The Black and White Lakes sit at 4,500 feet above sea level, and 3,800 feet above the Staircase Ranger Station trailhead. To get here, visitors need to follow the North Fork Skokomish River Trail
, or make their way to Flapjack Lakes before following the signs to Black and White Lakes. They can be accessed by heading directly uphill near Big Log along the Skokomish River Trail, but that is a 3,000 foot elevation gain in just over two miles. Be smart, take the more gentle route.
Black and White Lakes, for those curious, was named as such thanks to alcohol, a knife and a tree. The name comes from a brand of whiskey drank by early elk hunters in the region, and was beloved so much by one man, that he wandered off to the lake and carved the name of the whiskey into one of the high alpine trees. While I was unable to locate this carving, which I assume is long gone, the name remains. The name was so popular that it was also the name of a mine on Mount Gladys which was operational from 1907 until 1940. Today, Black and White Lakes are mostly unseen. They are visited, but only by a handful of backpackers, and even fewer day visitors who are looking for something incredible. They are a place of silent reflection, meditation, and serenity.