Trails for everyone, forever

Home Go Hiking Hiking Guide Emerald Lake via Trout Lake Trailhead

Emerald Lake via Trout Lake Trailhead

Eastern Washington

Location

Eastern Washington -- Okanogan Highlands/Kettle River Range
View map below

Length

6.5 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 1430 ft.
Highest Point: 3740 ft.

Rating

2.83 out of 5

(6 votes) Log in to rate
 
 

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
Washout: Emerald Lake can only be accessed from Hoodoo Canyon due to a hazardous washout that has closed the trail 1.5 miles from the start of the Trout Lake trailhead
 
 

Exploring a verdant canyon on the east side of the Kettle Range, Hoodoo Trail makes a great early-season conditioning hike or introduction to overnighting.

The hike up Hoodoo Canyon from Trout Lake to Emerald Lake is a classic, low-elevation Inland Northwest hike through one of the largest remaining low-elevation roadless areas in the Kettle Range. An easy trail with few ups and downs makes the hike suitable for a first-time overnight trip; a sparkling lake—one of the few hike-in lakes in northeast Washington—will coax weary backpackers onward.

Beginning at Trout Lake, cross the outlet creek on a sturdy footbridge and begin switchbacking up through a forest of western redcedar. Moss-draped rocks and hollylike creeping Oregon-grape are reminiscent of Western Washington woods—the wetter east side of the Kettle Range contains many such pockets of surprisingly lush forest. The route quickly opens up to grassy slopes, out of which jut old-growth ponderosas and magnificent rock formations. In late spring, scan the slopes for shooting star, balsamroot and scarlet paintbrush. Reed-ringed Trout Lake lies below.

In about 1.5 miles, pass through a dark birch forest. A slight switchbacking rise provides the last real climb of the hike in. In more than 2.5 miles, the trail forks. The way right continues on Hoodoo Trail, which crests the canyon with a falcon’s-eye view into Emerald Lake and its tiny neighbor Lily Lake—a worthy side excursion. For the lake itself, turn left, switchbacking 600 feet down to aptly named Emerald Lake.

Linger for lunch or set up a tent in one of a handful of dispersed campsites. Watch for moose, which frequent the shallow lake. In dry years, the lake nearly disappears by late summer. However, early-summer hikers should pack a swimsuit; check the south end of the lake for the best swimming.

 

Emerald Lake via Trout Lake Trailhead

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 48.6242, -118.2398 Open map in new window

Trailhead

Eastern Washington -- Okanogan Highlands/Kettle River Range

Hoodoo Canyon (#17)

Colville National Forest, Three Rivers Ranger District

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

USGS Quads: Jackknife Mtn

USGS Quads: Boyds

Getting There

From Kettle Falls, drive west on SR395. Merge onto SR20 west for 5.2 miles. Turn right on Trout Lake Road for 5 miles to the campground and trailhead.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
Washout: Emerald Lake can only be accessed from Hoodoo Canyon due to a hazardous washout that has closed the trail 1.5 miles from the start of the Trout Lake trailhead
 

You can improve or add to this guidebook entry

Emerald Lake via Trout Lake Trailhead

21 Trip Reports

Hiked here recently?

Submit a trip report!
 
Trip Reports