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Image Lake via Miners Ridge

North Cascades

Location

North Cascades -- Mountain Loop Highway
View map below

Length

31.8 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 4400 ft.
Highest Point: 6000 ft.

Rating

4.25 out of 5

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass
Trail Closed: The Suiattle River Road is closed just west of the Downey Creek Bridge until October 6 2021 due to forest fire damage.
 
 

Hike along a Wild and Scenic river, up a rugged ridge, and to a mirror-like iconic lake in Glacier Peak wilderness. This is a long hike, best done as a backpack, but it's absolutely worth the days you invest to explore here.

Plan to spend at least five days tackling this trail, as the trail is a long one, and while the approach involves minimal elevation gain at first, once you start climbing up Miner's Ridge, you'll get quite a quad workout. Plus, the scenery is so gorgeous, and the potential for wandering so extensive, you'll be glad you set aside a few days to explore.

Begin your quest to Image Lake from the newly-reopened Suiattle River Road. From the Suiattle River trailhead, located at the end of the road, hike 9.4 miles along the rushing, mighty Suiattle River. There are three camps sprinkled along this section of the trail, so you'll have somewhere to lay your head if you decide to camp down here on your first night.

Along this 9.4-mile approach, you'll cross a suspension bridge over Canyon Creek and then come to your first junction .3 miles past the bridge. Take the left-hand trail, and continue on a gently inclining traverse for 2.5 miles to your turnoff for Miners Ridge.

Shift into low gear and begin climbing; you'll go from 2800 feet to 6000 feet over the next 5.5 miles. The trail switchbacks relentlessly up, crossing several seasonal creeks. 3.3 miles in, arrive at a junction. Keep left here. Going right will take you to Suiattle Pass, Holden, even the little hamlet of Stehekin. All these are worthy jaunts, just not the one you're on today.

Press on and up the switchbacks. 2.2 miles from the junction arrive at the top of the ridge. Here you can take a brief side trip to the Miner's Ridge lookout. This is only 0.4 miles away and 208 feet higher. It's a gorgeous lookout; one of the last ones still standing in good shape in the North Cascades, but it's closed to the public. Make the trek and take photos, but please respect the closure and do not attempt to enter.

Once you've gotten your fill of views from here, head back to the junction at the top of the ridge. Continue on the right-hand fork, and after less than half a mile, you'll arrive at another junction. You're nearly there! Here, where the trail splits, you can go either way to circumnavigate the lake and find a camp spot.

Be sure to get a spot and get settled before evening -- the alpenglow on Glacier Peak reflected in Image Lake is one of the most sought-after photos in professional circles.

 

Image Lake via Miners Ridge

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 48.1921, -121.0386 Open map in new window

Trailhead

North Cascades -- Mountain Loop Highway

Image Lake (#785.1)

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Darrington Ranger District

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

Green Trails Glacier Peak No. 112

Getting There

Drive Highway 530 north from Darrington or south from Highway 20 near Rockport. Turn east on FR 26--the Suiattle River Road--and drive to the end of the road.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass
Trail Closed: The Suiattle River Road is closed just west of the Downey Creek Bridge until October 6 2021 due to forest fire damage.
 

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Image Lake via Miners Ridge

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