Talapus Lake and Olallie Lake Hike
The Talapus Lake and Olallie Lake hike is a heavily trafficked moderate hike in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. This hike is suitable for families and beginner hikers and offers great views, a cool forest, and a calm lake. The trail is wide and easy to follow, but it does get busy, making an early start or midweek visit a smart choice.
There is spotty reception at the trailhead and to the lake, so make sure you have your permit and GPS ready before arriving.
The trailhead for Talapus Lake and Olallie Lake Trail is off FR 9030. Follow the road around to the right at a junction and continue to the road’s end.
Talapus Lake Backcountry
|When to do|
Yes - On Leash
Out and back
Talapus Lake and Olallie Lake Hike
Talapus Lake and Olallie Lake Hike Description
Talapus Lake is a pretty lake framed by Bandera Mountain in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Olallie Lake is just beyond, flanked by Pratt Mountain and Tusk O’Granite. The lakes are accessible without too much effort or heavy climbing, with a gradual incline continuing for the duration of the ascent. This hike is a popular choice for beginners and families and definitely fills up on nice weekends. It’s also a good choice for new backpackers, who can set up camp at the lake and continue to Olallie Lake the next day, or camp at Olallie.
If you want a little more peace, try coming early, late in the afternoon, or during the week. Additionally, please refrain from feeding the wildlife. They’ve gotten very used to humans on this trail, and you’ll want to resist the temptation to reinforce their backpack-robbing habits.
The hike to Talapus and Olallie begins from the parking area, heading into the forest on a wide, well-maintained trail. The trail has been carefully worked on through the years, making it a pleasant walk.
Through a collection of old cedars and hemlock, the path steepens a bit, curving around switchbacks next to Talapus Creek. Please don’t cut the switchbacks or deviate from the trail as crews have worked hard to reroute this trail and to keep it in good condition despite the amount of people taking on this route.
You’ll reach a fork just before Talapus Creek. You can either go left to reach the campsites near the lake or go right to access the lake itself. Go right (unless you’re camping) and cross the creek on a narrow but sturdy bridge.
Reaching Talapus Lake, find a good spot for a snack, photos, or a bit of a rest. The lake is calm and picturesque, and you might even see some hikers opting for a swim. From here, get back on the trail and switchback through the forest for 1.2mi. At the junction, cross Talapus Creek on the left-side path. The right path goes to Pratt Lake.
Past the junction, you’ll hike a slightly steeper trail for about 0.2mi, at which point the route levels out. It’s smooth sailing to the shores of Olallie. The trail remains higher up on the valley, but you can descend to the campsites on the western shore to relax, swim, or pitch your tent.
When you’re ready, retrace your steps to return to the parking lot.
Hiking Route Highlights
Talapus Lake is a freshwater lake nestled into a prominent valet near Bandera Mountain. The lake is 7 hectares large and offers hiking, swimming, and birdwatching from its shores.
Olallie Lake is a 6-hectare alpine lake popular for camping, hiking, and fishing. The lake is fed by nearby Mount Adams via glacier, and the lack of motorized boats on the lake allows for a peaceful retreat.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you swim in Talapus and Olallie Lake?
Yes, you can swim in both lakes.
What pass do I need for Talapus Lake and Olallie Lake Trail?
Please have your Northwest Forest Pass ready for this hike.
The road to the trailhead is severely potholed, so a high-clearance vehicle is recommended.
The bugs don’t tend to be bad on this trail, but it sometimes has horseflies. Bring spray.
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