Heather Lake Trail

Snohomish County, Washington

Distance2.5mi
Elevation Gain1,305ft
Trailhead Elevation1,381ft
Top2,461ft
Elevation Min/Max1381/2461ft
Elevation Start/End1381/1381ft

Heather Lake Trail

Heather Lake Trail is a hiking trail in Snohomish County, Washington. It is 2.5 miles long and begins at 1,381 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 5 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,305 feet. The Heather Lake Trailhead parking is near the trailhead.

Heather Lake Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"The trail to Heather Lake offers an interesting and rewarding hike with just enough challenge to make the swim at the end all the more inviting— at least during high summer. If you prefer solitude, the lake also makes for a worthwhile destination during some of the colder months, thanks to its low elevation and dramatic setting beneath 1,500-foot cliffs."

"The very popular walk to Heather Lake is short, but it’s a classic: old-growth and mature second-growth forest, perennial creeks, peekaboo views, and a lake situated in a beautiful setting.

Mount Pilchuck towers above, and a long ribbon of water falls into the lake. Midsummer swimming is always a possibility, and anglers are known to frequent the lake nearly year-round. Wildflower displays along the rocky shoreline are usually pretty good, as is berry picking in the fall."

"The steep and rocky trail ascends through magnificent old-growth cedar and hemlock to a lake in a cirque at the foot of Mount Pilchuck. The trail begins on a 1940s logging road, comfortably wide but surfaced with sharp rock.

Children will find footing difficult in places, and toddlers may need to be carried. The last half-mile winds through big trees. The lake is large enough for children to wade and splash in."

"Don’t expect to find much heather growing along the shores of this pretty little subalpine lake. That ubiquitous mountain shrub is pretty hard to find on this hike. But what you can expect to see along the way are some mighty fine old cedars.

Expect, too, to be serenaded by babbling brooks, wooed by fine views of Mount Pilchuck’s craggy, rocky north face, and charmed by Heather’s placid waters. Don’t plan on being alone here, however; this easy trail is one of the premier stomping grounds off of the Mountain Loop Highway. On a sunny summer weekend, you’ll likely encounter the entire spectrum of the hiking world, from old-timers to neophytes and everyone in between."

"The Heather Lake Trail can be a wonderful route for snowshoers as it
climbs just 2 miles—gaining more than 1000 feet—through thick second-
growth forest to arrive at a stunningly beautiful alpine lake nestled in a
deep rock cirque on the north face of Mount Pilchuck."

Heather Lake Trail Reviews

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7/24/2018
This hike was beautiful. The trail takes you through a gorgeous old growth forest and the wonderful lake is totally worth the uphill (moderately steep, kind of rocky, full of roots) trip.
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7/17/2018
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5/27/2018
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6/13/2010
Fairly easy trail but very muddy and wet. The lake is beautiful with a really nice flat loop trail at the top that takes you around the lake. Gorgeous waterfalls created from snow melt on the cliffside aboe the lake. Mosquitos were bad this time of year so bring bug spray. Was a little cold and windy as well, weather could be great 5 miles away and still misty and cloudy at the lake. Very crowded trail which is mostly why I don't give it better than 3 stars.
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4/25/2010
Nice day hike all around. Parking is easy, the trail is easy to follow although wet the entire way. It is rocky and filled with ruts, puddles, creek crossings and switch backs. This time of year the top of the top quarter mile or so is covered in snow, as is the whole area around the lake, which is still covered in ice. While at the lake we watched several avalanches tumble down the slopes of Mt Pilchuck. We took two dogs with us who loved to romp and climb the obstacles both on trail and off. This hike didnt get 5 stars from me for one reason, the crowds. despite being early in season the parking lot was full, there was traffic both directions on the trail and it was difficult to find peace around the lake.
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2/20/2010
Trail is in good condition although you may want to bring your poles along as they will spare you knees on the trek down. This trail is almost an exact duplicate to the Lake 22 trail about a mile away. Same characteristics, same rock slides, same old growth forest. It will make you wonder, however, what those SOBs were thinking as they hacked down thousand year old trees. Even though it's only February, trail was 100% snow free. Heather Lake was still under heavy ice though. Be careful, boardwalks around the lake are VERY slippery.
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8/2/2009
Good little hike to get the heart rate up. Go to the right and cross avalanche deadfall, or take boardwalk to the left to the little finger at S. end of the lake. Great little spot to swim, sun yourself on a warm rock. Beautiful surroundings of gnarly crags, sharp spires, and lush greenery, plus wilflowers. never thought I would be as impressed as I was with just a little 2-miler. We went on a Sunday afternoon and expected it to be teemong with people, but only a few to be found. We'll definitely go again.
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6/22/2009
This is a beautiful day hike. A good mix of switchbacks and old roads. The top of the trail had a stretch about 100 yds of 2-3 feet of snow at the saddle to the lake, and the glaciers on the opposite lake side were spectacular! Waterfalls cascade down from multiple locations creating an almost fantasy like setting. 330 degrees of cliffs surround the lake and the water is so clear you can see fish swimming 15 feet down ! I've done it twice and would go again.
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6/18/2009
I went in mid-June and near the lake there was still a ton of snow. I went back July 11th and the only snow was at the north side of the lake where there was snow where there was an avalanche. Both times it was a lot of fun. My kids 5 and 7 went the first time and had a great time too. This is one of my favorite day hikes.
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5/24/2009
Beautiful lake. I also hiked lake twenty-two. They are like twins... After 2 miles of steady uphil, beautiful hike, you see the gorgeous lake at the end of the trail. I went up there in memorial weekend, and there was still 5 foot of snow at the lake. About a quarter of the lake was stilled iced out, but as we went up on a sunny day, we were feeling comfortable in T shirt. What a great hike it was... You will not regret hiking this trail.
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Heather Lake Trail Photos

Trail Information

Snohomish County
Nearby City
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
Accessibility
Moderate
Skill Level
Alpine Lakes Protection Society (ALPS), www.alpinelakes.org. Middle Fork Coalition, www.midforc.org. USDA Forest Service Darrington Ranger District, 1405 Emens St., Darrington, WA 98241; (360) 436-1155; www .fs.usda.gov/mbs. USDA Forest Service Verlot Public Service Center, 33515 Mountain Loop Hwy., Granite Falls, WA 98252; (360) 691-7791; Everett Mountaineers, www .everettmountaineers.org.
Local Contacts
USGS Verlot
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Sep 2018