With two weeks left to climb Mount Rainier’s Disappointment Cleaver route, we needed a challenging day hike to continue our training. Surely this was just an excuse to go back to my favorite hike in the cascades. With its 13 miles, almost 4000 ft of elevation gain and five gorgeous lakes, this is a great hike for a long summer day.
We did it in a day for training purposes, but once we got to the last lake and were surrounded by the relaxing sound of Angeline Falls, we wished we had brought our camping gear with us. Even the dog took advantage of the calm setting to take a nap before starting the way back.
What I love the most about the hike is the reward of the lakes and waterfalls, that are evenly distributed along the trail. The longest stretch in between lakes starts at Trout Lake and ends on the path that forks towards Malachite Lake, but you get to enjoy Copper Falls along the way, which are still in full force.
The trail is very rocky and exposed to the sun, so a good hat, light clothes and lots of water are very recommended on a hot day. Each of us carried four litters of water to have the extra weight and we ended up drinking them all. The first time I did this hike I took only 2.5 liters and generous backpackers I found on my way back helped me out with some more. We usually like to try new things that improve our hiking experience, and this time we replaced Powerade powder with C2O coconut water for the electrolytes. We really liked it, especially because it comes with tasty pulp and it was still cold when we started the hike. There were lots of creeks that the dog enjoyed, and a few small patches of snow that should be gone in a few days.
The best photos are taken from Malachite Lake, Copper Lake and Big Heart Lake. Little Heart Lake is a bit secluded but suitable for group camping.