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Rachel Lake & Alta Mountain

Our Hiking Time: 6h 40m
Total Ascent: 3800ft
Highest Point: 6151ft
Total Distance: 10 miles
Location: N 47° 26.4655, W 121° 19.8981
Required Permit: Northwest Forest Pass
Difficulty: Hard

Nathan's PhotoThere’s always time for a scramble up the side of a mountain. So when we discovered that Alta Mountain wasn’t too far beyond our planned hike to Rachel Lake our interest was piqued. At 6,240’ Alta not only promised some long views into the Central Cascades, but all of our trail maps ended near the base of the mountain. Excited to do some exploring off the trail, we geared up and headed out beyond Snoqualmie Pass to the trailhead.

rachel lake alta mountain hikingwithmybrotherAlthough the trail is challenging, making this hike feel more difficult than the elevation gains would suggest, the beauty and the view more than make up for effort. Rachel Lake and Rampart Ridge hold more than can be seen in a day, making this hike perfect for a short backpacking excursion.

There's a lot more to Rachel Lake and Alta Mountain, and you can learn all about it in our book, Hiking Through History Washington.  You'll find a trail map, route descriptions, history, and more for this and many more hikes throughout the State. Help support hikingwithmybrother.com and the work we do by picking up a copy!

From Seattle, take I-90 to Exit 62. Turn north and drive five miles to the Lake Kachess campground. Take a left onto left Box Canyon Road #4930. Continue for four miles and turn left into the Rachel Lake Trailhead parking area. - Nathan

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Rachel Lake & Alta Mountain


TJ LEADENS said...

I took my girlfriend's 4 younger brothers to Rachel Lake, Alta Mountain, Rampart Lakes, and Lila Lakes on a 4 day adventure in the wilderness. This is by far one of my best hikes with striking views. We were there in early August and the only wilderness patrons at Lila Lakes (making a great [i.e. undisturbed] experience for the kids.) At Ages 11-16, none of them had a difficult time with this trail. In fact, I would rate this a Moderate. (although we did not summit Alta)

This is ALWAYS be one of my favorites, and I'm actually thinking of going back this summer!

Jer said...

Hi TJ, This is one of our favorite hikes too! It sounds like you had a really great trip last year, and I'm jealous you got to spend so much time up there. Definitely check out Alta Mountain next time, the 360 views down over the lakes are fantastic!

Rohan Balakrishnan said...

Can anyone comment on the state of the trails and whether there will be any snow present? The trail reports on the WTA site are a bit out-dated. Thanks!

Jer said...

Hi Rohan,

I was able to find a pretty detailed report for you on WTA. Click below.


Rachel Lake report from 6-27-12

Jeanine said...

we got as far as rampart ridge yesterday and saw the plumes from the fires. We did so much gawking it was dark by the time we got out. Hiked the last quarter mile in the dark. The evening light was very eerie from the fires. We are old geezers and did not make it any farther. 2500 ft in 4.5 miles is plenty. And I don't know if I would call that a "trail"...

Nathan said...

2500ft in 4.5 miles is plenty! It's a hard hike up to Rampart Ridge, and the trail above Rachel lake is a little narrow. Glad to hear you made it up there - the views are excellent!

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