Seattle: Shoe Lake

This 13.2-mile PCT out-and-back is resplendent with mountain scenery, including big panoramas, heaps of wildlife, and a blissfully blue alpine lake.
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This 13.2-mile PCT out-and-back is resplendent with mountain scenery, including big panoramas, heaps of wildlife, and a blissfully blue alpine lake.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 10.6

Waypoints

SHO001

Location: 46.6432838439941, -121.378845214844

Hike S across footbridge; trail climbs gently past huckleberries

SHO002

Location: 46.6352005004883, -121.377006530762

Proceed to sharp switchback while searching for elk, which often congregate here in the wee hours

SHO003

Location: 46.6282653808594, -121.375228881836

Pass Ginnette Lake; primitive campsites

SHO004

Location: 46.6255760192871, -121.372398376465

Turn R @ 3-way, staying on signed PCT

SHO005

Location: 46.6176681518555, -121.386672973633

Go L @ 3-way

SHO006

Location: 46.6097221374512, -121.403816223145

Views of Mt. Rainier grow bigger while trail ascends Hogback Ridge, where thermals attract surfing raptors

SHO007

Location: 46.6063919067383, -121.402366638184

Saddle: Jaw-dropping views of Hogback and Round Mtns. and Rimrock Lake; continue straight

SHO008

Location: 46.6000022888184, -121.403297424316

Trail follows ridgeline; colorful wildflowers blanket each side

SHO009

Location: 46.5928916931152, -121.399459838867

Ascend 1/8 mi. over rocky, treeless terrain to col; look for mountain goats before dropping into Shoe Lake Basin

SHO010

Location: 46.5922317504883, -121.400108337402

Stay straight on PCT @ 3-way, staying on ridge above shoe-shaped lake. Side trip: Spur leads L to sapphire-blue lake

SHO011

Location: 46.5869064331055, -121.40438079834

Trail skirts rim above lake, then moves onto a talus field with must-take-photo panoramas of the Cascades.