hikes

July 31, 2017

Rampart Lakes + Alta Mountain backpacking trip

Three night backpacking trip to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in Washington’s Cascades

Day 1: Hike in 5.7 miles with 2,300 ft. elevation gain

We started at the Rachel Lake trailhead with a plan to camp at the Rampart Lakes area. The hike in to Rachel Lake is difficult, as noted on the Mountaineers website: “While the total distance and elevation gain suggests a moderate hike, the infamous Rachel Lake “mile from hell” is truly grueling and inappropriate for those who are not in athletic condition. In one mile, a heavily rooted and rough boot path ascends 1,300 feet. This portion is more like a scramble than a hike, and boots are a must.”

Alpine Lakes Wilderness

The hike in is next to Box Canyon Creek for most of the way, crossing over many tributary creeks.

Alpine Lakes Wilderness

This is the trail… rocky with roots to climb up for about a mile.¬†We were really tired on the way up, and considered camping at Rachel Lake, but I’d seen photos of the Rampart Lakes area and was determined to camp there instead.

Alpine Lakes Wilderness

There are several waterfalls along the way to take your mind off of the steep trail.

Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Views of nearby ridges begin to appear on the way to Rachel Lake.

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We rested at Rachel Lake for a short time, filtering water to continue our hike. The trail past Rachel Lake goes up a steep ridge, but the condition of this trail is much better, with switchbacks to ease the hike up, and views of Rachel Lake below.

Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Rachel Lake

Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Trail junction at the top of the ridge. The sign could use being replaced. Turn right to go to Lila Lakes and Alta Mountain. Turn left to go to Rampart Lakes.

Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Looking back on the way to Rampart Lakes

Alpine Lakes Wilderness

We set up a basecamp for all three nights in the Rampart Lakes area.

Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Day 2: exploring the Rampart Lakes area

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sunset at camp

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Day 3: day hike to Alta Mountain

On the third day, we headed towards Lila Lakes for a hike up Alta Mountain.

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View of Hibox Mountain (in the center) with Lila Lakes below.

Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Ridge walk up Alta Mountain

Alpine Lakes Wilderness

View to the north

Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Wow. Endless peaks.

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Looking back towards Rampart Lakes, seen in the ridge below Mount Rainier.

Alpine Lakes Wilderness

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