It won’t be long now.
Soon the snow is going to fly, burying our favorite mountain trails and triggering the annual road closures that make some of the most beautiful areas of the Pacific Northwest all but off limits.
But that time hasn’t come just yet. There’s still a chance to get out and enjoy some final late-season hikes in Washington’s Cascades. We’ve collected a few of our favorites below. Just be sure to check road and trail conditions before you go, because once the snow really does fall, you’ll be out of luck.
1. Heather-Maple Pass Loop
Length: 7.2 miles round-trip
Difficulty: Moderate to challenging
At this point in the season, the storied alpine larches have mostly lost their golden hues — but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other treasures to be found on this popular North Cascades trail. There’s Lake Ann, mature forests, endless mountain views and maybe even a ptarmigan or two. Just get going: Recent trip reports already note early dustings of snow.
2. Blue Lake
Length: 4.4 miles round-trip
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
This pristine mountain lake sits pretty high up — at 6,250 feet — so chances are it won’t be snow free for much longer. Before it ices up, hike this low-stress trail for some incredible granite views and, if you’re lucky, a little sunshine sparkling on the aquamarine water.
3. Lake Twenty Two
Length: 5.4 miles round-trip
If you’re in the mood for a walk through a classic Northwest forest that is never too far from the sound of rushing water, Lake Twenty Two has your name written all over it. This is a wet place, so dress accordingly. But also come prepared with a camera — you’re going to see lots of lush ferns, a waterfall or two and some nice shots of Whitehorse Mountain, Three Fingers and Mount Pilchuck.
4. Mount Dickerman
Length: 8.2 miles round-trip
Wait too long and you’ll want to bring your snowshoes along for this hike, which gains a stout 4,000 feet over four miles on the way to the 5,760-foot summit. If that elevation sounds pretty tough, that’s because it is. But hard work gets rewarded on this trail, with expansive Cascade views unmatched by almost any other hike in the region.
5. Perry Creek
Length: Up to 10.5 miles round-trip
Near the tough Mount Dickerman hike mentioned above, the Perry Creek hike is a more manageable trail that traverses through thick forest before thinning out and exposing scenic waterfalls and, eventually, eye-popping alpine vistas. For a shorter day trip, consider hiking just the first two miles to Perry Creek Falls before turning around and heading for home.