Route: PilTriple: 22/Heather/Pilchuck (WA)

Submitted by Andrew Jeffrey… on Wed, 07/22/2020 - 10:00pm
Location
Washington, US
Distance
31.5 mi
Vertical Gain
7074 ft
Description

An hour and a half northeast of Seattle, sitting just off of the Mountain Loop Highway, is the majestic Mount Pilchuck towering on the edge of the North Cascades. On this mountain, you will find three iconic trails of western Washington State: 1) Lake 22 (https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/lake-22-lake-twenty-two), 2) Heather Lake (https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/heather-lake-1), and 3) Mount Pilchuck (https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/mount-pilchuck). These trails are known for being short (ranging between 4.5 to 5.5 miles) yet difficult ways to access and circumnavigate two large, beautiful alpine lakes and summit a mountain with an iconic fire lookout sitting at 5,327'. Aside from a 1 mile stretch along the Mountain Loop Highway, these three trails are connected by a winding dirt access road that climbs the mountain through thick green forests with cascades and waterfalls easily seen along the way. This route connects all three trails, starting with Lake 22 at the bottom of the mountain, a stop at Heather Lake a short way up, a trip to the summit/fire lookout, followed by a tough descent back down a steep grade to where you began. This route boasts 31.5 miles and 7,074' of net gain and loss. (49% single-track, 45% dirt access road, and 6% road)