Lake Lillian, Rampart Ridge
Sep 13, 2008
- Type of Outing
- Day hike
- Read More in our Hiking Guide
- Hike: Twin Lakes and Lake Lillian
- Region: Snoqualmie Pass -- Snoqualmie Pass
- Agency: Cle Elum Ranger District
- Trails: Lake Lillian (#1332)
- Avg Rating: 3.29
- Read More in our Hiking Guide
- Hike: Rampart Ridge - Rampart Lakes
- Region: Snoqualmie Pass
- Trails: Rampart Ridge (#1332)
- Avg Rating: 3.00
- Why You Should Go Now
- Wildflowers blooming
- Be Aware Of
At the point the road makes a hair pin curve and starts to travel up steeply, there is a small parking area on the left. This is the unmarked trail head. The elevation here is about 3700. After a slow start on the remains of a logging road, the trail climbs through the trees near Rocky Run creek. You must go look at the creek falling down the rocks near the trail. About a half mile up the trail is a turn off to Lake Laura. Don’t miss Lake Laura! It is enchanting! A large rocky peninsula reaching into the lake appears to be an island. I have not been able to find a decent trail around Lake Laura to the peninsula/island, but it is worth bushwhacking through the brush and the short climb to the top of the island. There is a charming camp site out of view of the trail on the far side of the peninsula. There are also some great rocks to jump off into the lake.
Continuing on up the steep, steep trail, pass the intersection of the Mt. Margaret/Twin Lakes trail and shortly thereafter come to Lake Lillian. It is only a little more than a mile from the trail head, but the trail is so steep it feels longer! The elevation at Lake Lillian is about 4800. Shortly before arriving at the lake, there is a side trail off to the right that climbs up above the lake. Or, one can clamber over the enormous boulder on the right on the lake shore. I usually take the trail on the way in and the boulder on the way back. There is a delightful camp site on the trail above the lake. Three flat top rocks are stationed around a stone fire ring.
Continue around the east side of Lake Lillian traveling toward the ridge above the lake. Now there is an even steeper climb up to the top of the ridge. Once there, fabulous views take your breath away! Every where you look there are mountain peaks! And a profusion of wild flowers of every color and description.
After the first tarn (which is lovely), you have a choice as to which side of the ridge to take. On my way in I take the east side with great views of Box Creek valley and many mountain peaks beyond. Travel approximately a mile over rocky outcrops and meadows to the first glimpse of a glittering blue jewel--one of the Rampart Lakes. Follow the steep trail down, down (watch out for the loose gravel) to the lakes, elevation 5100. Today there were more than a half dozen tents with numerous noisy happy campers dispersed about. Some were swimming in the lakes. Even with all the people, solitude was possible given the many lakes scattered among the rocks. Rampart Lakes are truly magical!
After a multitude of pictures and some snacks I was ready to return. On the return trip I took the precipitous trail on west side of the large south lake. It is extremely steep and rocky. Very much like climbing a huge staircase to the sky. The views back down to Rampart Lakes are astonishing.
The pass on the top of the ridge is the highest point on this hike, about 5800 or more. The views are unbelievable in every direction. Unfortunately, mosquitoes took advantage of pauses to take photos. Then the trail goes down, down, down past a couple exquisite tarns, noisy creeks and flowers until intersecting the trail on which I came in.
Getting back down the trail to Lake Lillian can be a challenge to accomplish without falling on one’s rear. The trail is dusty, sprinkled with loose gravel and treacherous. And the trail from Lake Lillian, down past Lake Laura, and on to the car, can be precarious as well. It always seems easier to go up these steep trails than it is to go down them. There were a few more tents around Lillian on my way back than there were on the way in, but it was still much less populated than the Rampart Lakes.
These trails have been boot built and are not officially maintained or marked, but it is easy to find to find your way. I do not have a GPS and Green Trails and other maps disagree as to the elevations. No matter, take a map and enjoy yourself. There is more beauty, lakes, tarns, creeks, waterfalls, boulders, flowers, mountain peaks and views on this hike per mile than most other hikes. Round trip is less than 8 miles. Go soon! You won’t be sorry.