Tucked in a cirque a few miles east of Stevens Pass are Minotaur Lake, its immediate neighbor Theseus and overlooking Labyrinth Mountain. This group of alpine destinations, named for symbols in the Greek mythos, make for a great day hike and an excellent workout.
Don’t be dissuaded by older printings of the Green Trails map that list the elevation of this lake as 6600 feet, it is only 5600 feet. More recent versions of the maps include the corrected elevation, but covering 1900 feet in a mile and a half is still a steep grade, and the first 1400 feet are gained in less than a mile, between the trailhead and the wilderness boundary at 5000 feet level.
Minotaur does not disappoint those willing to take on the vertical challenge. The lake is beautiful, often with a few patches of snow along the north-facing scree field that can last into September. The lake is very photogenic, with a jaw-dropping view down to Theseus.
The trail starts off alternating between running up the ridge adjacent to the outlet creek from the lake and switchbacking up through second-growth dense enough to impede the proliferation of understory on the forest floor. The switchbacks soon give way and the trail returns to its “fisherman track” roots, heading pretty much straight up the hill.
Two hundred feet above the wilderness boundary, the trail traverses northeast and enters a beautiful group of cascading meadows. These meadows are filled with wildflowers early in the season and huckleberries late in the season. Catch your breath here and breathe a sigh of relief; the workout part of the hike is behind you. Now relatively flat sections are mixed with short pitches the rest of the way up to the lake. Just before reaching the lake you will pass a swimming pool sized frog pond in a meadow directly below the lake.
Once at the lake you have a number of choices: explore along the lake shore, or cross the outlet stream and walk up 100 feet to the edge of the ridge. This is a cliff, so keep a hand on kids and dogs. But the view is stellar -- from here you can look down directly on Theseus. One final option is to continue on for a mile to the top of Labyrinth Mountain. Look for WTA's hiking guide entry for information on the route up Labyrinth.
- 3.5 miles, roundtrip
- Elevation Gain
- 1,905 feet
- Highest Point
- 5,580 feet
Hiking Minotaur Lake
Map & Directions
Co-ordinates: 47.8278, -121.0297 Open in Google Maps