Washington Cascades

Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area

Aspen Suite Condominiums at the Icicle Village Resort

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.

Ranger Stations

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.

Related Web Sites

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.


Alpine Lakes Wilderness Permit Application
Application is for the Enchantment Lakes, Stuart, Colchuck, Snow, Eightmile Lakes areas.

Travel Articles

A Hike to Lake Talapus
Travel article with pictures by Go Northwest!

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