Alpine Lakes Wilderness
This wilderness covers over 414,000 acres in the Okanagon-Wenatchee and Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. It contains more than 700 lakes and mountain ponds, rugged creeks, and open meadows. It can be accessed by 47 trailheads and over 600 miles of trails.
The Alpine Lakes Wilderness sits at the heart of the Mountains to Sound Greenway, and at the intersection of 35 million years of geologic activity. Granitic magma welling under the surface from the collision of an oceanic and continental plate created the distinctive spires and varied coloring of the Snoqualmie Batholith. The result is a storm of glacier-carved towering rock, littered with high-elevation lakes and deep river valleys. Variation in elevation and precipitation create a wide range of ecosystems, which provide habitat for wolves, lynx, wolverines, and a myriad of other native plants and animals.
The area was designated a wilderness area in 1976, and its protection stemmed from a growing concern and outcry among local environmental activists over the incursion of timber sales and logging roads into valleys considered “pristine” or otherwise undeveloped. The Alpine Lakes Wilderness is one of the nation’s most heavily visited wilderness areas; its trailheads are easily accessed from nearby population centers. Starting at the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Trailhead, hikers can follow abandoned 1930s-era railroad beds and roads through mature second growth northwest forest. Longer journeys will take hikers up to the farthest reaches of the high Cascade Mountains.
- Pass or Permit Required:
- Northwest Forest Pass | Learn More
- More Information:
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