2016-06-12 Hidden Lake Lookout

Distance: 7.2 mi.
Elevation Gain: 3700 ft.

After a super bumpy ride up the road to the Hidden Lake Lookout trailhead, we got started on dry trail around 9:30 AM. Lower down, the trail was super lush with flowers blooming. We hit intermittent snow at 4500 ft. Between 4500 and 5000 ft we took the trail up several switchbacks. These crossed a couple of snow bridges over small streams that felt really sketchy but held our weight.

Looking back at the trail switchbacks from where we transitioned onto consistent snow

We hit consistent snow at about 5500 ft. We briefly crossed a fairly steep snow slope as we turned back southwest and were glad to have our ice axes (but saw several parties without them). We saw a guy doing laps with his dogs on skis and that looked fun.

First views of the peak

We turned left at 6000 ft toward the southeast in order to reach the ridge below the lookout and then it began to fog over. This is where things got tricky. The snow was thinner on the east side of the peak and the stacked boulders below the lookout were melting out, so there were thin patches of icy snow or irregular moats over jumbled boulders, with a steep slope off to our left (toward Hidden Lake). It seemed like a recipe for an injurious fall but we managed to carefully pick our way through via thicker snow patches and rock ledges.

The summit in the fog.  We did a rising traverse to the ridge on the left on rock ledges and decent snow patches

After traversing across to the SE ridge at about 6750 ft, it was an easy walk to the lookout, which was open for business. We reached the lookout at 1:45 PM. Craig headed down to the privy, which he claimed to be one of the best potty views he has ever experienced. Our views were partially obscured by clouds but it was super pretty nonetheless. Of note, we did not head over to the true summit.

Hidden Lake on the left of the photo, SE ridge that we scrambled up on the right


We had lunch in the lookout and then retraced our steps, following a very similar route back down.

Tricky ledges and snow patches below Hidden Lake Lookout
Frolicking back down on soft snow

More photos
Download GPS track

(Download the free Gaia GPS app on your phone to view tracks and then get a Gaia GPS membership if you want offline access. Discount below!)


Recommended brew: Crucible Brewing Pink Drink Raspberry Sour

Gear Used:

  • Gaiters
  • Glacier glasses
  • GPS
  • Helmet
  • Mountaineering boots
  • Steel crampons (not used)
  • Steel ice axe
  • Trekking poles


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