Cities and Towns of the Central Cascades
The Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area spans the Central Cascade Mountains in Washington State, located near Seattle between Stevens Pass/Highway 2 and Snoqualmie Pass/I-90. The area takes its name from the nearly 700 jewel-like mountain lakes nestled among the high rock peaks and timbered valleys of the region. The area is accessed from 47 trailheads and offers 615 miles of trail including the Pacific Crest Trail.
The Okanogan-Wenatchee and Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forests jointly administer this area and have a total of four Ranger Districts, Wenatchee (Leavenworth), Cle Elum, Snoqualmie and Skykomish administering this land. See below for information on the ranger stations.
The diverse topography and the extreme elevations, ranging from 1,000 feet to the highest point in the wilderness area, reaching over 9,000 feet on Mount Stuart, creates climate differences that explains the wide array of vegetation. Old growth forests provide a habitat for much wildlife including owls, golden eagles, woodpeckers, wolverines and lynx. Over 700 mountain lakes provide exceptional water quality.
Needless to say, this is an outdoor enthusiasts playground. Every type of activity can be found here. For those who love to hike, a portion to the Pacific Crest Trail, about 67 trail miles, leads from Snoqualmie Pass to Stevens Pass. The Cashmere Crags in the Enchantment Lakes area ranks as the best rock climbing sites in the western part of the US.
Cle Elum Ranger District - Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. 803 W. 2nd Street, Cle Elum, WA 98922. Phone: 509-852-1100; Fax: 509-674-3800.
Skykomish Ranger District - Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. 74920 NE Stevens Pass Highway, PO Box 305, Skykomish, WA 98288. Phone: 360-677-2414.
Snoqualmie Ranger District - Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. 69805 SE Snoqualmie Pass, I-90, Exit 52, Summit Road, Snoqualmie Pass, WA. Phone: 425-434-6111.
Wenatchee Ranger District - Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. 600 Sherbourne, Leavenworth, WA 98826. Phone: 509-548-2550 or 509-548-2551; Fax: 509-548-5817.
Alpine Lakes Protection Society (ALPS)
This non-profit agency was founded to preserve the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area. Find out how this area came to be a National Recreation Area.
Alpine Lakes Wilderness
A web site of Wilderness.net, which is a partnership project of the Wilderness Institute at The University of Montana's College of Forestry and Conservation, the Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center, and the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute.
Read a description of Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area.
This web site describes the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area, complete with photos and information on how to get there through the many access points, parking situations and camping.
Washington Trails Association
WTA offers information about hiking the Alpine Lakes, such as trail length and elevation gains, along with a travel article accompanying each featured hike.
Lakes Wilderness Permit Application
Application is for the Enchantment Lakes, Stuart, Colchuck, Snow, Eightmile Lakes areas.
A Hike to Lake Talapus
Travel article with pictures by Go Northwest!
Best selection of books on the Northwest.
Cascade Alpine Guide: Climbing and High Routes, Stevens Pass to Rainy Pass (Cascade Alpine Guide) by Fred Beckey. This Mountaineer book contains everything needed to know for climbing the Cascade Mountains including maps, geographic aspects, safety and more. Order now...
Day Hike! Central Cascades, 3rd Edition: The Best Trails You Can Hike in a Day by Mike McQuaide. Explore the best trails for day hikes in the Central Cascades. This guide details 69 hikes through forests, mountain vistas, waterfalls and alpine meadows. Each trail is rated and has a description. Topographical maps are included. Order now...
Day Hiking: Central Cascades by Craig Romano, Author and Alan Baue, Photographer. This book focuses on cream-of-the-crop trails in these areas. Compact in size, this is the most up-to-date guide for the area, organized along highways and other travel corridors, with an emphasis on trails that are 12 miles or less. Order now...
Washington's Central Cascades Fishing Guide by Dave Shorett. This comprehensive guidebook tells where, how and when to fish the area in detail, covering more than 25 streams and 200 lakes, with 14 maps and 40 photos. Trout populations are described in depth, along with fishing techniques, access and hiking directions. Order now...
Selected Climbs in the Cascades Volume II by Jim Nelson and Peter Potterfield. Features 100 routes, including top favorite sport and crag climbing areas. Illustrated throughout with black and white photographs, several with route overlays. Highlights fun, quality climbs for all skill levels. Order now...
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