Trails for everyone, forever

Home Go Hiking Trip Reports Minotaur Lake

Trip Report

Minotaur Lake — Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014

Central Cascades
Creek at the outlet of Minotaur Lake
I wanted to do a snowshoe trip in the area of the top of the Stevens Pass to get a nice amount of snow, and while I was exploring options around the Smith Brook Road (such as McCausland and Jove) my eye fell upon Labyrinth Mountain. In summer, this would be a short easy hike, but the distance to the trailhead (about 7 miles one way) is the challenge here. It sounded like a fun trip for pretty much guaranteed solitude, so I decided to give it a go. This trip was my first snowshoeing trip of the winter, and given the length of the trip I had some intermediate time goals. If I wouldn't be able to make it to the actual trailhead early enough, then I would fall back to Jove Peak. I started at 6:30am from the parking area (fist car). Surprisingly it was cloudy and snowing lightly, so it didn't get too cold during the night (14F). At about 7:45am I was at that Lake Valhalla TH, and 8:30am at the Rainy Pass. At 9:45am I finally arrived at the Minotaur Lake Trailhead. This was early enough that I might be able to make it, so I started climbing, mostly following the summer trail (which is the creation of a sadistic person). The climb was going pretty well, but when I entered the more open forest starting at 5000ft I hit a massive amount of powder. There was at least 2 feet of fresh powder on the ground, which was much more than I expected from checking SNOTEL locations. The heavy rain of last week must have left much more snow here. Anyway, my dog was not interested in breaking trail for me, so I was on my own and it was slow going. I finally arrived at the lake at about 12:30. We crossed the outlet of the lake to enjoy the view of Theseus Lake. This was a great spot for lunch, and given the deep powder and time I decided to call it day and walk back. I was back at the trailhead at about 2pm. The walk back was pleasant because the sky was now clear and the sun was setting, so the light was beautiful. We got back at the car at 5:15pm (last car). With clear skies it was getting cold already (12F). The only people I saw during the day were 3 snowmobile users enjoying the sunset at . Friendly people, and very considerate when passing me. The trail to Lake Valhalla looked pretty well packed already in the morning from visitors on Saturday, and seemed even better packed when I returned. Would I recommend this hike? First, you need to be pretty stubborn and patient to walk 7 miles over a road to reach the trailhead. Second, you probably need more time than I reserved (unless you are much faster). However, I do think the hike is feasible, and I might retry it later. The views from Labyrinth should be pretty amazing in winter. Oh, and I learned that sunscreen can freeze. Statistics (estimate, GPS was out of battery) : - 18 miles - elevation gain 4500ft
Minotaur Lake
Theseus Lake
View sourth on Mt Stuart and The Cradle