Rampart Lakes, Mt. Baker National Forest-Snoqualmie Trip Report
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September 4, 2005
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Directions: Drive I-90 to the Stampede Pass/Lake Kachess exit 62 12.5 miles east of Snoqualmie Pass. Turn north and drive 5 miles to the Lake Kachess CG, then turn left for 4 mi on Box Canyon Road #4930, then left for again for .2 mi to trailhead.
Trail Notes: Our hike to the Rampart Lakes began in a unique, but not good way. Upon arriving at the trail head we observed several cars with their windows smashed out and their insides on the outside of the vehicle. There were many people lingering around the area and we were told that the sheriff had been called and was on his way. Still we wondered if our car would be broken into while we were hiking. We weren't alone with our concerns - it seemed like everyone we spoke to had the same concerns and many were turning around to go elsewhere. We decided that the chances that the theives would return during the day, were low and headed out.
The hike to the Rampart Lakes shares much of the same trail as that described in the review of Alta Mtn. The first hour and half is spent working ones way up Hibox valley over undulating terrain. There aren't really any views to speak of durning this time. At about the one hour mark the terrain changes radically the the trail turns into a rutted, root filled hike. The going isn't tricky, but if you are carrying a backpack one should take care to get a good footing. About 1/2 hour thereafter you will make your way to Rachel Lake, which is a beutiful lake. On this day the weather was overcast, so the beutiful blues of the lake remained hidden.
The trail from Rachel lake leaves on the eastern side of the lake (right side). The trail isn't very well marked, but heading to the east on any trail will ultimately deliver one to the trail. For the next 15-20 minutes the going is fairly steep, though not as steep as it looks from Rachel lake. During this time there are considerable views to be had
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Reviewed By: Theresa on Wednesday, August 26, 2009 @ 10:54:21 PM
This past weekend my friends and I decided to go camping at Rachel Lake. After we got to Rachel Lake, we decided to do a hike to Rampart Lakes. We walked towards Rampart Lakes but couldn't find it. We was dried up huge dirt piles with grass surrounding it to indicate a body of water was there. I had done a hike to Mt Alta a few years back and believe that the Rampart Lakes may have dried out.
End of July
Reviewed By: Andrea M on Monday, July 28, 2008 @ 09:03:50 AM
We started out hike in the late evening so by the time we hiked through the valley and reached the more difficult climb, it was already dark. And even though our head lamps kept blinking to let us know our batteries were almost dead, they lasted the whole weekend. I don't reccomend hiking this trail at night. Although there was no one else around and we had the trail to ourselves, we missed all the good views (which we saw on the way back- beautiful!). It was kind of fun though because we could hear tons of streams and waterfalls but we never knew where they were until we were walking right though them! I reccomend bringing waterproof boots because there are a lot of streams to walk though. Getting to Rachel Lake was difficult. The last mile of the trail is about a 1300 elevation increase and is made up of rocks and TONS of tree roots. My legs were killing me. And at night, looking down at the roots with a head lamp, it was hard to tell how big they were. But luckily we never tripped! Instead we took a lot of breaks by all the waterfalls and streams.
Rachel Lake is really pretty... and cold as we dicovered when we swam in it! There was snow randomly throughout the the woods surrounding Rachel Lake and alongside the water as well. There are plenty of places to pitch a tent without being too close to other hikers. There is also an outdoor toilet that is kind of awkward and open, but difficult to find. We camped out at Rachel Lake on Friday and Saturday night and just did an evening hike up to Rampart Lakes. It was so worth the trip. Don't go to Rachel Lake without going to Rampart Lakes too. It's only another mile but the views are some of the prettiest around. There was tons of snow and lakes all over the place. The lakes are really neat too because they are very blue and spread all over at different heights, shapes and sizes. It's reall sweet! Plus it just feels like a-whole-nother country up there. It is pretty open and spread out and you can see lots of little tents camped out by different lakes and it almost looks like little towns. I loved it.
Some parts of this hike were pretty difficult, but it was really worth it. DO THIS HIKE.
Like a Challenge
Reviewed By: Rob Sims on Thursday, May 31, 2007 @ 09:29:36 AM
Male, 53 years old, pretty good shape for hiking though I do like to eat and it shows. Time of year was early September (2006) and berries were plentiful. Rachel Lake is a good midway destination for the not so hardy.
This was the third most difficult hike of the year (full of hikes) for me. It was the 2nd most rewarding in vista views and scenic wonder. I loved this hike and it is on my repeat list. (there are so many trails and so little time!) The only two more difficult trails I accomplished were Joe Lake (with its deceptive beginning and perilous progression) and the Robin Lakes. I carried a back pack on all three. I do not forego my desire for comfort with ultra light puritanism ideals. I pack heavy and enjoy my camps. Exercise is the reason I started and exercise is what I accomplish.
Huckleberries, bluberries, leaping cutthroats, crystal clear azure water and awe-inspiring wonder. Rocks, roots, elevation gain and ankle twisting danger.
At the far side of the lakes (which are full of scramble opportunities), is a trail that continues up. I MEAN, UP! And few there are that venture onto its scree sloped path. Its one of those trails that when you summit, you look back and ask yourself two questions; "I made it up that?" and "How am I ever going to make it back down?" It would be easier for a hang glider to follow. But then you crest. Whistle to the marmots. They will answer. Ease down the far side to Lake Lillian as part of your day hike. Pick heaping handfuls of plump, sweet berries and enjoy their "melt in your mouth" refreshment. Sing a song. Pray thanks to your creator. Wonder in awe at the magnificant views. Then, when you are so full you are about to burst from sensory overload, return to the crest and with heart in hand, begin your descent. At least it passes quickly.
What a great hike! On the way back down, detour to Peggy's Ponds if you have time. They are a fairly well kept secret that serve as a final destination to some savvy hikers, so you may have to do a little searching. I also detoured to Lila Lake. It was worth the effort and the trail is marked. (not so for Peggy's Ponds... I leave this tantalizing challenge to you.)
A solid second in my favorite hikes of the year, only marginally bumped by Tuck & Robins.
See you on the trail if you're not too frail. Stop and say hi to the white haired and bearded guy with the friendly yellow/orange lab retriever. Her name is Sissy and God sent her to me. She loves everybody, is trail wise and always has a moment for the people we meet.
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