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Ashland Lakes

Backcountry Response Team

Thu Jul 1, 2021 8:30 AM — Sun Jul 4, 2021 3:30 PM

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North Cascades — Mountain Loop Highway - Verlot

Features: Earn Discover Pass

Crew Leader: Kelly O'Neill


Join this WTA crew as we foray into the amazing landscape that is Ashland Lakes. A relatively low elevation destination complete with three unique lakes, plenty of interesting flora and fauna and managed by the DNR as part of its protected Natural Areas, Ashland Lakes is sure to please the senses.

Boardwalks, and plenty of opportunities for exploration will occupy your down time while trail realignments and improvements will fill your days with meaningful and much-needed work.

Note: The road to the trailhead is extremely rough so an all-wheel drive or high clearance vehicle is recommended.

About the Area

Hike a trail built mostly of boardwalk planking through peaty bogs beside three quiet little lakes. Established campsites with fire pits and tent platforms await a weekend of camping. This trail also makes a pleasant weekday hike for those with creaky knees, so you may see a fair amount of other visitors during your stay here. As you hike, enjoy the many plants and animals that make the lowland bog environment home.

What to Expect

We'll have fun, work hard and make a difference!

Project Description

The beaver population is growing in all three of the lakes, causing rising water levels and impacting the trails near the water. Our mission is to realign, improve and make the existing trails more sustainable by reducing environmental impacts from hikers. This work will also keep hikers' feet drier!

The work may include building new sections of trail, digging drainage to help water flow off the trail and armor existing tread with rock. We also may be repairing and improving boardwalks by replacing degrading decking.

Camping and Hiking Information

  • Type: Backcountry basecamp
  • Location: There are three camping areas all within 1.5 miles of each other at each lake. Camp will be determined by proximity to the work.
  • Weather: Be prepared for variable conditions including heat, cold, wind and rain
  • Initial hike to camp: 2.5 miles with 800 feet of elevation gain at a moderate pace while carrying your backpack fully loaded with all provisions including camping gear and food, plus tools (provided by WTA)


  • Day 1: Meet the crew rain or shine, then hike in, begin work on the project and set up camp
  • Day 2+: Make breakfast and pack a lunch before heading out on trail with the crew by 8:00 AM. Work at your own pace, take plenty of breaks and enjoy lunch on the trail. Arrive back in camp by 4:00 or 5:00 PM for a relaxing evening. Prepare your own dinner and swap stories with the crew.
  • Final Day: Break down camp, finish trail project, hike out and say goodbye to the crew at the trailhead

For safety reasons, arriving late or leaving early is not allowed.

Planning Information

Get ready for a challenging backcountry adventure! High clearance vehicle recommended.

What it Takes to Do This Work Party

  • A great attitude for working with a team! WTA provides the training and tools you need for the project
  • Backpacking gear and food for multiple nights on the trail
  • Good physical condition to hike with a fully-loaded backpack and be physically active for about 8-9 hours daily on uneven terrain 
  • Backpacking experience including ability to run your own camp following Leave No Trace principles
  • Day work party experience recommended
  • Flexibility to adapt to changes due to unpredictable weather or land manager requests
  • Minimum age: 18

What to Bring

  • Boots
  • Long pants 
  • Work gloves
  • Long-sleeved shirt recommended
  • Eye protection recommended (glasses, sunglasses or safety glasses)

Backpacking gear

  • Backpack to carry all of your gear
  • Tent, sleeping bag and sleeping pad
  • Cooking gear and enough food (plus a little extra) for the entire trip
  • At least two 1-liter water bottles and a way to purify your water
  • Rain jacket and rain pants
  • Extra warm clothing
  • Camp clothing such as shorts, shirt and sandals
  • Sun and bug protection
  • Headlamp and extra batteries
  • Personal items such as medication, hand sanitizer and toiletries
  • ​First aid kit
  • A sense of fun and adventure for learning new skills and meeting great people!

Trail work gear

  • Boots
  • Long pants 
  • Work gloves
  • Long-sleeved shirt recommended
  • Eye protection recommended such as safety glasses
  • WTA hard hat (provided, unless you have one)

For safety reasons, shorts and sneakers are not allowed while working. Firearms and weapons are not allowed.

More Information

From the Hiking Guide

See what WTA's hiking guide and trip reports say about this area.

A My Backpack account is required. You will be asked to register or log in before you can join.

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From I-5 in Everett, take Exit 194 for Snohomish/Wenatchee, then take exit 204 for Lake Stevens. Follow this road two miles, then turn left on to Highway 9 (N Granite Falls). Follow 9 for 1.5 miles, turn right on to E 92/Granite Falls.

In 6 miles, come to a roundabout with a sign for Granite Falls. To bypass Granite Falls, take the roundabout to Quarry Road, and stay on Quarry Road through two more roundabouts. Come to a stop sign and turn left onto the Mountain Loop Highway. (If you don't mind driving through town, stay on Highway 92 and drive through Granite Falls, then turn left on the Mountain Loop.

In 10 miles, pass the Verlot Ranger Station on the left. 4.6 miles from the ranger station, turn right on to FR 4020, signed Boardman Lake, Ashland Lakes, Bear/Pinnacle Lake. Come to a junction in 2.7 miles (signed for Boardman and Bear Lakes, but not Ashland). Take the right fork, FS 4021.

Stay on this road and in 1.4 miles there will be another junction. Turn left onto the spur road and follow it to the end and trailhead.

Note: Please follow the written directions above instead of using a GPS device. This will ensure that you get to the correct meeting location for this work party. The location of the pinpoint below is only approximate.

Getting to WTA work parties can involve travel on rough, unpaved roads in areas without cellular service and without street addresses that can be accurately used by navigation devices. Unless specifically noted otherwise, routes can generally be traveled by all types of vehicles. Volunteers with limited experience driving on unpaved mountain roads may want to allow extra time, beyond what is recommended in the directions above, to get to the meeting location.

Required Documentation

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