Friday, May 30, 2014

Lost Lake - Norse Peak Wilderness

Friday, May 30
Total Miles: 14.1

Awesome, Amazing, Unbelievable.
These three words must have come out of my mouth over fifty times during this hike.

The hike to Lost Lake in the Norse Peak Wilderness starts just off of forest service road #70. This road is about two miles east of Greenwater, Washington off of highway 410. It took me 50 minutes to drive to the trail head from my house in Black Diamond.

Forest service road #70 is paved all the way to the start of the Greenwater Lakes Trail (#1176). There is a nice parking lot with a rest room. Of note, they charge a daily $5 fee to park there (maintenance fee), and a Forest Service recreation pass is also required.

Map of the trail to Lost Lake
The turn off from Forest Service Road #70 is well marked. It is about 9.2 miles from highway 410.

It is an easy hike to the Greenwater Lakes. The trail follows the Greenwater river and has several wonderful bridges that cross the river. It is a lovely hike through dense forest with many little streams and ferns along the way. There is a slight elevation gain, but I would consider it an easy hike.
One of several bridges over the Greenwater River
The Greenwater Lakes are lovely. There were geese feeding in the shallows. The water is an amazing blue.
Greenwater Lake

Geese feeding in Greenwater Lake

From the upper Greenwater lake, the trail follows the river for another mile to the junction with the Lost Lake and Echo Lake trails. The Lost Lake trail heads south (uphill).

The elevation gain on the way to Lost Lake is modest, but steady. I did not find it very difficult, and I was carrying a 28 pound pack. After another mile and a half, the trail passes Quinn Lake. It is a beautiful turquoise.
Quinn Lake
As the trail nears Lost Lake, it starts to break out of the mature forest. There were small patches of snow on the trail in places. The alpine views were breathtaking. 
Open fields near Lost Lake
Lost Lake is beautiful. Across the lake can be heard the roar of a water fall. 

There are several great camping sites along the lake. However, since this lake is in the Norse Peak Wilderness, an overnight wilderness permit is required. I sat in the sun for a while, sent out an "I'm OK" message on my new SPOT device, and ate a bite of lunch.

A few more glimpses of the scenery:

Trail to Lost Lake.

Massive giants tower overhead

Vine maple reflecting the sunlight.

Wooden footpath over a marshy area

Forest ferns

Amazing rock formations along the Greenwater River
On the trip back, I saw over a dozen people heading up the trail. It seems most were headed to Echo Lake, so perhaps that will be my destination on another hike soon.

This has to be one of the BEST hikes I have ever taken. It is highly recommended!

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