Lila Lakes Trail
Lila Lakes Trail is an 17.7 km hike in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest that is rated as hard. This trail takes you to the shores of Rachel Lake, Lila Lake, and the small lakes that surround Lila Lake. There are lots of side trips off the main trail that can length your adventure if you’re in an exploring mood, including Rampart Lakes and Alta Mountain. If you want to hike to Rachel Lake only, check out our route guide for that trail.
The route can be a touch overgrown in some parts, so we recommend downloading your GPS track ahead of time. There are charming waterfall lookouts along the way, but most of the trail is in the woods. Expect heavy traffic, much of which drops off after Rachel Lake.
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Route Description for Lila Lakes Trail
Lila Lakes Trail provides access to several gorgeous alpine lakes, including Rachel Lake, Lila Lake, and optionally to Rampart Lakes. While this 11-mile trek is mostly forested on the way up, the views at the lakes make it well worth the trip. Most of the hike is moderate until the last approach to Rachel Lake, which steepens. Hikers continuing to Lila Lakes will contend with more steep terrain.
Parts of the trail are a bit overgrown, particularly on the extensions to Rampart and Lila Lakes. Download your route if you’re concerned about navigation. Adventurous hikers can also continue up Alta Mountain from Lila Lakes for a birds-eye view of the whole scene.
From the trailhead at the end of the road, take the obvious trail into the forest. It’s wooded for the majority of the trail, but trust that the views will come. The route starts out fairly mild and progressively gets steeper and rockier as you get closer to Rachel Lake.
Watch for small waterfalls as you go, which are nice distractions from the steepening trail. It’s 5.6 km to Rachel Lake. The last approach to the lake is quite a bit steeper and rockier than the rest of the trail, so take a moment to rest on the shores when you get there.
At the lake, look for the signage that points to the “Trail.” Yes, that’s all it says. Follow this around the north side of the lake, then west. You’ll climb switchbacks up a ridge that are fairly steep.
Atop the ridge, look for a trail to your right. Follow this, unless you want to add a detour to Rampart Lakes, in which case you should head left.
0.5 km later, reach another junction. If you want to detour up Alta Mountain, go left. To continue to Lila Lake, go straight.
Cross a talus slope and reach a small unnamed lake. Go around the right side of this tarn and then keep an eye out for a small trail on your right. Ending up at a rocky overlook of Lila Lake means you missed this trail.
On the faint trail, head down to the lake on a section of trail that is occasionally steep and wet. Finally on the shores of Lila Lake, rest up for a while as you enjoy the views. There is camping here, or you can just take a moment on the lakeshore before beginning the return journey, which follows the same route back.
Hiking Route Highlights
Rachel Lake adorns the eastern side of Rampart Ridge. This 25-acre lake is at an elevation of 1,422 m and is a popular hiking and fishing destination. Hikers also enjoy swimming in Rachel Lake on hot days. Fishers can try to catch cutthroat trout.
Little 2.8-acre Lila Lake is ticked under the southern face of Alta Mountain. This pretty blue gem is a hiking destination, but it’s also used for swimming, fishing, and camping. The lake is at an elevation of 1,584 m and can be accessed from Rachel Lake.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I swim at Rachel Lake and Lila Lake?
Yes, swimming is permitted in both lakes. They may be chilly!
Can you camp at Rachel Lake and Lila Lake?
Yes, there are several campsites around both lakes.
Can you fish at Rachel Lake and Lila Lake?
You can fish at both lakes. Rachel has cutthroat trout and Lila has rainbow trout.
Insider Hints for Lila Lakes Trail
- Remember your Northwest Forest Pass for this hike.
- Take care on the drive to the trailhead, which is quite potholed.
- The parking area is small, so try to arrive early on the weekends.
Getting to the Lila Lakes Trail Trailhead
The trailhead for the Lila Lakes Trail is at the end of National Forest Development Road 4930. There is parking here.
Lila Lakes Trail Elevation Graph
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Lila Lakes Trail Reviews
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