)and i...
Lots of bang for your buck on this short hike. The trail seems ADA accessible (paved and level)and is quite short.

The volume of mushrooms was impressive! Boletes, various corals, puffballs and plenty more. A real mycological treat. I can not lie, these pictured puffballs were not found on the Rainy Lake trail but they were found in the area (but not in the NC National Park). I'd tell you where I found them, but then I'd have to...

The lake is grand. For folks who have never been to an alpine lake it is a real treat. Even seasoned back country ramblers will not be disappointed.

Don't forget your Forest Service parking permit.
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Rainy Lake — Jul 30, 2013 — Prius Repellent
Day hike
Issues: Bugs
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We chose this trail for a few reasons, mainly that it's an easy walk and it's a wide, paved trail. W...
We chose this trail for a few reasons, mainly that it's an easy walk and it's a wide, paved trail. We had two toddlers with us and the trail was easily able to accomodate their double stroller. At first you wonder if you'll get far enough away from the highway to stop hearing the noise from it, but you do... Before you know it you'll be in the silence of the forest, and then you're at the lake. Clear, greenish-blue water and some amazing waterfalls await you at the end of the trail. In fact, the water is so clear, you can plainly see the rainbow trout swimming amongst the rocks and logs on the lake bottom! This trail would be a nice place to stop to get out and stretch your legs a bit as you travel along the North Cascades Highway, although I imagine this trail gets pretty busy on the weekends. We were there on a Tuesday at around noon and ran into one group on the way in and 3-4 groups on the way out. Bring a camera, you'll want to take pictures! :)
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Heather Pass, Maple Pass, Lake Ann (Rainy Pass), Rainy Lake — Aug 13, 2010 — Riri
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Bugs
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Still obsessed with the North Cascades, I decided to take faithful Daphne for a hike on this beautif...
Still obsessed with the North Cascades, I decided to take faithful Daphne for a hike on this beautiful sunny day up to Heather and Maple Pass. While this loop hike to Heather and Maple Pass is quite beautiful, to me, it isn't quite in the same premier category as Skyline Divide, Hidden Lakes, Cascade Peak/Sahalie Glacier, or Spider Meadow. But it is a hike that's worth doing because the views--while not as astoundingly breath-taking as those seen on the aforementioned trails--are nevertheless, gorgeous.

At 9:30 am, about a dozen cars at the trail head, which is located in the Rainy Pass picnic-area parking lot (not the Rainy Pass trail head parking lot, which is on the east side of the highway). Only passed about ten small hiking parties all day on this 8.4 mile loop (with Lake Ann and Rainy Lake detours) which I did counterclockwise, starting on the steep, dirt path and ending on the paved walkway.

The fork to Lake Ann (to the left) is at 1.3 miles, but honestly, I felt the lake wasn't worth the extra 1/2 mile, as it's much prettier viewed from above. Nevertheless, Daphne was hot so we hiked down there to let her swim. After returning to the main trail, we had to cross an ankle-twisting 1/2 mile of rock slide before ascending to Heather Pass. Views from the pass down to Lake Ann are great here. There's a well-worn boot path to the right, just before the pass, which heads off to Lewis Lake, a milky green lake I could see from the switchbacks.

On Maple Pass, there was a nice breeze which kept bugs away and several nice, flat areas with large slabs of rocks and grand views of Glacier Peak--great spots from which to enjoy lunch. From Maple Pass on, the main trail is simply the widest of an assortment of criss-crossed boot paths, some of which lead to views, some to small tarns, and others to seemingly nowhere.

A large stick buttressed by a pile of rocks marks the 6850-foot high point of this hike, on a shoulder of Frisco Mountain. From there, it's steep switchbacks down towards Rainy Lake, where larkspur, lupine, sitka valerian, saxifrage, western anemone, red paintbrush, penstemon of many varieties, and many other wildflowers were in vibrant bloom. A hanging waterfall is visible to the right.

To give Daphne another swim, we turned right when the trail met the paved walkway at 5.8 miles, and walked a flat 0.6 miles to Rainy Lake before returning up the path back to the trail head.

STATS:
LOOP DISTANCE plus two lake excursions: 8.4 miles
ELEV. GAIN: 2000 ft (4855 ft trail head, 6850 ft highest point)
GRADE: easy to moderate
TIME: 4:20 at a medium pace
DOGGY NOTES: several seasonal streams, lakes, and tiny tarns provide sufficient water; trail is shaded at the beginning and end but there is no shade on the pass
MAPS: Green Trails 49, 50
PASSES: NW Forest Pass
OTHER NOTES: (1) Mosquitoes are out. I swear, that citrus eucalyptus juice does the trick against both mosquitoes and biting black flies! (2) One surprising patch of snow around 6750 ft, easy to cross. (3) Two small blow-downs (one on either end of the trail), but easy to step over. (4) Wildflowers on the Rainy Lake side are gorgeous and peaking.

PHOTO NOTE: Alas, for some reason, the WTA site won't permit me to upload photos tonight.
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Rainy Lake — Aug 06, 2010 — Gli Owen
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
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Eight or 10 cars at the trail head. Only three other hikers on this short out and back walk. You pa...
Eight or 10 cars at the trail head. Only three other hikers on this short out and back walk. You pass a beautiful waterfall on your way to a glacier fed lake with snow covered peaks and cliffs ringing the lake. If you're traveling WA 20, why wouldn't you stop here to stretch your legs? Total trip time was about 50 minutes including a nice rest at the lake.
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Rainy Lake — Aug 04, 2010 — Mike
Day hike
Issues: Bugs
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This is Rainy Lake in the North Cascades. Do not get it confused with the one in Snoqualmie National...
This is Rainy Lake in the North Cascades. Do not get it confused with the one in Snoqualmie National Forest. This Rainy Lake is located just off of Highway 20 on the North Cascades Highway. The trail is only 1 mile long and has access for people with disabilities. I pushed my wife in a wheelchair out to the lake yesterday. The elevation gain stated on sign from the parking lot to lake was zero but I will admit there is some very small rises on the trail but nothing that was difficult. A beautiful Alpine Lake at around 4800" elevation. Easy hike for children, the elderly and people with disabilities. An easy hike with a great view to have lunch at. There were bugs to annoy you but not to bad. To see a video of this lake, trails and others in the North Cascades you can go to youtube and type lmm3181. This is the link http://www.youtube.com/user/lmm3181
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Location
Rainy Lake (#310)
North Cascades -- North Cascades Highway
Guidebooks & Maps
Best Hikes with Kids: Western Washington & the Cascades (Burton & Spring - Mountaineers Books)

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