Rachel Lake, Rachel Lake Trailhead, Seattle: Alpine Lakes Wilderness - Snoqualmie Pass - Central Cascades, Washington

Rachel Lake - 8.2 miles

Rachel Lake Trailhead

Aerial views on the climb between Rachel Lake and the Rampart Lakes

Aerial views on the climb between Rachel Lake and the Rampart Lakes

Round-Trip Length: 8.2 miles
Start-End Elevation: 2,800' – 4,667' (4,667’ max elevation)
Elevation Change: +1,867’ net elevation gain (+2,295’ total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate-Strenuous
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Rachel Lake - 8.2 Miles Round-Trip

The Rachel Lake Trail runs 4.1 miles along Box Canyon Creek with stops at three waterfalls on the way to Rachel Lake. It continues one mile over a steep saddle to Rampart Lakes, a cluster of small lakes tucked in a basin below Rampart Ridge:

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

From the parking lot, walk the road back to find the trailhead on the far side. The trail starts with a brief climb on rooted, eroded tread to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness boundary near Box Canyon Creek (.4 miles : 3,033').

Travel eases through huckleberry, hemlock and fir to a set of mossy boulders and waterfall on the creek (1.2 miles : 3,185'). It stays mostly level through open thimbleberry patches to a trail split for Hilbox Mountain (2.4 miles : 3,325'), then edges back to the creek and turns sharply up Box Canyon for Rachel Lake (2.75 miles).

The trail passes waterfalls along Box Canyon Creek at 2.85 miles (3,465’) and 3.0 miles (3,550’). Travel steepens without the aid of switchbacks on an eroded and oft-muddy path to a third waterfall, which cascades over a granite slab with nice views down Box Canyon (3.5 miles : 4,095').

It continues on rocky terrain before leveling off on the final approach to Rachel Lake (4.1 miles (4,667’). There's a privy and numerous campsites around the lake. The trail continues up the north side and scales a steep ridge over the lake to a split for Rampart Lakes, Lila Lake and Alta Peak.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N47 24.053 W121 17.017 — 0.0 miles: Rachel Lake Trailhead - 2,800'
  • N47 24.335 W121 17.195 — 0.5 miles: After climb trail flattens along creek - 3,075'
  • N47 24.623 W121 17.466 — 1.0 miles: Follow creek to boulders & waterfall - 3,160
  • N47 24.836 W121 17.795 — 1.55 miles: Continue up valley - 3,226'
  • N47 24.999 W121 18.227 — 2.0 miles: Level travel with views opening to Hibox - 3,271
  • N47 25.158 W121 18.548 — 2.4 miles: Pass a side trail in thimbleberry heading north - 3,325'
  • N47 25.350 W121 19.058 — 3.0 miles: Trail rises past two waterfalls - 3,551'
  • N47 25.266 W121 19.374 — 3.5 miles: Slab Waterfall - 4,096'
  • N47 25.390 W121 19.605 — 4.0 miles: Trail levels on approach to Rachel Lake - 4,547'
  • N47 25.362 W121 19.751 — 4.1 miles: Rachel Lake - 4,667'

Worth Noting

  • Among northwest native tribes, thimbleberry stands were claimed and tended by individual families; the large, maple-like leaves were rolled up and used to collect the berries.
  • Consider continuing north (right) from the Rampart Lakes – Lake Lila junction for a scramble up Alta Peak to spectacular views from Rainier to Glacier Peak.

Camping and Backpacking Information

  • An overnight Wilderness Permit must be filled out at the TH and carried for the duration of your trip in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Max group size is 12.

  • Camping is allowed only at designated sites within 1/2 mile of Rachel Lake.

  • Campfires are not permitted above 5000' east of the crest, or at Rachel Lake.

  • Car camping is also available at nearby Kachess Lake Campground, accessed by turning right at the T-intersection 5.2 miles from Exit 62.

Fishing Information

  • Fishing is allowed with a valid WA state fishing license.

  • Contact the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for more information.

  • wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/
Email: [email protected]
Sport | Commercial Licenses: 360.902.2434
Disability Licenses: 360.902.2460

Rules and Regulations

  • A Northwest Forest Pass or $5 fee is required at this trailhead.
  • A free day use or overnight Wilderness Permit must be filled out at the TH and carried for the duration of your trip in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
  • Dogs must be leashed at all times in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

Directions to Trailhead

The Rachel Lake Trailhead is located 9 miles from Exit 62 on I-90, 12.5 miles east of Snoqualmie Pass.

From I-90, exit 62 to Kachess Lake Campground and turn left off the ramp. Follow signs 5.2 miles on FR 49 to a T-junction. Going right at the T leads immediately into Kachess Lake CG. Turn left at the T for Rachel Lake Trailhead (FR 4930) and proceed .5 miles to a Y-junction. Bear right and continue another 3.3 miles to the parking lot and Trailhead on a rough, potholed road.

The parking lot holds 25 cars, with overflow parking along the road. Bathrooms are available. Note that the trailhead is accessed from the road, not the parking lot.

Contact Information

Okanogan - Wenatchee National Forest | Cle Elum Ranger District
803 West 2nd Street
Cle Elum, WA 989222
509.852.1100

Reference Trail #1313

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.



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