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Seattle Trails

Talapus and Olallie Lakes

This short hike is a great introduction to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area, see two of the most popular of the 700 lakes in the region; Talapus and Olallie Lakes.

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After weeks of ascending peaks such as Bandera and Teneriffe, we were looking forward to a change in our routine. We had not stood on the stalapus lake olallie lake hikingwithmybrotherhore of an alpine lake since Melakwa Lake and realized a lake hike was long overdue. After some research we decided to explore some of the more popular alpine lakes in the region: Talapus and Olallie lakes.

Nestled within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Talapus and Olallie Lakes are among the most easily accessible lakes in the region. Established in 1976, the nearly 400,000-acre Alpine Lakes Wilderness hosts more than 700 lakes. Like so many place names in the area, these lakes bear the legacy of the early interaction of pioneers and Native Americans. Talapus translates to “coyote” in the pidgin language Chinook Jargon, while Olallie roughly means “berry.” Largely born through the necessity of trade, Chinook Jargon is an amalgamation of French, English and Salishan languages native to the Pacific Northwest.

talapus lake olallie lake hikingwithmybrotherTalapus Lake Trail #1039 begins with a gentle wander on wide track through the woods, crossing Talapus Creek and traversing marshy areas through a long series of bridges and raised walkways. Long switch backs and mild grades follow Talapus Creek a little over a mile into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness to reach Talapus Lake, tucked in a bowl between Bandera and Pratt Mountain. Find various small paths winding around the lake that travel past nooks, perfect for a snack or extended stay, overlooking the water.

Continue past Talapus on #1039 toward the smaller Olallie Lake just over a half-mile distant, passing a small trail connecting #1039 to the Pratt Lake Trail #1007. Enjoy the meander through the mature cedars and firs until you reach the wooded lake, resting beneath West Granite Mountain and Pratt Lake Saddle.

Both of these lakes are extremely popular in the summer months, so etalapus lake olallie lake hikingwithmybrotherxpect company as you take the short trek up. This hike is a great introduction to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and is extremely family-friendly. For the more adventurous, the connection to the Pratt Lake Trail provides access to a myriad of destinations beyond the lakes’ crowded shores. Winter or summer, this hike provides a tempting taste of the wilderness – the clarity of the water is interrupted only by the reflections of the surrounding landscapes, making it easy to forget the relatively close trappings of civilization.

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Trail Facts

  • Distance: 5.3


Project Marker

Location: 47.401254, -121.5183592

A sign commemorating a Campfire Girls timber improvement project presides over the main parking area


Location: 47.4011564, -121.5183377

Talapus Lake Trailhead.


Location: 47.4025321, -121.5175009

Walk across the boardwalk on this very well maintained trail

Talapus Creek

Location: 47.4090673, -121.5126514

Talapus Creek in full force with the spring runoff


Location: 47.4118554, -121.5147543

Trail Junction. Turn right and cross the footbridge over Talapus Creek to continue on the main trail. The spur trail going straight head to the campsites on the western shores of the lake.


Location: 47.4120296, -121.5145397

Crossing the footbridge over Talapus Creek


Location: 47.4132494, -121.5166426

The partially frozen Talapus Lake


Location: 47.4140627, -121.5162293

Access to the shore of Talapus Lake, just off the main trail.


Location: 47.4182153, -121.5134454

Junction with Talapus Lake Cutoff Trail. Turn Left to continue on to Olallie Lake. The cutoff trail leads to Pratt Lake Trail #1007.


Location: 47.4176344, -121.5145826

Jer sinks to his hips after the soft snow gives way.

Olallie Lake

Location: 47.4209737, -121.5119648

Emerging from the forest to the south shore of Olallie Lake

The View

Location: 47.4212641, -121.5119219

In the distance Pratt Lake Saddle rises above the North side of Olallie Lake.


Location: 47.4227179, -121.5122712

Junction with spur trail that leads to to shores of Olallie Lake.


Location: 47.4242234, -121.5082097

End of the Trail.

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