Start your hike at the Mink Lake trailhead at 1650 feet of elevation. The trail to Mink Lake splits right at the initial junction with the Lovers Lane trail (which will be your return if opting for the loop). The first half mile passes through gloomy second-growth. The original forest here was logged a century ago and now the trees are in a state of early maturation.
At a quarter mile the trail jogs across an old logging road and soon enters old growth. The forest opens up with sword fern and shrubs among the stately trunks of ancient firs, which give way to hemlock as the trail climbs ever upward. It is cool and moist on the north aspect of the slope, enabling skunk cabbage and trillium to bloom into early summer. The forest to Mink Lake is beautiful, packed full of Queen's Cup, lilies and bunchberry flowers in bloom.
At two miles, the trail rounds a spur at about 2800 feet, before gently arching toward the lake.
At 2.5 miles and 3100 feet lies tiny Mink Lake. Hemlock, silver fir, and marshy beargrass meadows line the tranquil waters, which are often disturbed by jumping fish. Depending on the season, you may see Western Coralroot orchids and Indian Pipe, or beargrass, anenomes and violets around the lake.
A side trail forks left where overnight hikers will find the bear wire and an old shelter, now home to rodents.
The lake, while picturesque, is a haven for mosquitoes--bring plenty of bug spray or patience, whichever you prefer. The silence and unbroken stands of trees that surrounded the lake are gorgeous, and on the way down, you can study the intricate patterns of roots, flora and other wonders of a healthy forest.
- 5.2 miles, roundtrip
- Elevation Gain
- 1450 feet
- Highest Point
- 3100 feet
Hiking Mink Lake
Map & Directions
Co-ordinates: 47.9688, -123.8638 Open in Google Maps