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Heather Lake (near Lake Wenatchee)

Central Cascades

Location

Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass - East
View map below

Length

7.0 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 1350 ft.
Highest Point: 3950 ft.

Rating

4.29 out of 5

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass
 
 

Heather Lake is a moderate day hike to an attractive lake just below the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), particularly good for families. There are huckleberries in season and a dive into the lake will refresh hikers in the warmth of August.

Many maps and earlier guidebook entries note mileage of 6.5 miles, but this does not reflect that the trailhead has been moved back along the road approximately 0.3 miles, so the beginning and end are on a recycled road bed. This reconfiguration was completed in 2013 and you can see how quickly vegetation takes advantage of the sunlight and fresh soil along the edges of the new trail.

The trail wanders through old-growth forest uphill from Lake Creek. Hemlock and cedars tower above hikers in this section. Early in the season, trillium can be found blooming on the forest floor. In 1.3 miles, you cross a substantial bridge over Lake Creek. The warm up is officially over, here you have gained 200 vertical feet, with much more to come.

The trail climbs for the next mile and half up the ridge, before leveling out and proceeding to the lake. Parts of the trail seem to be climbing up a root staircase. While these footholds can be helpful, be aware, especially in wet weather, roots can become quite slippery when damp.

Occasionally, the trail will jog out of the roots and do a few switchbacks. Once you clear the ridge, the trail is generally level for the last three-quarters of a mile through huckleberry bushes to the lake edge.

Looking across the lake to the west there is a rounded peak visible. This is Grizzly Peak. The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) passes directly over the this summit on its on way from Lake Janus to Pear Lake.

WTA Pro Tip: For the adventurous, a great add on hike (an additional 3 miles round trip from where you are standing) is to hike to the adjacent Glasses Lake. See WTA's Glasses Lake Hiking Guide entry for more information.

 

Heather Lake (near Lake Wenatchee)

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 47.8664, -121.0753 Open map in new window

Trailhead

Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass - East

Heather Lake (#1526)

Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Wenatchee River Ranger District

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Guidebooks & Maps

Green Trails Benchmark Mtn No. 144

Getting There

From Seattle, drive Highway 2 to the signed turn for FR 6700 (Smithbrook Road), 3.5 miles east of Stevens Pass. Be cautious crossing the westbound lanes of Highway 2 as you make this turn. Once on gravelled Smithbrook Road, proceed 12.5 miles to to the junction with FR 6701, and make a sharp left heading back to the west. Follow Road 6701 for 4.7 miles, then turn left on FS 400 and proceed roughly a half a mile to the trailhead parking area.

From Leavenworth, proceed west on Highway 2 to Coles Corner, 15 miles west of Leavenworth. Turn right onto the Lake Wenatchee Highway (WA 207), and follow it past Lake Wenatchee until it ends, roughly 12 miles. Here, there is a bus turnaround and a gate where the road is closed in the winter. At this point the road becomes the Little Wenatchee River Road. Continue west for just under 5 miles to a left on FS 6700. The road becomes unpaved. Cross the bridge and proceed 500 yards to a right turn on 6701. Follow 6701 for 4.7 miles, then make a left on FS 400 and drive about a half a mile to the trailhead parking area.

NOTE: FR 6700 is gated a mile up from Lake Wenatchee until the snow has melted off the road all the way over to Smithbrook turnoff on Highway 2, so in heavy snow years, the Heather Lake trailhead access will be delayed.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass
 

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Heather Lake (near Lake Wenatchee)

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