The reward on this 7.1-mile out-and-back is a sprawling backcountry lake surrounded by craggy Cascade peaks. From the roadside parking pullout, cross FR 7601 to pick up the trail in Eightmile Creek drainage. The trail climbs open pine slopes ripe with wildflowers and grand views of Colchuck and Dragontail peaks. After 0.6 mile, the climb eases as it merges onto old roadbed—traveling past colorful hummingbirds, wildflowers, and butterflies—then crosses a footbridge over Pioneer Creek.
Less than half a mile later, bear left and leave the roadbed, heading southwest into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Hike past towering, old-growth cedars and trace the banks of Eightmile Creek en route to the northern tip of Little Eightmile Lake. From here, turn right at the 3-way junction onto Trail 1554 and eat lunch at a viewpoint overlooking Eightmile Lake. Return to the 3-way junction and turn right for the remaining 0.6-mile stretch to Eightmile Lake. Relax along the banks of this giant pool before starting the return trip back to the trailhead.
-Mapped by Alan Bauer, Alan Bauer Photography
- Distance: 11.4
Location: 47.5358448, -120.8133298
Head northwest up the Eightmile Creek drainage. Note: The trail starts on the north side of the road across from the roadside parking.
Location: 47.5364496, -120.8159423
The trail climbs open pine slopes ripe with wildflowers (lupines, paintbrush, Lydall's mariposa lilies, and glacier lilies) and grand views of Colchuck and Dragontail peaks, two granite mountains flanking the Enchantment Lakes Basin.
Location: 47.537355, -120.8239567
After 0.6 mile, the climb eases up as it merges onto old roadbed. Hike past colorful hummingbirds, wildflowers, and butterflies.
Location: 47.5368552, -120.8273256
Cross a footlog bridge over Pioneer Creek; cold water crashes over granite boulders.
Location: 47.5351675, -120.8302116
Bear left and leave the old roadbed. The trail passes through an open mix of burned pines and wildflowers.
Location: 47.5338035, -120.8312167
The towering, old-growth cedars mark the entrance to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Ahead, the trail turns south, paralleling Eightmile Creek.
Location: 47.5275994, -120.8399238
The forested tk where the trail approaches and traces the banks of Eightmile Creek is a tk spot to take a break.
Location: 47.5248808, -120.8513904
The trail reaches the northern tip of Little Eightmile Lake. Turn right @ 3-way junction onto Trail 1554 (toward Lake Caroline and Windy Pass). Follow the trail 0.45 mile to a viewpoint overlooking Eightmile Lake.
Location: 47.5260714, -120.8549888
Grab a bite to eat at this vantage point overlooking Eightmile Lake and its surrounding peaks. Keep an eye open for western tanagers in the trees. Next, descend back to Waypoint 8 and turn right for the 0.6-mile stretch to Eightmile Lake.
Location: 47.522048, -120.8561003
Pause as you pass a small set of falls that crash past the trail. Look for American dippers zipping up and down the creek. (These stocky, gray birds catch their food underwater.)
Location: 47.5204902, -120.858289
The trail ends at the eastern tip of Eightmile Lake, a huge body of water that lies beneath Eightmile Mountain. Campsites dot this end of the lake, and the western winds that blow across the water create a refreshing breeze on hot days. Optional: Continue on the boot path around the northern end of the lake to climb Eightmile Mountain. When you're ready, turn around and return to the trailhead.
Location: 47.5204902, -120.8581495