Lake Margaret, Lake Lillian Trailhead, Seattle - Alpine Lakes Wilderness - Snoqualmie Pass - Central Cascades, Washington

Lake Margaret - 5.6 miles

Lake Lillian Trailhead

Lake Margaret

Lake Margaret

Round-Trip Length: 5.6 miles
Start-End Elevation: 3,490’ – 4,748’ (5,025’ max elevation)
Elevation Change: +1,258’ net elevation gain (+1,876’ total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Lake Margaret - 5.6 Miles Round-Trip

Lake Margaret is located 2.8 miles from Lillian Lake Trailhead in a secluded bowl carved from the east side of Mt Margaret. The Lake Lillian Trail climbs through private land on a road and clear-cut trail to a saddle below Mt Margaret, where it drops 275' in .6 miles to the lake. Visitors will enjoy light crowds, abundant berries and exploring Lake Yvonne on the hike to Lake Margaret:

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

From the parking lot, walk back out to the road and uphill another 100 yards. Turn left where the road forks and head uphill on a wide gravel road for .7 miles and 440' to the official trailhead on the left side of the road and marked with a brown bollard and small green sign (3,930').

The main trail turns sharply uphill from the road through mountain ash, huckleberry, Douglas fir and beargrass with emerging views of Mt Rainier to the south.

It passes from this old clear-cut area into a mature hemlock - fir forest near the Alpine Lakes Wilderness boundary (1.7 miles (4,770’). Huckleberries are notably abundant in this area.

A long switchback rises steadily to the Lake Lillian - Lake Margaret Trail split on a saddle below Mt Margaret (2.2 miles : 5,025’). Twin Lakes and Lake Lillian are 1.4 and 2.3 miles from this point, respectively.

Turn right at the split and drop down well-built switchbacks through silver fir and hemlock to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness boundary sign (2.5 miles : 4,836’). Pass tiny Lake Yvonne (2.6 miles) on the final approach to Lake Margaret (2.8 miles : 4,748’).

Explore gently rolling terrain in the vicinity, or follow x-country tracks 400' down to Stonesthrow Lake, and on to Swan Lake near the head of Gale Creek.

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Worth Noting

  • This trail begins on privately-owned land that's crossed by several logging roads. Carefully note directions for finding the trailhead from the beginning of the on-road portion of this trail.
  • Huckleberries are abundant in the forest below the saddle, and blueberries can be found around Lake Margaret.

Camping and Backpacking Information

  • An overnight Wilderness Permit must be filled out at the TH and carried for the duration of your trip in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Max group size is 12.

  • Camp only at established sites around Twin Lakes and Lake Lillian, avoiding fragile vegetation along the lake shores.

  • Fires are not permitted above 5000' west of the Cascade Crest.

Fishing Information

  • Fishing is allowed with a valid WA state fishing license.

  • Contact the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for more information.

Email: [email protected]
Sport | Commercial Licenses: 360.902.2434
Disability Licenses: 360.902.2460

Rules and Regulations

  • The land at the parking area is private (Northern Pacific Land Grant) so no pass is required to park here. Note that general signage maybe absent.
  • A free day use or overnight Wilderness Permit must be filled out at the TH and carried for the duration of your trip in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
  • Dogs must be leashed at all times in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

Directions to Trailhead

The Lake Lillian Trailhead is located 4.4 miles from Exit 54 on I-90, just beyond Snoqualmie Pass.

From I-90, take exit 54 (signed 906 W / Hyak) and turn left off the ramp towards Gold Creek. Pass under the freeway and turn right just past the I-90 off-ramp at a dirt road, signed Gold Creek just beyond. Continue on this frontage road along the north side I-90, passing cabins on the left at 2.4 miles and beginning to climb steeply at 2.5 miles.

At 2.9 miles, pass a spur road splitting off left – do not take this road, but rather turn left at the very next split just beyond. Continue up another 1.5 miles to a parking lot with bulletin board on the left. Park here, but note that the trailhead is actually 100 yards further up this road, and left at another split.

This parking lot on private land holds approximately 25 cars, and has no privy. 

Contact Information

Okanogan - Wenatchee National Forest | Cle Elum Ranger District
803 West 2nd Street
Cle Elum, WA 989222

Reference Trail #1332.1

Trip Reports

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