Seattle, WA: Minotaur Lake

This 3.4-mile hike to Minotaur Lake boasts huckleberry-filled meadows and seasonal wildflowers, not to mention five-star views of two alpine lakes.
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This 3.4-mile hike to Minotaur Lake boasts huckleberry-filled meadows and seasonal wildflowers, not to mention five-star views of two alpine lakes.

This 3.4-mile hike starts with a stiff climb that unfurls up the mountainside—you’ll gain 1,300 feet in the first mile. The trail climbs through a thick conifer corridor, offering several resting points with picturesque views of Nason Ridge and a trailside creek. At .8 mile, the terrain levels out for a well-earned cruise across lush meadows speckled with huckleberries and seasonal wildflowers—you'll also pass a small waterfall. Minotaur Lake comes into view after 1.4 miles of hiking. On wind-free days, the rugged slopes and ridges surrounding the lake are reflected in Minotaur's pristine, glassy waters. From here, the route ascends the ridge separating Minotaur Lake and Theseus Lake where panoramic views extend in every direction.
-Mapped by Alan Bauer, Alan Bauer Photography

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 5.5

Waypoints

MIN005

Location: 47.8362731933594, -121.033416748047

Trail bends to the NE and levels out. Wind through lush meadows speckled with huckleberries, early summer wildflowers, and (in fall) brilliantly colored foliage

MIN002

Location: 47.8294486999512, -121.030120849609

Catch your breath overlooking the creek. Ahead, keep plowing up steep, forested terrain; views of the creek fade away until higher elevations

MIN003

Location: 47.8318634033203, -121.031616210938

Turn around for southeast views of Rock Mountain’s barren slopes rising up from Nason Ridge, then continue plunging upward for more steep climbing

MIN004

Location: 47.8354187011719, -121.03343963623

Pass a boundary sign marking the entrance into Henry Jackson Wilderness. Ahead, breathing becomes easier as trail levels out

MIN007

Location: 47.8430938720703, -121.034507751465

Sounds of the tumbling trailside creek can still be heard as path briefly climbs a steep, open slope scattered with silver snags from a previous fire. Look for nesting birds in the dead trees

MIN009

Location: 47.8461761474609, -121.035850524902

From the ridgetop separating Minotaur Lake and Theseus Lake, look down 500 feet to the deep blues of Theseus Lake on the right. The Chiwawa Mountains, White Mountains, and the Poet Ridge rise in the east. Want more views? Keep moving...

MIN008

Location: 47.8443260192871, -121.035255432129

Path meets the southeast tip of Minotaur Lake. On wind-free days, Labyrinth Mountain’s rugged ridgeline and scree-filled gullies are reflected in the lake’s glassy waters. Next, turn right for an easy crossing of the creek outlet; continue ascent of the ridge that rises up from Minotaur’s east banks

MIN001

Location: 47.8277893066406, -121.030693054199

From trailhead on north side of road, begin an immediate uphill climb into thick second-growth forest

MIN006

Location: 47.8406105041504, -121.03343963623

As you pass through semi-open meadows, listen and look for a small waterfall on the right—a scenic spot to grab a snack

MIN010

Location: 47.8477439880371, -121.037452697754

Panoramas extend in every direction; in early summer, wildflowers blanket the ridge meadows. Turn around and retrace steps to trailhead, or continue north-northwest on boot path toward Labyrinth Mountain for higher views overlooking the lakes and beyond

An island on Theasus Lake

Location: 47.8461761474609, -121.035827636719

Minotaur Lake

Location: 47.8468818664551, -121.036651611328

Minotaur Lake

Location: 47.8472595214844, -121.036880493164

Falls Colors

Location: 47.8477554321289, -121.037376403809