Mileage: 7.8 miles RT
Elevation Gain/Highest: 3300ft/4600ft
Map: Green Trails Monte Cristo No. 143
Favorite Eats After Hike: Wallace Falls Café
10/21/2014 This was my first time up the majestic Blanca Lake. I had heard so much about it I hoped it lived up to it’s reputation. I was leading a Meetup group that included a few friends, as well. We got to the TH early, there were about 4 other cars in the lot. The trail starts off with switchbacks, it had us climbing quickly through the forest at a good incline of a 1000ft a mile. Not shabby. Although we had the trail pretty much to ourselves, our group wasn’t moving at breakneck speed so it was about the time we headed up the bit of scramble at the ridge line before Virgin Lake that we started being passed by hikers aiming to get the lake first. We came out at the viewpoint above Virgin Lake and the wilderness boundary; fall colors had the meadow in reds and greens. Virgin isn’t the prettiest thing, especially when you know you have Blanca waiting for you. It did have some nice reflections of the foliage, however. Then, it’s down, down, down on a rocky, slick, root covered trail to the aquamarine waters of Blanca Lake. It was even more amazing than in the pictures. Too bad it was marred by irresponsible hikers and some idiot camped right on the shoreline. It wasn’t long before the banks and surrounding scree and trees were filled with people. Ugh. The trip down involved passing over 100 people, most looking ill-prepared for hiking. I was glad I went, but I will definitely not go on a weekend again. It would be nice to see a ranger stationed here or evidence of caretaking.
Directions: Take US Hwy 2 east from Monroe to just past the town of Skykomish. Turn left on to FR 65, more clearly marked as Beckler River Road and drive 12.5 miles on this road, passing the Beckler River Campground just after the pavement turns to gravel. After driving 12.5 miles, you arrive at Jack Pass, a 5 way junction. Take the second left. After driving 2.3 miles descending from Jack Pass, arrive at a junction with FR 63 and the private Garland Mineral Springs Road. FR 63 is closed due to washout, you will need to walk the 2+miles to the TH adding 4+ miles to your hike. There is limited parking at the junction, please don’t block the road for others.
For my next hike to Blanca Lake in the snow, click HERE.