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Mountaineering Information: Blanca Lake – Again o’ Past


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Mar 15, 2024
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Blanca Lake is without doubt one of the most picturesque alpine lakes in Washington. Its waters are sometimes described as “teal”, “turquoise”, or “vibrant blue,” giving it a hanging magnificence.

Like many worthwhile hikes in Washington’s Cascade Vary, this hike is steep and strenuous. Anybody that places within the laborious work of booting as much as Blanca Lake could have their efforts rewarded handsomely.

I discover myself recommending Blanca Lake time and again to household, mates, and acquaintances searching for unimaginable hikes nearish to Seattle. You actually can’t beat the views you get from this glacier-fed lake basin surrounded by craggy peaks.

Kim soaks her hair in the chilly waters of Blanca Lake
Kim soaks her hair in the chilly waters of Blanca Lake

Kim soaks her hair within the chilly waters of Blanca Lake

Fast Information​

  • Distance: 7 miles out and again
  • Hike Time: 5-7 hours
  • Elevation Acquire/Loss: 3000 toes
  • Charge: Northwest Forest Pass
  • Canine: Sure
  • Issue: Laborious

Mountaineering to Blanca Lake​

In July 2016, Kim, Arrow the Cattle Canine, and I hiked to Blanca Lake from the turnoff to Nationwide Forest Growth Highway 63 on the Index-Galena Highway. We had been unable to drive to the official Blanca Lake Trailhead as a result of the street was closed as a consequence of being washed out.

The street closure made our hike 12 miles out and again as a substitute of seven, nevertheless it was effectively definitely worth the journey!

Be sure to name the Skykomish Ranger District workplace at 360-677-2414 earlier than your hike to get up-to-date info on street circumstances.

From the trailhead, you’ll climb 37 switchbacks and acquire 2700 toes in 3 miles. When you attain the hike’s highpoint at Virgin Lake, you’ll then descend 500 toes over 0.5 miles to Blanca Lake.

Scenery along the trail
Scenery along the trail

Surroundings alongside the path

The very best time to hike to Blanca is between July and October, when most or all the snow has melted.

Kim poses with a hiking stick she found in front of the lake
Kim poses with a hiking stick she found in front of the lake

Kim poses with a climbing stick she present in entrance of the lake

Why is Blanca Lake Teal?​

Curious as to how the lake will get its distinct shade? That is brought on by the Coleman Glacier that feeds the lake. Over time, the ice flows downhill and grinds or tills the rocks beneath into glacial flour. When the meltwater enters the lake, it retains the sediments and the “glacial milk” makes the water teal.

Max (the author) takes an exhilarating dip in the freezing lake
Max (the author) takes an exhilarating dip in the freezing lake

Max (the creator) takes an exhilarating dip within the freezing lake



From Seattle, get on I-45 northbound and take exit 23 for State Route 522. Proceed eastbound for 13.3 miles, then flip proper onto U.S. Route 2. Proceed for 21.6 miles, then flip left onto Index-Galena Highway. Proceed for 14.7 miles then flip left onto NF-63 (if it’s open). Proceed for 1.9 miles and park on the trailhead on the left.

Get Directions




Blanca Lake
Blanca Lake

Driftwood in Blanca Lake
Driftwood in Blanca Lake


Wish to hike Washington’s greatest trails? Try our different Washington Mountaineering Guides.
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