Picture Lake Trail
The 0.5mi paved Picture Lake loop hike is exactly that: a picture-perfect trail for strollers and wheelchairs. Aptly-named Picture Lake, this trail is popular for photo-ops due to its easy access and incredible views of Mount Shuksan reflected back into the crystal clear waters.
To get to Picture Lake, from Glacier, drive 21.0mi east on Mount Baker Highway to mileposts 54. Park on the left side of the road, next to the lake. A Northwest Forest Pass is required.
|When to do|
July to October
Picture Lake Trail
Picture Lake Trail Description
Start the Picture Lake trail from the parking area, where you’ll find a few short paths lead down to the lake. Set out in either direction on the loop. Your first stops will surely be at the dock and the interpretive overlook for head-on views of Mount Shuksan – if the weather is clear. Said to be one of the most photographed peaks in North America, the Shuksan stands at 9131ft, and is classified as aglaciated massif (not a volcano). It is located within the boundaries of North Cascades National Park and althoughPicture Lake is not within the park proper, it’s close enough for fabulous photos of the mountain.
Benches provide a place to rest and take in the views. In addition to Mount Shuksan, you can spot Table Mountain, Mount Herman, and Ruth Mountain along the loop – not to mention countless others in the distance. During the summer— blueberries, heather, and fireweed line the trail. Come fall, the vegetation turns fiery red-orange which stands out in spectacular contrast to Picture Lake’s blue waters and the snow-white glaciers of Mount Shuksan.
The Picture Lake trail is particularly popular for families, as the trail is a graded pathway of pavement and boardwalk, making it easy for children of all ages to enjoy. Pass by two fantastic viewpoints of Mount Shuksan and snap a picture or two. Calm mornings and evenings are the best time to grab a crystal clear snapshot of the sunrise and sunset in the water and the park can be bustling with photographers.
This little lake is perfect for families, those with mobility issues, and anyone seeking a scenic stroll. Take your time walking, viewing, and learning. The interpretive signs tell the story of how the glacially-carved lake came to be.
No swimming or entering the water is permitted at Picture Lake.
To hike closer to Mount Shuksan, try the Lake Ann Trail.
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