The popular Alpine Lakes Wilderness encompasses approximately 394,000 acres in the Central Cascades Region within Washington state. The area is accessed by 47 trailheads and 615 miles of trails. The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT) enters from Stevens Pass on the north to follow the crest south, with a long westward bend to Snoqualmie Pass, a distance of 67 trail miles.
More than 700 lakes and mountain ponds dot the glacier-carved terrain of this wilderness. Tree covered valleys give way to rocky ridges and rugged peaks along the crest of the Cascades. Many peaks and slopes are permanently cloaked in snowfields. From wet forests of Douglas fir, cedar, and an understory of salal and berries, to firs and mountain hemlock, the landscape opens up to expansive meadows matted with low growth and ends with dry forestland of ponderosa pine and grasses.
The Enchantment Lakes area contains the Cashmere Crags, which rate among the best rock-climbing sites in the western United States. Some of the names may cause you to think twice before heading up: Bloody Tower, Cruel Thumb, Cynical Pinnacle or Crocodile Fang. Dozens of solid granite spires offer routes from the low Class 5s to 5.11 and faces as long as 1,500 feet.
Note: Alpine Lakes Wilderness is impacted by nearly 150,000 visitors each year, many with little understanding of Wilderness ethics. In order to preserve the integrity of the Wilderness it has become necessary to impose additional restrictions in many areas. Help protect your wilderness by following wilderness regulations and using Leave No Trace principles.
Before you plan to visit the Alpine Lakes Wilderness check with the Wenatchee Ranger District in Leavenworth, WA (509) 548-2550 for current conditions and restrictions.
Key access points: Trail and trailhead information
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At a Glance
Alpine Lakes Wilderness is located in the rugged Central Cascades Region of Washington state and is jointly administered by the Okanogan-Wenatchee and Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forests.
Bandera, Big Jim Mountain, Big Snow Mountain, Blewett, Cashmere Mountain, Chikamin Peak, Chiwaukum Mountains, Davis Peak, Enchantment Lakes, Grotto, Jack Ridge, Lake Philippa, Leavenworth, Mount Daniel, Mount Howard, Mount Phelps, Mount Si, Mount Stuart, Polallie Ridge, Scenic, Skykomish, Snoqualmie Lake, Snoqualmie Pass, Stevens Pass, The Cradle. Download free U.S. Forest Service Topo Maps here.
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Trailheads that access Alpine Lakes Wilderness
Trails within Alpine Lakes Wilderness