Coal Creek, WA
Pathfinder | 60 pts
This is a sublime Alpine Lakes Experience, especially if you add in side trips to Lila and Rampart Lakes. The views are incredible and the Alpine Lakes don't get better than this anywhere in the area. This can be done as a long day hike - 6+ hours up and back to Mt Alta with minimal rest stops and no side trips. Or, plan 10-12 hours to fully experience the area.
The views from Alta Mt. are just reward for the effort and altitude gain - when the weather is clear you can see past Mt Rainier to the South and Baker to the north. After the hot, sweaty climb up Alta Mt, it is a short walk down to a cool dip in the turquoise waters of Lila Lakes. After you've cooled off, head back the way you came, out along the ridge above Rachel Lake. Instead of going left at the "T" and heading back down to Rachel Lake, go right and you will have a short, flat 1 mile detour out to Rampart Lakes. You won't be disappointed - depending on the time of year there will be a chain of of 6-10 beautiful lakes, waterfalls, and creeks joining them. There are beautiful meadows of wildflowers in July and by late August the huckleberries get thick. If you plan on staying overnight, this area has several most excellent sites. At dusk the goats dance along Rampart Ridge and when it gets dark the shooting stars are so frequent you'll loose count.
No campfires are allowed at any of the lakes over 4000ft so be sure to bring your own stove for cookling. Also, don't forget the bug juice since the bugs do get quite thick during the summer.