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Trip Report

Larch Lake

Central Cascades

Trip Report By

WTA Member


Hiked Jul 21, 2018

Type of Hike

Day hike

Trail Conditions

Trail in good condition


Road rough but passable


Bugs were an annoyance


Snow free

First things first. If you haven't been to Alpine Lakes High Camp (formerly Scottish Lakes High Camp), put it on your list of things to do! This is an absolutely wonderful, rustic, charming collection of nine simple cabins (with comfy beds, cookstove, no bathroom though/outhouse) plus a hot tub and sauna (yeahhh!), and a main lodge house for gathering and an occasional Saturday night pot luck. The camp is staffed by 1-2 knowledgeable hosts who can help you with your hiking plans for the day.

We started our hike from High Camp up and over McCue Ridge, and then a long, gradual decent to the biggest lake in the area, Chiwaukum Lake. The mosquitos were OK as long as you used deet and kept moving. (They were pretty bad at Chiwaukum lake when we stopped.) We then pressed on into the Ewing Basin and were awed by this wide and stunningly beautiful drainage. After about a mile, the trail turns up into the woods and on to Larch Lake and fewer mosquitos.

As peaceful and beautiful as Larch lake is, don't stop here. Definitely save a little gas in the tank for the rock scramble up to Cup Lake. You won't regret it. The first glimpse of this almost perfectly round cirque with brilliant aqua water, iceberg in the center, and view over Larch Lake has to be a Top 10 spot, in my book. We were there on a Saturday in July and didn't see another soul after Chiwaukum Lake.