Getting there sometimes is half the challenge. To even begin on this 38 miler into the heart of the Glacier Peak Wilderness, you’ll have to travel by car, ferry, and bus! First, you will need reservations on the Lady of the Lake, a ferry service that runs the length of Lake Chelan, making stops along the way, check out this website for reservations: http://www.ladyofthelake.com/index.php?page_id=209. It’s 35 dollars for a round trip, to Lucerne, your drop off point. From there, you will need to make a reservation on the bus up to Holden Village, where the hike begins, and the only way to contact them is through e-mail, http://www.holdenvillage.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=99&Itemid=49
Once you arrive at Holden, the journey begins! Pick up your bags, and head straight out of the village, past the washed out bridge, and the old township of Winston, the only remains being rock walls, and concrete steps. The trail begins about ¾ of a mile from the center of town, near an open field, you’ll see the trail head marker. The way stays relatively flat on well maintained trail to your first trail junction, at 1.4 miles. Stay left, for Hart’s Lake. Near the 2.6 mile mark, there is a creek crossing, stay right to cross the hiker’s foot bridge, a detour around the stock crossing. Shortly after the crossing, you’ll start to clear the trees, into scrub brush, and rock, and have a good view of the outlet waterfall that rushes out of Hart Lake. The trail skirts the waterfall and the scree fields from Bonanza Peak, and then drops you into Hart Lake basin, at 4.4 miles. Continue pushing on to Lyman Lakes, where there are many campsites available. At mile 6.25, the way continues uphill through forest, and scrub brush, steeply at times, as it switchbacks to the top of Crown Point Falls. Reach lower Lyman Lakes camp at 8.24 miles. There are many camps located here around the Lower Lyman Lake, a beautiful alpine lake fed by glacier water. Be sure to get your drinking water from the creek running out of the lake, near the footbridge crossing, as the glacial silt will clog water filters! Day 2 hike to Image Lake, a 7.16 mile jaunt. From Lyman Lake, it’s a moderate uphill 1.5 miles to Cloudy Pass, and once you reach the meadows that you must cross to reach the pass, you’ll feel as if you’re walking through a carefully manicured garden. From Cloudy Pass, drop down switchbacks, to another trail junction, 2.19 miles from Lyman Lake. Take a left here, and follow the Suiattle Pass Hiker’s trail, to Suiattle Pass, at 2.54 miles. You will have good views down the valley, and up to two more towering peaks, Plummer Mt. and Sitting Bull Mt. . Once at the pass, descend down another .2 miles to another trail junction, here you will join up with the PCT, turn left, and continue down through small step meadows, filled with wildflowers, another .7 miles, or 3.39 miles in, and you will leave the PCT, and follow the Miners’ Ridge trail, which basically is straight through, across a creek crossing. Shortly beyond the creek, you’ll encounter your first old miners’ cabin, made of plywood to your right. The area used to be mined heavily for the copper that is in the mountains here. The next 1.5 miles is pretty flat, following Miners ridge through old growth forest, with occasional views to Glacier Peak, across the valley. Just past an old log cabin, you’ll come to another trail junction, turn right on Image Lake jct, and follow the trail uphill on switchbacks for .7 miles, and come to another monstrous meadow, from here, all the way to Image Lake, the steep hillside is one massive flower strewn meadow, only the folds of Miner’s ridge block you from being able to see the entire way to the lake. Spectacular views across the Suiattle river valley await you here, as you are now above treeline. Peak after peak line up, and it seems impossible that there are so many jagged points arching skyward. At 6.5 miles, you will encounter another trail junction. The upper trail leads to Canyon Lake, so take the lower branch to your left. Just around the ridge, you will be able to see the bowl that Image lake sets in. The camp is to your right, when you reach a 4 way trail junction. After setting up camp, you will want to head to the fire look out tower, another 1.3 miles from camp. It’s an easy hike, and you will be rewarded with 360 degree panoramic views of the best there is to offer! Follow the trail that borders the western shore of the lake, to a sign pointing the way to Miners Ridge, and follow this to it’s end at the Lookout, at the furthest reach of the ridgeline. Spectacular mountain views from here, and you are allowed to climb to the top of the fire lookout, a manned station during the fire season. There are more peaks and mountains jammed into this sight line than one could think possible. Looking down into the river valley below, you can see the two thin ribbons that run out of the densely packed peaks that form the Suiattle river, far below, as if viewed from the window seat on an airliner. Magnificent Glacier Peak dominates the skyline, and you can see all of the glaciers furrows and crevasses from this birds eye view.
Day 3 Retrace your steps to Lower Lyman Lakes, and make camp. This will give you plenty of time to head up to Upper Lyman Lakes, an idyllic mountain park that encampsulates all that is wonderful in the alpine reaches of the state. Lush meadows, full of flowers, ringed by alpine firs, with marmots running and whistling through the grass and bright foliage. Larch grow here, as well, and the melt from the ice blue Lyman Glacier fills small tarns with blue waters that cascade over piles of glacial tailings. The ice covered peaks of Chiwawa Mt, and Phelps Ridge hem in this bowl, as if guarding it from the outside. It’s only a 2.25 mile hike up to the base of Lyman Glacier but oh, so worth it! There are few hikes that overload the senses like this one, its as if the best of all mountain hikes were combined in a small area, for maximum effect.
Day 4 Back to Holden, the way back is mostly all downhill, not too hard on the knees. Be sure to make it back to the village by 1:30pm, as the bus leaves for Lucerne! Once at the docks safely, the ferry leaves at 2:30, and you should be back to Chelan by 5:30 or 6:00pm.
- Distance: 60.7
Location: 48.197777, -120.954317
Old miners cabin still remains intact
Location: 48.209294, -120.868553
more campsites near Hart Lake
Location: 48.205585, -121.00909
Location: 48.205574, -121.004527
4 way junction here. Turn left for camp
Hart Lake camp
Location: 48.214122, -120.858879
Location: 48.211276, -120.82298
turn right here, to follow trail to hiker's foot bridge
Location: 48.196647, -120.984522
Turn right here, and follow the Image Lake sign uphill
Location: 48.204069, -120.802939
trail junction here, trail to the right heads to Holden Lake
Location: 48.197292, -120.912355
Turn right here, and follow signs to Cloudy Pass
Location: 48.198638, -120.941771
turn left here, on the PCT
Location: 48.196231, -120.98254
Signs of yesteryear. Old Log cabin for miners
Location: 48.207399, -121.014965
Trail merges here, stay left
Location: 48.203605, -121.00368
At this junction, stay on the lower trail. Upper to Canyon Lake.
Location: 48.198092, -120.909544
Location: 48.202367, -120.920591
A trail turns right off of trail here, to a meadow camp
miner rdge trl
Location: 48.207315, -121.00934
at the western edge of lake, follow the trail here
Location: 48.19753, -120.953229
follow the signs here for Miners Ridge
Location: 48.199674, -120.939881
Location: 48.201318, -120.933215
Turn left here, sign is off of signpost. Follow directions for Suiattle Pass Hikers trail
Location: 48.202896, -120.926921
Location: 48.206943, -121.029253
Location: 48.197919, -120.90924
follow signs here for upper lyman lakes, goes across log bridge over creek
Location: 48.184573, -120.902567
beautiful surroundings here, at upper lyman lake campground.no fires permitted!
Location: 48.201795, -120.596924
This is the sight that awaits you as you leave the ferry.
Location: 48.19882, -120.774765
The main campus of Holden Village, used to be a copper mining town.
Hart's Lake waterfall
Location: 48.216667, -120.848923
The waterfall that comes out of Hart's Lake, which feeds Railroad Creek.
Isella Glacier Waterfalls
Location: 48.214379, -120.862999
So many ways down the granite walls here, cascades from Isella Glacier above.
Location: 48.205456, -120.88789
Pinnacles of Dumbell Mountain
Crown Point Falls
Location: 48.19882, -120.904713
Beautiful Crown Point Falls, an impressive sight visible from miles away.
Footbridge to Upper Lyman Lakes
Location: 48.19779, -120.908833
This log bridge rises high above Railroad creek, and the water rushes over flat granite.
Lower Lyman Lake
Location: 48.197161, -120.910463
The haze from forest fires in BC, create a distant look across lower Lyman Lake
Meadows of Upper Lyman
Location: 48.190238, -120.902653
Meadows and trail on the way to Upper Lyman Lakes basin
Lower Lyman Lake
Location: 48.188292, -120.904455
Lower Lyman Lake, with Cloudy Pass in the middle, and Cloudy Peak to the right.
Campsite at Upper Lyman
Location: 48.185202, -120.901022
Idyllic campsite at Upper Lyman Lakes.
Upper Lyman Lakes basin
Location: 48.184573, -120.899477
The red of Phelps Ridge blends with the grey granite of Chiwawa Mt. Lyman Glacier also visible.
Phelps Ridge, Lyman Glacier
Location: 48.183257, -120.89613
The green meadows give way to the barrenness and mars scape red near Lyman Glacier.
Location: 48.177762, -120.894499
The blue ice of Lyman Glacier feeds the turqouise blue of the lakes here.
Lyman Glacier viewpoint
Location: 48.177534, -120.894048
Turnaround spot, atop a sandy knoll with a rock cairn.
Location: 48.201337, -120.920935
The meadows here below Cloudy Pass, provide bursts of color to an already impressive landscape.
Cloudy Pass meadows
Location: 48.202024, -120.921192
Looking north, towards Cloudy Peak, the wildflowers and cascading stream produce lovely sightlines.
Location: 48.202138, -120.925827
From Cloudy Pass, you are able to see Upper Lyman Lakes, and the waterfall that feeds the lower lake.
Location: 48.202367, -120.927114
View from the top of Cloudy Pass.
Sitting Bull Mountain
Location: 48.203225, -120.929861
Like so much of the rock and granite in this area, the mountain has a reddish hue to it, accentuated from forest fire haze.
Location: 48.196989, -120.960932
The cloud makes it look as if Glacier Peak has stirred from dormancy.
Massive meadows on Miner's Ridge
Location: 48.203111, -120.991917
The meadows here seem to go on and on into the distance, here along the base of Miner's Ridge.
Location: 48.203568, -121.000242
Wildflowers help frame the mountain.
Location: 48.206829, -121.010027
Meadows surround Image Lake.
Location: 48.2066, -121.027966
Here at the high point on this part of the ridge, spectacular views await.
Location: 48.206772, -121.02891
The beginnings of the Suiattle River, flowing out of the massive peaks. Distant fires have created haze that almost obscures the massive scenery here.
Location: 48.206543, -121.02891
Looking east, back along the ridge you travelled to get here. The meadow in the distance surrounds Image Lake.
Miners Ridge view
Location: 48.207287, -121.029425
Looking north, from the lookout.
Location: 48.160189, -120.527573
The ride home along the lake.