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Lake Julius and Loch Eileen

Central Cascades > Stevens Pass - East
47.7283, -120.8437 Map & Directions
15.9 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
3,815 feet
Highest Point
5,735 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Loch Eileen. Photo by Mike Morrison. Full-size image
  • Wildflowers/Meadows
  • Lakes
  • Fall foliage
  • Waterfalls

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass
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You can hike to Loch Eileen two ways — via a trailhead off Highway 2, or from trails you can access if you reserve a spot at Alpine Lakes High Camp. Continue reading

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Hiking Lake Julius and Loch Eileen

The Scottish Lakes are gorgeous backpacking (or long-day hiking) destinations just east of Stevens Pass in the Cascades. Hikers can start from a trailhead just off Highway 2, or make reservations at Alpine Lakes High Camp and set out for the lakes from the front door of your cabin. Either way, they're a gorgeous destination, and well worth the effort to get there. 

From Highway 2

It’s a steep climb from the Highway 2 trailhead. Ascend 1,400 feet in just over a mile via a series of switchbacks. Keep going. Gain another 1,200 feet in the next 1.5 miles, crossing several logging roads and clearcuts, which offer excellent views of Glacier Peak as you ascend.

Top out at 5,700 feet before cresting a ridge and dropping slightly to Gill Creek. Here, the trail levels out in an old-growth grove, intersecting with a now-defunct trail. Ignore that old trail and take a sharp right to enter the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. You’ll soon reach another intersection, this time with the Upper Roaring Creek Trail.

From here, Lake Ethel, a pretty lake surrounded by steep rocks and waterfalls, lies less than a quarter-mile straight ahead. Pause there, or simply continue on Upper Roaring Creek Trail for 2.7 miles to Lake Julius, another lovely rest stop.

From here, your destination lies just a half-mile away, where you can sit and rest on Loch Eileen’s shores.

From Alpine Lakes High Camp

If you stay at Alpine Lakes High Camp, you’ll start at 5,000 feet, shortening your hike to 8.4 miles roundtrip and saving you 3,000 feet of elevation gain.

Several well-maintained trails connect you to Loch Eileen, including MAC Express, Low Road and the Boundary Trail. All of these access Picnic Point, where there’s a sign pointing to the trail leading right to Lake Julius and Loch Eileen.

However you get here, it’s worth spending the night or a long weekend to explore all the area has to offer.

Hike Description Written by
Multiple authors contributed to this report, WTA Community

Lake Julius and Loch Eileen

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 47.7283, -120.8437 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

For the trailhead on Highway 2: Driving east on Hwy 2, continue 15 miles past Stevens Pass. (Driving west on Hwy 2, continue 5.2 miles past Coles Corner.) Turn on Forest Road 6490, signed “Gill Creek, Merritt, Lake Ethel Trailhead.” After crossing Nason Creek, turn left and continue 1.4 miles to the trailhead.

For access from Alpine Lakes High Camp, look for a large wooden sign in the center of camp. It shows the various ways to access the trail to Loch Eileen. 

More Hike Details


Central Cascades > Stevens Pass - East

Loch Eileen (#1584.1)

Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Wenatchee River Ranger District

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Lake Julius and Loch Eileen

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