Thursday, December 11, 2014

Heather Pass and Lake Ann

On October 24 my wife and I traveled to eastern Washington and Spokane.  On the way, as is often the case, we did some hiking, on this occasion at Heather Pass.  We left early in the morning and after visiting the overlook at Washington Pass arrived at the trailhead at about 10:00 am.

The trail makes a loop through both Heather Pass and Maple Pass.  If followed counter-clockwise, the direction we took, it heads up a gentle mostly open slope past Lake Ann with a short side trail to the lake and climbs to Heather Pass with fabulous views of the surrounding peaks.

From Heather Pass the trail follows the ridge and climbs up to Maple Pass and then descends steeply past Rainy Lake and another side trail to that lake and back to the trailhead.  It is one of the premier hikes in the North Cascades and is especially beautiful when the larches are in color.

We found when hiking the trail that there had been some snow in the area and the higher we went the deeper the snow became.  At the top of Maple Pass the snow was quite deep and we met other hikers who had turned back because they were unable to find the trail.

We had our lunch at Maple Pass (in the snow) and saw that the weather was changing and fog moving in.  We decided, therefore, that the advice of the other hikers was good, and turned back the way we went.  Though we did not make the loop, we had a wonderful and inspiring day.

We were too late to catch the larches at their best, but there was still some color and we saw plenty of beautiful scenery to make up for what we missed.  This is a trail that we have hiked twice now in the fall and both times have had to turn back because of the snow and weather.

the trailhead with frozen mushrooms and coral fungus found nearby

mushrooms along the trail

the trail and some autumn color

a dusting of snow not far up the trail

late autumn color

 out of the trees and the first views of the surrounding peaks

a friendly pika posing for pictures

 more snow

Lake Ann below and Corteo Peak ahead

more autumn color

the views all around, south, west (ahead), east and south again

Whistler Mountain

Corteo Peak

Liberty Bell Group

more views and more snow


Heather Pass

my hiking companion

Heather Pass


 Lake Ann from Heather Pass and above

climbing from Heather Pass to Maple Pass


Maple Pass

back down

more autumn color


  1. when you get the right shot of a Pika

    they always look a bit puzzled and dumbfounded by your question

    it is the shape of the face and the way the eyes are set in

    This is a glorious hike for the time of the year. Such wonderful colors and contrasts.

    1. This is one of the best ever autumn hikes, Marti. Got to catch it yet when the larches are at their peak but the weather in October was not very conducive to hiking. The pikas are cute little creatures, aren't they?


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