Monday, September 28, 2015

Heather and Maple Pass Loop


One of the best hikes in the North Cascades is the Heather and Maple Pass loop off the North Cascades Highway near Washington Pass.  The hike loops around a ridge over Lake Ann and provides stunning views of the surrounding mountains, from Cutthroat Peak, Whistler Mountain and the Liberty Bell Group northward to Corteo Peak and Black Mountain southward.  In autumn the hike is especially notable for its color with the reds, oranges and yellows of the Blueberries and Mountain Ash and the brilliant yellow of the Alpine Larches.

We've tried to do this loop twice before but both times were turned back by snow and fog never getting further than Heather Pass.  My wife and I hiked the trail counterclockwise on a beautiful sunny day, starting early in the morning and also doing the side trail to the north shore of Lake Ann.  We hiked a total of about eight and half miles and went up two thousand feet of elevation before descending once again.  The Larches were just starting to change color but the brilliant sunlight and the other colors made for a memorable day.

unidentified mushrooms near the trailhead



Conifer Coral Fungus


sunrise






trail to Heather Pass





autumn color






Fireweed


gone to seed


side trail to Lake Ann


Ladybug



on the way to Lake Ann






Lake Ann












back to the main trail






on the main trail and looking back


 Corteo Peak from the trail


Lake Ann from above



autumn color and trees








Blueberries


Mountain ash





 Thistle


gone to seed




Sage Grouse


more autumn color














into the sun


 the first Larches


views from Heather Pass











Alpine Larches



the trail



Heather Pass






















Maple Pass
 

































the trail down from Maple Pass










Lake Ann again
















Rainy Lake




Lake Ann







Blue Chanterelles

2 comments:

  1. So many beautiful shots it'd be impossible to pick a favorite....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can see, I think, why this is one of our favorite hikes.

      Delete

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