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

Lake Lillian - 9.0 miles

Lake Lillian Trailhead

Lake Lillian

Lake Lillian

Round-Trip Length: 9.0 miles
Start-End Elevation: 3,490’ – 4,733’ (5,137’ max elevation)
Elevation Change: +1,243’ net elevation gain (+3,061’ total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate-Strenuous
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: Yes
Related Trails:

Lake Lillian - 9.0 Miles Round-Trip

The Lake Lillian Trail climbs through private land on a road and clear-cut trail to the forested upper slopes of Mt Margaret. It skirts the summit, drops to Twin Lakes, and continues on steep undulations to Lake Lillian. The lake occupies a scenic bowl with an adjacent pond and scrambling access to the sub-ridge of Rampart Ridge above:

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

For a longer day add a side trip to Lake Margaret, scramble to the summit of Mt Margaret, or up a spur to a sub-ridge of Rampart Ridge for aerial views over the lake and down Rocky Run Basin:

From the parking lot, walk back out to the road and uphill another 100 yards. Turn left where the road forks and head uphill on a wide gravel road for .7 miles and 440' to the official trailhead on the left side of the road marked with a brown bollard and small green sign (3,930').

The main trail turns directly uphill from the road through mountain ash, huckleberry, Douglas fir and beargrass with emerging views of Mt Rainier to the south.

Just shy of 1.7 miles (4,770’) it passes from this old clear-cut area into a mature hemlock - fir forest at the Alpine Lakes Wilderness boundary. Huckleberries are notably abundant in this area.

A long switchback rises steadily to the Lake Lillian - Lake Margaret Trail split on a saddle below Mt Margaret (2.2 miles : 5,025’). Lake Margaret is 1.2 miles roundtrip from this point, a worthy detour.

The Lake Lillian Trail continues north in a mature forest with partial views through the trees under the summit of Mt Margaret. It drops sharply at 3.0 miles (5,027’) on a 400’ descent to Twin Lakes (3.6 miles : 4,606’), which fill a bowl below the ridge extending north from Mt Margaret.

The last mile is steep both ways as it heads up, down, and up again from Twin Lakes to Lake Lillian.

The trail crosses a meadow past Twin Lakes and begins a short, steep climb (3.9 miles) that drops back into talus with views of a waterfall from the base of the final climb (4.2 miles : 4,466’).

The trail pitches up 300’ before leveling past a campsite and adjacent pond to Lake Lillian (4.5 miles : 4,733’). Continue around the lake's east side to climb the sub-ridge of Rampart Ridge for views down Rocky Run Basin toward Silver Peak, and across the interior peaks of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N47 21.868 W121 21.504 — 0.0 miles: Lake Lillian Parking Lot - 3,490'
  • N47 22.110 W121 21.109 — 0.7 miles: Official Trailhead splits off of road - 3,930'
  • N47 22.231 W121 20.710 — 1.2 mile: Trail heads directly uphill - 4,335'
  • N47 22.384 W121 20.463 — 1.7 mile: Pass thru clearcut into mature forest - 4,770'
  • N47 22.583 W121 20.352 — 2.2 miles: Saddle @ Lake Margaret – Lake Lillian split - 5,025'
  • N47 22.945 W121 20.509 — 2.8 miles: Traverse mature forest under Mt. Margaret - 5,125'
  • N47 23.200 W121 20.550 — 3.2 miles: Pass tiny pond and continue descent - 4,820'
  • N47 23.344 W121 20.383 — 3.6 miles: Twin Lakes - 4,606'
  • N47 23.754 W121 20.474 — 4.2 miles: Steep undulations on final approach
  • N47 23.953 W121 20.377 — 4.5 miles: Lake Lillian - 4,733'

Worth Noting

  • This trail begins on privately-owned land that's crossed by several logging roads. Carefully note directions for finding the trailhead from the beginning of the on-road portion of this trail.
  • Continue around the east (right) side of Lake Lillian to climb the sub-ridge of Rampart Ridge above for tremendous views down the Rocky Run basin toward Silver Peak and to the interior peaks of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
  • Huckleberries are abundant in the forest below the saddle, and blueberries are especially plentiful on the descent to Twin Lakes.

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.

  • Camp only at established sites around Twin Lakes and Lake Lillian, avoiding fragile vegetation along the lake shores.

  • Fires are not permitted above 5000' west of the Cascade Crest.

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

  • The land at the parking area is private (Northern Pacific Land Grant) so no pass is required to park here. Note that general signage maybe absent.
  • 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 Lake Lillian Trailhead is located 4.4 miles from Exit 54 on I-90, just beyond Snoqualmie Pass.

From I-90, take exit 54 (signed 906 W / Hyak) and turn left off the ramp towards Gold Creek. Pass under the freeway and turn right just past the I-90 off-ramp at a dirt road, signed Gold Creek just beyond. Continue on this frontage road along the north side I-90, passing cabins on the left at 2.4 miles and beginning to climb steeply at 2.5 miles.

At 2.9 miles, pass a spur road splitting off left – do not take this road, but rather turn left at the very next split just beyond. Continue up another 1.5 miles to a parking lot with bulletin board on the left. Park here, but note that the trailhead is actually 100 yards further up this road, and left at another split.

This parking lot on private land holds approximately 25 cars, and has no privy. 

Contact Information

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

Reference Trail #1332

Trip Reports

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