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Rainbow Lake

North Cascades > North Cascades Highway - Hwy 20
48.5076, -120.7310 Map & Directions
Length
11.5 miles, roundtrip
A view of some peaks behind the forest. Photo by Slowindown. Full-size image

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

Providing access to Bowan Pass, the Rainbow Lake Trail also allows hikers access to deep blue Rainbow Lake. Used mostly by backpackers, the trail lies deep within a network of other access trails. Continue reading

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Hiking Rainbow Lake

Providing access to Bowan Pass, the Rainbow Lake Trail also allows hikers access to deep blue Rainbow Lake. Used mostly by backpackers, the trail lies deep within a network of other access trails.

Its main use is in conjunction with the Rainbow Creek trail and Bridge Creek trail, to help hikers make a more than 30 mile loop through McAlester Pass, ending either in Stehekin, or just off the North Cascades Highway.

Rainbow Lake

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 48.5076, -120.7310 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

A $26 backcountry permit is required to camp overnight in North Cascades National Park. Permits must be picked up in person at one of the park's Wilderness Information Centers

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

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

If you're coming from the North Cascades Highway (the more common way to access this trail), drive Hwy 20 to mile 159, a little more than one mile east of Rainy Pass. Look for the Bridge Creek Trailhead parking, located on the north side of the highway. Cross the highway and pick up the Bridge Creek Trail, then follow it six miles to the junction with the Rainbow Lake Trail. This end of the trail is also sometimes called the South Fork Trail.

From Stehekin, take the bus or walk to the Rainbow Loop Trailhead, about four miles from the landing. Begin hiking on the Rainbow Loop Trail, then branch off and follow the Rainbow Lake Trail five miles in.

More Hike Details

Trailhead

North Cascades > North Cascades Highway - Hwy 20

North Cascades National Park

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Rainbow Lake

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