Set in a large cirque in the rugged Monte Cristo peaks and fed by the Columbia Glacier and icy snowfields hanging and clinging to the surrounding steep slopes, Blanca’s location is as dramatic as any in the Cascades. But what really strikes all who toil up the steep trail to witness this marvel is the lake’s cobalt blue water. Its sheen and tone constantly change, depending on the amount and angle of sunlight shining down on it.
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Fogbound hike to Blanca Lake.
Participants include Nicole Hansen, Tom and Lisa.
Reference: Green Trails Monte Cristo No. 143. Day Hiking: Central Cascades, by Craig Romano, No. 36 Blanca Lake.
The North Fork Skykomish River Road from Index, the normal approach for this hike, sustained considerable flood damage in fall 2006. It will be years before this road is repaired. Until then, the trail can be accessed from Skykomish via Jack Pass. From Everett head east on US 2 for 49 miles to the small town of Skykomish. Continue east for 1 more mile, turning left onto Beckler River Road (Forest Road 65). The pavement ends at 6.9 miles. Continue north for another 5.8 miles, coming to a 5-way intersection (Jack Pass). Take the second left, the route signed as closed 3.2 miles ahead. Follow it downhill 2.4 miles. Just after crossing the North Fork Skykomish River is a junction and restricted access sign. Turn right onto FR 63 and drive 2.0 potholed miles, turning left into the trailhead parking area (elev. 1900 ft).
Trailhead GPS coordinates (47.9154,-121.3124)
Forest Service Pass required.
7.94 miles, 3499 ft. gain, 6 hrs 1 min.