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


trail to Heather Pass

autumn color


gone to seed

side trail to Lake Ann


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


Mountain ash


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


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

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


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