Fall Colors · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife
After you park (and pay), take the trail to Lake Ann. You'll head uphill through forest, and at about 1.27 miles you'll reach a trail that branches off to Lake Ann; however keep hiking on the main trail (unless you want to take the side-trip to Lake Ann, about 0.6 miles round-trip). The trail continues along the side of a mountain, and as you emerge above treeline, you'll see Lake Ann down to the left. The scenery here is beautiful, though it will get even better!
You'll climb steadily and encounter some switchbacks. At about 2.2 miles, you've reached Heather Pass. Keep hiking past a few more switchbacks, and now you'll be at the perfect viewpoint for spectacular views beyond Heather Pass. This is the perfect time to take a break and take in the beautiful panoramic views. Don't be surprised if you find yourself saying "Wow!" as you look around at the peaks and valleys all around you. As you look down into the other side of Heather Pass, you'll see several worn trails that meander through the meadow.
When you're satisfied with the views, continue on the main trail. You'll make your way to the opposite side on Lake Ann, on the very ridge you were looking at while on the other side of Lake Ann. Continue to climb, but do not forget to stop and take in the magnificent views and wildflowers during the summer. Along the way, you'll see signs that indicate you are on the border with North Cascades National Park. After you hike through Maple Pass, you'll eventually top off at almost 7000 ft. From this pass, you'll see a zig-zag of switchbacks that you'll take on your way down. You won't forget to take a break and marvel at the magnificent views here!
When you are satisfied with the views, continue on the main trail. You'll steeply descend over several switchbacks here. You'll cross another ridge (also with nice views). Continuing on your way, you'll be able to see Rainy Lake to the right. Don't forget to look back at the lake to see a beautiful cascade which feeds into the lake. The descent will lead you back into forest where you'll continue to meander. If you thought taking breaks was only necessary for the uphill incline, your knees will tell you otherwise here!
Shared By: Kristen Arendt