100 Classic Hikes Washington
by Craig Romano (The Mountaineers Books)
© 2016 Craig Romano/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.
In my nearly 30 years of backpacking, doing 3 to 4 per year, the Robin Lakes area is truly one of the most spectacular backpacking destinations in the NW (Washington and Oregon). For a 64 yo, this was a real trudge to get there. I recommend spending the first night at Tuck Lake, though it has limited camp sites. The two times I have gone, I have camped with a view across the valley at the opposite Mt Daniels and it low lying glacier, then completed the 1.7 miles of 1,200 feet of elevation gain to the Robin Lakes. It is even more difficult than the trek up to Tuck, which is hard to imagine when you are hiking up to Tuck. The location/setting of the Robin Lakes is spectacular. There are multiple fantastic places to camp. Mountain goats and the babies were in abundance and camp right into everyone's camps. In early August the mosquitos were furocious, so later would be better in a heavy snow year like this past year. I strong recommend an easy hike to the Pothole lakes, which are NOT pot holes, but very pretty smaller lakes in themselves where one would truly find solitude and great views down the other side toward Square Lakes and others. There was a lot of now still there when I went. In all, this is one of my all time favorite backpack destinations. My pictures taken are absolutely fabulous with amazing sunsets taken from near the ledge wher the outlet to the lower Robin Lake drops off the side of the mountain. It is 2,000 feet less than the Enchantments in about 8 miles. It should be on all avid NW backpackers list to see in this part of the country. In my view the forest service should make some attempts to improve at least portions of the "trail". I doubt it would make a difference in how many would access it, but may be wrong. When we went there were only 3 backpacking groups there during fabulous weather but bad mosquitos. Enjoy.
This was a wonderfull trail! Though only 7 miles each way, but it beat me up like the 10-12 mile trails I'm used to.
A fair amount of shade without sacrificing views of the gorgeous ridge across the valley. Easy tread though occasionally a very dusty trail. But once you gain some altitude the climb is quite worth it, almost as stunning as the enchantments as you climb smooth granite (great traction) to look over a ridge to three beautiful lakes. Woke to a family of mountain goats grazing arm's length from my tent. They didn't mind at all as I sat watching and taking photographs. A trip to remember! If you're like me and the trail isn't as long as you're used to summit the peak across the way for a stunning view of a variety of peaks on the other side - 2hrs roundtrip. Hike to the lake 6hrs up and 4hrs down. But many take this hike so please do not destroy the fragile heather and plantlife at the top. Seek out bare earth to put up your tent or this place will be ruined in no time!
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