Hidden Lake Lookout


In the back country of Marblemount, Wa is a long, steep trail that leads you on an a painstaking adventure you will never forget. Like every hike there is a beginning a middle and an end, but this one has well defined chapters.

The first leg of your journey gets you to work right away as you climb switchbacks through the forest. It’s beautiful, but things are just about to get better as the skies open up and you are zigzagging through intense green meadows with wildflowers of every kind inviting you to almost frolic your way up to the grand middle section of the Hidden Lake Trail.

By now you are meandering through one of the most scenic boulder fields I have ever laid eyes on. There are panoramic views of rugged PNW terrain for as far as the eyes could see. Not to mention the many sparkling waterfalls you will cross as Sibley Creek slithers around you.

The last section of this hike is not for the weak. By now you have traversed a large section of this 9 mile roundtrip journey and you are probably feeling the change in altitude. However, glimpses of your destination will keep you going. The lookout shows its face in the distance in the most intimidating way because the first glimpse reveals to you just how far away and high up on a summit it still is.

Then come a few small tarns surrounded in patches of snow. We traversed up a crevasse and through some giant boulders to where the lake finally showed her pretty blues. Hidden Lake is a gem, perfectly positioned to wow and surprise an unsuspecting hiker. You can make the decent to her shore from here, but I chose to head up to the Lookout.

Reaching the summit I felt haggard, but I was too enamored with the beauty around me to really care. You’re climbing boulders at this point and the taste of your destination will give you the last ounce of gas needed. 360 views and an extremely well preserved lookout shelter built in 1931 was more than enough reward for surviving a 3300 foot ascent. At 6900 feet above sea level you are certainly king of the word. I was queen for this day. Another cherished adventure for the books!


From Marblemount (Hwy 20) drive the Cascade River Road over the Skagit River 9.5 miles to the junction with FS 1540. Take a left and drive 4.5 up a rough and steep gravel road with few turnouts before ending at the trailhead.

*Permits are needed for camping at the lake.


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