Blanca Lake – Hike Washington

Blanca Lake is the most striking lake that I have ever hiked to in Washington state. Best hike in 2020 hands down!

I hiked it on Sunday, July 19, 2020 and spent roughly 8 hours: 3 hours to get to the lake, about an hour and a half at the lake, and 2-ish hours getting back to the car.

According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, you’d be climbing 37 switchbacks and gaining 2,700 feet in 3 miles. It’s by far the HARDEST HIKE I have ever done.

Location: Central Cascades, Stevens Pass

Distance:  7.5 mi., round trip, 7+ hours

Gain: 3300 ft. Highest Point: 4,600 ft. at Virgin Lake (You’ll see Virgin Lake at the top before arriving at Blanca Lake.)

Blanca Lake gets its gorgeous turquoise color from the Columbia Glacier. It also looks blue at certain angles, and you can see the mountain and tree reflection on a nice sunny day. I also really enjoy hiking through the forest as a lot of the trees remind me of sequoia and redwoods. So definitely GO HUG A TREE!

Once arriving at Blanca Lake, there are plenty of spots to sit and enjoy the beautiful lake. Many people swim, and some even bring their inflatable kayak, floaty, and bikinis.

Getting there:

DO NOT FOLLOW GOOGLE MAP AND DO NOT EXIT ON INDEX ROAD BECAUSE IT’S A DEAD END. YOU MUST ENTER FROM THE EAST SIDE AKA THE “NEW” TRAILHEAD.

From Monroe (or if you’re coming from Seattle), keep on driving EAST on US Hwy 2 until you pass the town of Skykomish. Turn left on FR 64 or Beckler River Road.

After driving about 12 miles on Beckler River Road (you’d bee seeing some people camping along the tiny creek), take the second left at Jack Pass – a 5-way junction. Then keep on driving for about 2-ish miles, take a right on FR 63 at FR 63 and Garland Mineral Springs Road. Go for another 2 miles and you will see the trailhead shortly.

Parking Pass:

Northwest Forest Pass requiredDay Pass and ePass: $5/car or America the Beautiful Pass works, too. However, it was free the day that I went because of COVID.

Logistics/Planning:

  1. I’d highly suggest you download the map area ahead of time (how-to- HERE) because there’s very limited internet access in this area. That way, after you exit on Beckler River Road, you can just follow the GPS to the trailhead. Warning: rough unpaved road!
  2. The toilet at the parking lot was also CLOSED when I was there, so I had to find a secluded spot off the trail to pee, like twice! Note that there’s a toilet at the top (again, it is quite a hike up there!), so definitely try to go before you start this hike!
  3. There was some snow at the top near Virgin Lake, but no spikes needed (at least I was able to carefully pass through!).
  4. Bring at least 3 bottles of water per person, a nice portion of lunch and plenty of snacks. I usually buy a banh mi, pack energy or protein bars as well as hardy fruits like mango or nectarines if I have them around.
  5. Definitely bring an emergency kit just in case of blisters and accidents.
  6. Sunscreen and bug spray is a must because you will need to re-apply it as you go.
  7. Wear hiking boots but consider bringing a pair of sandals because you can cross the lake to the other side. I’ve seen this guy wearing his Luna sandals and definitely am jealous of that!
  8. Pets are allowed.
  9. It’s a very popular and crowded trail, so consider hiking Blanca on a weekday or super early on the weekend.
  10. Lastly, check the weather and read the reviews HERE before you go.

You would need sandals to cross this area safely.
so many people swam!
Guy with his dog, Luna sandals and kayak!

MY OUTFIT: tank top: HANES (thrifted) | shorts: NIKE running | bucket hat: ACNE STUDIOS | backpack: PATAGONIA | boots: KEEN | socks: DARN TOUGH

MORE WASHINGTON TRAIL HIKING IDEAS:

MT. FREMONT FIRE LOOKOUT

LAKE SERENE

CHAIN LAKE LOOPS

PARADISE, MT. RAINIER

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An Trieu

Currently based in Seattle, Style & Senses is my digital life and style journal of all things that inspire my senses and beyond. Hope you stay inspired, as always! - An Trieu.

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