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Talapus and Olallie Lakes

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These easy-to-reach lakes receive a lot of visitors every sunny summer weekend, but don't let that keep you away. All those people can't be wrong--even if it means sharing. In fact, bring the kids--by mid-August the snow-fed lakes have warmed enough that you can take a swim without turning blue. Even if cool mountain lake swimming isn't your bag, there's still a lot to keep kids occupied. There are some trout (though they get a lot of fishing pressure), and other critters abound. Deer are frequent visitors, and gray jays (a.k.a. camp robber jays) have learned to congregate wherever hikers travel en masse. Indeed, these beautiful birds can be downright pesky. Keep a close eye on your gorp bag, or you might find a camp robber carrying it off.

From the parking area, head up the broad trail as it climbs through easy switchbacks for the first mile. As you cross into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness the route levels out through a broad bench that boasts a bit of a bog. As you move through this wet section, try to stay on the trail even if it's a bit muddy--better to dirty your boots than to erode more land around the trail.

The trail soon sweeps across a small bridge (crossing the lake's outlet) just below Talapus Lake, then climbs the last few yards to the lakeshore at 3250 feet. Forests push in along the shores of this pretty lake, with talus tapering down to the water's edge on the far side. Anglers can wet their lines in this lake first, and families can find fine swimming opportunities along its banks.

The trail climbs away from Talapus before traversing the valley wall, heading up the valley to Olallie. About 0.7 mile from Talapus, stay left at a small trail junction and proceed upvalley to the outlet of Olallie Lake. This pretty lake sits in a nice alpine basin, providing plenty of opportunities to enjoy cooling shade under the boughs of towering firs. It also offers sun lovers a chance to get warm while catching a few rays on the rocks along the shore.
Driving Directions:

From Seattle drive I-90 east to exit 45 (Forest Road 9030). Turn left under the freeway on FR 9030. In 1 mile bear right at the junction. Continue straight to the trailhead at the road's end.

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Recent Trip Reports

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There are 435 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Talapus and Olallie Lakes — Apr 20, 2014 — Buzzell
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns | Water on trail | Snow on trail
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This is a great hike. Trail starts pretty wide and has a steady elevation gain the whole way up. The...
This is a great hike. Trail starts pretty wide and has a steady elevation gain the whole way up. There was a few fallen trees on the trail but easy to get around. About half way up there starts to be patches of snow and gets thicker quickly, but since it's a common trail it's packed down and there was no issues walking in it with a regular pair of hiking boots. The lake is still 90% frozen over with just a few spots you can see the ice thawed.

Once we got to Talapus lake we were going to go to Olallie Lake too but we couldn't really see the trail. So we played it safe and just went back down. It only took us about 45 minutes to get up to Talapus and probably about 35 minutes to get down. We only took a few small break to stop and smell the roses. There are plenty of beautiful small waterfalls on the way up. Overall it was a pretty good day hike.

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Talapus and Olallie Lakes — Apr 11, 2014 — RussellElbert
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail
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A quick evening trip to Talapus Lake to check the snow elevation. Left the trailhead (snow free) at ...
A quick evening trip to Talapus Lake to check the snow elevation. Left the trailhead (snow free) at 5:30pm - 2 other cars in the lot. Found snow pretty quickly, and by half way to Talapus Lake the ground was completly covered. The path was easy-ish to follow (with a couple false cutoffs), and only minimal post-holing. Microspikes may be helpful, snowshoes are probably overkill. The lake is still covered in snow, except right where it drains. Saw no one the entire trip; and back to the trailhead just after 7:30.

This was only to Talapus, I can't comment on conditions past the lake.
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Talapus and Olallie Lakes — Mar 23, 2014 — Jay
Snowshoe/XC Ski
Issues: Snow on trail
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Quick trip up to Talapus and Olallie Lake. Able to drive FS road 9030 to about the 2 mile marker. ...
Quick trip up to Talapus and Olallie Lake.
Able to drive FS road 9030 to about the 2 mile marker. From there, it was a quick road walk to the trailhead where I put my snowshoes on.

There is a good snowshoe track to follow all the way to Talapus Lake. There was evidence of a slight dusting of snow overnight close to Talapus, but not much. The lake is pretty well frozen over except for the outlet. From Talapus, I followed another party’s snowshoe track from what looked like Saturday. Followed that to about 3700 feet, where their trail kept going up presumably to attempt Pratt Mountain. I turned east, and headed towards the outlet stream from Olallie, and then followed that to the lake. No other tracks to the lake that I could find. Snow conditions from here were mixed, powder in the shade, hard crust in the trees, and a heavy wet snow in the sunny areas. Arrived at the lake and had it to myself for the entire time. Had a nice warm sunny spot for lunch, after which I made my way back down. Great day to be out!
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Talapus and Olallie Lakes — Feb 09, 2014 — SanGaek
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns | Snow on trail
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The fantastic trip to frozen Franklin Falls, however, ended too soon, and we were hungry for more. N...
The fantastic trip to frozen Franklin Falls, however, ended too soon, and we were hungry for more. Next stop? Talapus and Olallie Lakes.

As the previous report had it, the drive to the trailhead was no problem. We were the first (even after coming from Franklin Falls) at the TH, but when we got back there were a dozen cars. All AWD, though.

After seemingly endless switchbacks, we arrived at Talapus Lake, fully frozen. We took a short break and headed up to Olallie Lake. There was (is) a difficult blowdown almost right after Talapus Lake. We walked around it and then had to scramble a bit to get back on the trail.

I like Olallie a bit more. We found a good spot for lunch, but soon heavy snow started to come down and the temperature started to fall fast. Time to head home. A good day.
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Talapus and Olallie Lakes — Feb 01, 2014 — Jesse
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail
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Put on my snowshoes during my walk to the trailhead, but ended up swapping them out of micro spikes ...
Put on my snowshoes during my walk to the trailhead, but ended up swapping them out of micro spikes at the first bridge. Trail was in great shape. Maybe 4 inches of snow at the trailhead, but it's all hard pack so micro spikes are completely sufficient.
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Olallie Lake by Day Hike.jpg
Olallie Lake by Day Hike
WTA worked here!
2011, 2012, 2013
Location
Talapus Lake (#1039)
Snoqualmie Pass -- Snoqualmie Pass
Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
Statistics
Roundtrip 6.2 miles
Elevation Gain 1220 ft
Highest Point 3780 ft
Features
Lakes
Old growth
User info
Good for kids
Northwest Forest Pass required
Guidebooks & Maps
Day Hiking: Snoqualmie Pass (Nelson & Bauer - Mountaineers Books)
Green Trails Bandera No. 206

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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 MarkerTalapus and Olallie Lakes
47.4006833333 -121.51895
  • Trail Work 2013 Frontcountry
  • Trail Work 2012
  • Trail Work 2011
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