Avalanche Lake

  • Author: dbarentine
  • Created: August 23, 2019
Route type: Out-and-Back
Difficulty grade: Easy
Backpackable: Yes

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  • Distance Instructions
  • Distance 6.90 miles
  • Time 3 h 44 min
  • Speed 2 mph
  • Min altitude 3,422 ft
  • Peak 4,029 ft
  • Climb 866 ft
  • Descent 791 ft

After you leave The Trail of the Cedars behind, the path to Avalanche Lake winds along Avalanche Creek for about three-quarters of a mile before veering into a mystical, old growth forest.  You can clearly see a 2011 avalanche path about halfway to the lake — a great teachable moment for kids and adults about how Avalanche Lake and Creek got their names.  It’s worth it to walk down the spur trail to overlook this feature.

The trail ends at Avalanche Lake, where waterfalls pour off the Sperry Glacier, cascading into the back of the Avalanche Basin. The most popular area for photos and contemplation is right at the foot of the lake. Here, the Park Service has built a boardwalk and stairs.  There is also a nice beach at the head of the lake, but you will need to ford a small inlet creek to get there.  Some hikers do try to travel closer to those sparkling waterfalls, but we do not recommend this due to frequently falling rocks.

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