A Scenic Hike to Louis Lake in the Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness

Into the Wilderness

After taking a hot shower, eating a delicious meal at the Twisp River Pub and getting a good night’s sleep, I was totally recovered from the previous day’s snow-storm ordeal on the tough hike to Cutthroat Pass.

After enjoying some fresh-brewed coffee with old friend George, I was soon headed up the Twisp River to the 3,200-foot South Creek Trailhead. It was located near a campground with some young kids playing hide and seek. After walking across a footbridge over the Twisp River, I immediately entered into a grove of bright orange tiger lilies. They always remind me of Halloween pumpkins. Now I was in the Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness.

Tiger Lily

Ruffed Grouse

Whitetail Fawn

Louis Lake

For the next two miles the Trail stayed near South Creek in a deep slot canyon under a mature forest canopy without many views. I took a left on the Louis Lake Trail crossing South Creek. A good uphill crank was in order for the next 1 ½ miles before reaching the entrance into the Louis Creek Valley. Soon the Trail crossed some large meadows with open views to the high, snow-covered peaks in the area.

Then I was back in the timber hiking through alder thickets, mountain hemlock and true firs. Crossing a high foot-log over Louis Creek, led me to Louis Lake in a short while. I kicked myself for not bringing a wide-angle lens for my Nikon. The glacier-carved cliffs rose sharply 2,000 – 3,000 feet above the Lake on the left, right and front. Sawtooth Ridge dominated the views to the south. There was no way to capture the entire scene with a 105 mm lens, the smallest setting on my zoom lens.

I set the camera aside and marveled at the brilliant white snow fields on the surrounding cliffs. They were a stark contrast to the deep blue waters of the 5,400-foot Lake. It was one of the more spectacular settings I have experienced. The warmth of the mid-day sun and a good lunch kept me in the setting for several hours.

With much reluctance I put on the pack and began the hike to the Trailhead. All in all the hike was 11 miles in length with 2,600 feet of elevation gain. A gold star trek.   

Louis Lake

Louis Lake

A cute Pika

High cliffs above Louis Lake

White Rhody

Nearing the Lake

Old Trail sign

Solomon Seal

Foot-log leading to Louis Lake







Categories: Washington Cascades HikesTags: , , ,

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