Waptus Lake

Its been a while since my last backpacking trip and I felt the need to get out and hike!  I chose Waptus Lake, knowing the trail was long and led to incredible scenery with many options for exploring around the lake.  I’ve been there once before and have wanted to return ever since then.  The trip did not disappoint!

It was 85 degrees in Cle Elum, where I stopped to pick up some agave juice.  Of course it was the hottest part of the day to start hiking.  At least the bugs were gone.  In fact, I didn’t see more than 5 mosquitoes!  Not bad for a place notorious for horrible bugs.  I stopped a few times along the river on the hike in and took about 4 hours to reach Waptus Lake at a mellow pace.   Unfortunately I developed a blister on my heel 2 miles into the hike.

The river crossing was easy, only knee deep and not too cold.  I reached the lake and saw only one other group camped at Quick Creek Camp.  Sweet.  I poured some agave juice and crystal light in my cup and sat in the sun for the rest of the day:)

In the morning, I realized I drank too much agave juice and had to go back to bed for a few hours.  By 9am, I was ready to hike more.  I headed to Spade Lake, 2200 feet and 4.4 miles beyond Waptus Lake.  It was steep, hot and almost too much for me.  I made it just short of the lake and had to turn around due to a time limit.  I sat in the sun staring at Mt. Adams, Mt. Rainier, Summit Chief, Bears Breast and other good looking mountains before heading back down.  I’ll be back there for sure and I’ll have an extra day to explore that awesome area.

Total trip was about 27 miles, 3500 vertical feet and my blister hurt like hell.  The scenery and solitude outweighed any pain though and I LOVE Waptus Lake!!!!  Enjoy the photos and get out and walk! EE


5 thoughts on “Waptus Lake

  1. Thanks for the report & the photos. We were in that same campsite on July 10th. The Waptus River crossing was thigh deep; it sounds like it’s really going down. And the mosquitoes were pretty hungry for us. All in all, sounds like the hiking season is shaping up nicely.


    • The lack of mosquitoes was sure a surprise to me too! That entire area is infested with horrible bugs, but it always seems the most beautiful places are:)


  2. Hey Eric,

    I searched online for recent trip reports to Spade Lake and really was glad to find yours. I am planning a trip up there on August 6th, and I am wondering how much snow we will find up at Spade. Did yo actually get far enough to see Spade Lake? Could you tell whether it was still frozen, or partially frozen?

    I would appreciate anything more you can tell me.




    • Hey Mike,
      I never actually saw Spade Lake so I can’t tell you if it was frozen. I stopped when the trail headed down, maybe 1/2 mile short. My guess would be no though. I ran into snow right around 5000′ but it will be gone now since it was not much. The trail is steep and climbs next to a stream the majority of the time, then crosses a big stream below Deadhead Lake. It’s shaded in the morning so the earlier the better for that climb. Have fun, I’d love to go back! Its really beautiful there:)


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