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Blanca Lake, Washington

When I planned my hike to Blanca Lake in the Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest I did not know that day would set record high temperatures for the greater Seattle area. But, my tendency to start my hikes early made the record high temperatures of little consequence as I started up this 3.5 mile trail at 8:30 AM.

The trail to Blanca Lake is a little steeper than I was lead to believe when I selected the trail. The trail starts out at an elevation of 1,900 feet and ends at an elevation of 4,000 feet. This causes some sites to report the elevation gain as 2,100 feet. However, the high point on the trail is at 4,600 feet making the maximum elevation gain 2,700 feet. Round trip distance is 7 miles.

The trail provides nice views of Columbia Peak and Kyes Peak before beginning the decent to Virgin Lake and then onto Blanca Lake. However, the real treasure of this hike is Blancea Lake itself and the rocky peaks and snow that form the backdrop for the lake.

Directions to Blanca Lake:
Heading West on Highway 2 take a left at mile point 35.5 onto road #63. This will be just after a steel bridge and there is a left hand turn lane. Follow road #63 for about 16 miles to a junction with road #65, but, stay on road #63 for another 1.9 miles. Look for a sign that says, "Blanca Lake #152", and veer to the left. The tail head is just a tenth of a mile ahead.

(May 28th, 2005 up: 2:10, down: 1:40)

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This was the first view of mountain peaks on the trail. These are the mountains that forum the back drop for Blanca Lake. To the left is Columbia Peak (7,127 feet). On the right is Kyes Peak (7,227 feet). Columbia Peak, 7,172 feet. Kyes Peak, 7,227 feet. There was still lots of snow on the trail at 4,500 feet even though it was 80 degrees onthis day. As this snow was melting it was turning the hiking trail in to a stream as shown in the next picture. Or maybe the hiking trail was in the stream?
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Which came first, the hiking trail or the stream? Out of new where come a view of Blanca Lake. I thought I stil had about 15 minutes of hiking left just before I took this picture. I was suprised at the color of the lake. I was expecting a deep blue color as I have seen in other alpine lakes. Here is a view of Blancea Lake from my lunch spot. Not too bad eh! The snow in the center of the picture is Columbia Glacier. The tree trunks in the water to the left are gathered at the outlet of the lake. The outlet is a casium formed in rock.
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This is a look at the outlet of Blancea Lake looking upstream toward the lake. Blancea Lake feeds Troublesome Creek which inturn feeds the Skykomish River.

Click on a thumbnail above to see a larger version of the picture.

The pictures in this gallery were taken with a Nikon D70 Digital SLR camera. Any use of these pictures without permission from the photographer is strictly prohibited. Email me to request permission to use any of these pictures or if you would like a higher resolution version.

Last updated: 6/6/05