This trail starts out as the Sauk Mountain trail, a steep, narrow, but an absolutely scenic hike. Begin the hike by switch backing up the southwest side of the mountain, gaining views of Mount Baker and the Skagit River as you go. Along with the views there are a wide variety of wildflowers in the open meadow.
Please stay on the trail. In places, it is eroded, but cutting the switchbacks erodes it further and makes it more dangerous. Once you reach the saddle at 1.3 miles, the trail heads northeast around the crags of Sauk Mountain. Shortly you will come to a junction. There may or may not be a sign for the lake here. Head right and downhill. Keep in mind you will have to gain all this elevation back on the way out!
At the turn, you can see the trail below you. The trail heads down a few switchbacks, then disappears from view in a grove of hemlock and subalpine fir before reappearing just above the lake. Follow the trail through a meadow of wildflowers. In this meadow, you'll see glacier lilies right after snowmelt, followed by mountain heather, Columbia lilies and finishing off with false hellebore and asters.
Listen for the whistling of marmots when you pass the boulder field. Watch for family groups hanging around on the top of the rocks. Can you find the large hole in the rocks on the right side of the trail? It’s at the bottom of a large group of boulders, surely must be the grand entrance to their burrow!
When you reach the grove of trees, the trail flattens out a bit. Watch for a faint trail taking off to your right, that is the old abandoned trail that once came up from Highway 20. Some hikers with route-finding skills relish the challenge of finding this old trail, but unless this is your mission, stay on the main trail that veers to the left.
Out of the trees now, you can again see the lake, but you still have a ways to go. The trail keeps switchbacking down, then skirts around the lake above a small boulder field. Even though overgrown, the trail can be seen and followed. If it’s wet, you will be glad of gaiters or rain pants in this section.
Climb just a little bit more and drop down to the marshy shoreline by the outlet stream. Bend down for a minute and look for the dainty flowers that love these marshy conditions: valerian, false asphodel, saxifrage and the many species of bog loving orchids. Please use the already established social trails, don’t walk on the flowers!
You can now see the ridgeline where you turned off, wave to the hikers looking down on you from the junction.
There are some nice lunch logs here and some camping spots on the hillside above the outlet stream. Please observe proper Leave No Trace camping practices, and don’t camp on the lakeshore. Unfortunately, some hikers who have visited here have not been as conscientious. Pack out what you can and leave the lake better than you found it.