I’ve completed a few hikes in the Alpine Wilderness and I always seem to be saying WOW, or beautiful, gorgeous, and the list goes on. Lake Ingalls did not disappoint! I’ve had a couple goals this year. One was to see goats and the other was to see a bear, but from a safe distance! I definitely checked off one of these goals!
We’ve had some kinda crazy weather here in Washington recently plus some devastating forest fires. For a time Lake Ingalls was closed due to the Teanaway fire. It opened last week and Sunday’s forecast called for sun and 50 degrees which sounded perfect!
Four of us headed for the trail. We were a group blend of PNW outdoor women and PNW happy hikers. We all share a love of the outdoors! Along the road to the trailhead we could see hillsides of burned trees, along with some sparesd houses. The little houses were the only things to survive. Amazing how they were surrounded by char but appeared to be unscathed. We even saw some smoldering sections and wildland firefighters doing some control burns. Amazing people!!
The temperature was a bit brisk when we arrived but the trail starts steadily uphill right from the get go so we were warmed up in a few minutes. The trail had a little bit of everything. A little mud, a little snow, a little slush and quite a bit of rocks. Let’s not forget lots of fantastic views!! So much to look at along the way. We even had several spots to view Mt Rainier which also amazing! It always surprises me all the different locations where you can see Mt Rainier. Such a beauty!
It appears the trail gains about 2,500 feet up to the pass. It is steady with lots of switchbacks. This is a very popular trail so there was a steady stream of people headed up and quite a few backpackers on their way out. Everyone told us they saw goats so I was pretty excited to get to the top! It’s a workout hike! Took us about 3 hours to get to the pass. There were 4 goats just hanging out. One walking down the trail towards us. I’m pretty sure I acted like a kid in a candy store! They are so darn cute! You just want to hug them, except for those horns. They really didn’t seem to be bothered by the hikers. They just went out their own business.
At the top was the first time we got to see larches. They are quite the sight especially contrasted by the deep blue sky!! So pretty! Seeing a whole meadow of them either the snow and blue sky was definitely a WOW moment!!
I have to admit I honestly had no idea what they were beyond bright yellow color. Come to find out they are a deciduous conifer. They have soft needles that turn yellow in the fall before dropping them come back in the spring as green needles. Learn something new everyday!
From the top you can see the trail around the meadow that heads to Lake Ingalls. It is about an hour hike so we headed to the lake. Most of the trail is flat except for the last 500 feet uphill. The last bit is a scramble up rock to the lake. Luckily the snow had melted so we could see the whole hill. I would imagine in snow this would be very difficult to climb safely.
The lake looks like most of the Alpine Lakes. Deep blue water surrounded by jaded mountains! They are just breathtaking. We grabbed a quick lunch and decided to head back as the wind was starting to pick up. Only took about 2.5 hours to get down. Tired feet and we were starving! Mama Vallone’s restaurant in Cle Elum hit the spot!
This is a great hike. The scenery is amazing and did not disappoint! I would imagine in the summer this is a popular spot for backpacking.
Another fun adventure! Great meeting some new hikers.