- Backpack in to Myrtle Lake (Friday afternoon/evening),
- Backpack up to/through Cow Creek Meadows (Saturday early-morning),
- Backpack up/over to Larch Lakes (Saturday mid-morning), and
- Backpack out to the trailhead (Sunday morning)
Based on recent trip reports, it's worth sharing there are *new* signs posted along the trail which make navigating ultra easy; including a sign at the junction to head up to Larch Lakes. Note: the foot bridge here is still missing, we did have to "ford the river" on our way out which was a chilly mid-calf deep. There is a "bypass" to avoid this, which intersects the Myrtle Lake. It is marked with a sign when approaching it from Myrtle Lakes but not from Larch Lake; you'll need to keep an eye out for the boot path as you get within a 1/2-mile of the Entiat River.
An extra shout-out and many thanks to the incredible crews from WTA up at Larch Lakes -- their efforts made a huge difference!
Here are some other highlights/details worth sharing:
- Myrtle Lake has a great campsite on the North end, plus a campground on the South end. At the North-end camp, we were visited by deer. They were alarmingly comfortable with our presence and stuck around camp until well after dark.
- Cow Creek Meadows is gorgeous and worth the extra elevation gain to take in the views. A majority of this portion of the hike is through burn, and just as the forest returned we were treated with ripening huckleberries.
- Continuing up Cow Creek Trail to Garland Peak Trail was also through burn area and felt much better ascending than I would imagine descending. The first 400-feet are relatively straightforward but the last 400-feet you'll have to go up/over a number of blowdowns.
- Garland Peak Trail is also gorgeous, offering a variety of terrain - rock, alpine views and forest; by far the best point of entry to Larch Lakes and the surrounding meadows.
- Larch Lakes are lush and generally untouched from fires. We enjoyed the upper lake without encountering anyone else, until Sunday morning when the WTA crew staying at the lower lakes came up to continue their work. Larch Lake trail down was a tad overgrown in areas but otherwise easy to navigate. There is a spur option to avoid the river-crossing. We took the risk and enjoyed our mid-morning refresh getting our feet (and calves) wet.