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Emerald Lake via Trout Lake Trailhead

Eastern Washington > Okanogan Highlands/Kettle River Range
48.6242, -118.2398 Map & Directions
Length
6.5 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
1430 feet
Highest Point
3740 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Moderate
Hikers heading down the Trout Lake trail. Photo by Jeff Lambert. Full-size image
  • Dogs allowed on leash
  • Old growth
  • Lakes
  • Established campsites

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None

Exploring a verdant canyon on the east side of the Kettle Range, Hoodoo Trail makes a great early-season conditioning hike or introduction to overnighting. The hike up Hoodoo Canyon from Trout Lake to Emerald Lake is a classic, low-elevation Inland Northwest hike through one of the largest remaining low-elevation roadless areas in the Kettle Range. Continue reading

Rating
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Hiking Emerald Lake via Trout Lake Trailhead

Exploring a verdant canyon on the east side of the Kettle Range, Hoodoo Trail makes a great early-season conditioning hike or introduction to overnighting.

The hike up Hoodoo Canyon from Trout Lake to Emerald Lake is a classic, low-elevation Inland Northwest hike through one of the largest remaining low-elevation roadless areas in the Kettle Range. An easy trail with few ups and downs makes the hike suitable for a first-time overnight trip; a sparkling lake—one of the few hike-in lakes in northeast Washington—will coax weary backpackers onward.

Beginning at Trout Lake, cross the outlet creek on a sturdy footbridge and begin switchbacking up through a forest of western redcedar. Moss-draped rocks and hollylike creeping Oregon-grape are reminiscent of Western Washington woods—the wetter east side of the Kettle Range contains many such pockets of surprisingly lush forest. The route quickly opens up to grassy slopes, out of which jut old-growth ponderosas and magnificent rock formations. In late spring, scan the slopes for shooting star, balsamroot and scarlet paintbrush. Reed-ringed Trout Lake lies below.

In about 1.5 miles, pass through a dark birch forest. A slight switchbacking rise provides the last real climb of the hike in. In more than 2.5 miles, the trail forks. The way right continues on Hoodoo Trail, which crests the canyon with a falcon’s-eye view into Emerald Lake and its tiny neighbor Lily Lake—a worthy side excursion. For the lake itself, turn left, switchbacking 600 feet down to aptly named Emerald Lake.

Linger for lunch or set up a tent in one of a handful of dispersed campsites. Watch for moose, which frequent the shallow lake. In dry years, the lake nearly disappears by late summer. However, early-summer hikers should pack a swimsuit; check the south end of the lake for the best swimming.

Toilet Information

  • Toilet at trailhead

More information about toilets

Hike Description Written by
Aaron Thiesen, WTA Correspondent

Emerald Lake via Trout Lake Trailhead

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 48.6242, -118.2398 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

See weather forecast

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

From Kettle Falls, drive west on SR395. Merge onto SR20 west for 5.2 miles. Turn right on Trout Lake Road for 5 miles to the campground and trailhead.

More Hike Details

Trailhead

Eastern Washington > Okanogan Highlands/Kettle River Range

Hoodoo Canyon (#17)

Colville National Forest, Three Rivers Ranger District

Guidebooks & Maps

USGS Quads: Jackknife Mtn

USGS Quads: Boyds

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Emerald Lake via Trout Lake Trailhead

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