Talapus & Olallie Lakes

This is a fantastic hike for starting out for a few reasons.

1. It’s close, being on the I-90 corridor.

2. It’s part of a network of trails that go to many lakes in the area.

3. You can turn around at the first lake if it’s all you can muster.

It’s a relatively short hike for average hikers. 6.2 miles round trip. At a 30-minute mile, that’s a little more than 90 minutes up. So figure 3 hours, 4 hours tops if you’re in walking shape. In 2015 I have hiked this trail three times, once in February, since Washington had a crappy snow season. The lakes were frozen over, but there was little snow. Sad, considering we weren’t far from the ski resort.

So in my opinion, this is a top beginning hike. And the best part is it’s easy to do again, so you have your own benchmark. The third time I hiked it I wasn’t tired, didn’t sweat much, and wasn’t dragging my butt up the trail. It’s good to know when you’re improving. 😉

The Trail

Pretty easy. It’s a continuous climb, but not much rock-crawling or root-crawling. There are a few places where roots can trip hikers, and wet, muddy spots on the trail. The trail is in great condition, just have to pay attention. At 3.1 miles up, the elevation gain is 1,220′. About 400 feet per mile. It’s in the woods all of the time, so direct sun is non-existent. Which means it stays cool, which is nice.

The first lake the trail comes to is Talapus. I didn’t get a good view of the lake since there’s only a few places to get to the shoreline. Like most alpine lake hikes, beaches are not included. So after snapping some pics, get back on the trail for the hike to Olallie.

There are some creek crossings, and if early in the season, wet trails. Depending upon the year, it dries out by June. It’s popular for families, pets, and all ages. The most difficult parts are the switchbacks next to Pratt Creek (I think it’s called that). And I’d say these are about a 3 out of 10 on difficulty (1 being a sidewalk and 10 being ‘I’m getting my hands and knees dirty’).


Pack: Osprey Talon 22
Shoes: Asics Gel Venture 4
Trekking Poles: None
Water: 2L, but didn’t drink it all

Life finds a way...
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