Heather - Maple Pass Loop

20 reviews #1 hike out of 100 in
6.4 mi
Distance
2 hrs 52 min
Time
terrain
2,051 ft
Elev Gain

Overview

The Heather - Maple Pass Loop is a trail in the North Cascades of Washington. Choose your direction based on whether you like to conquer the steep portion at the beginning or end of your hike. Counter-clockwise is the popular choice and means a gentle climb toward the passes above Lake Ann with stunning views of Black Peak ahead of you.

Getting Started

While traveling east on Highway 20, you'll find the parking lot for this trail shortly before Washington Pass on the west side of the highway. A Northwest Forest Pass is required here, since this corridor is on national forest land. The trail begins at the south end of the parking lot.

Heading east from the parking lot, you'll encounter one switchback before contouring southeast toward Lake Ann. At the 1.25 mile mark, you can optionally take a 0.6 mile detour to the shores of Lake Ann. As you continue past this junction, the trail climbs through wildflower patches toward Heather Pass, where a spur trail takes climbers to Black Peak.

From Heather Pass, the trail turns left and contours toward Maple Pass. Marvel in the views as you gain the ridge that marks the border of the North Cascades National Park. Shortly after Maple Pass you'll hit the hike high-point, a shoulder of Frisco Mountain.

The trail continues to the northeast from here, following a ridge between Lake Ann and Rainy Lake. Near the end, a few switchbacks drop you back down to Lake Ann's outflow Bridge Creek before the trail heads north to the finish.

Take care when hiking this route early in the year. Snow can be found on the high passes into July, and could be hazardous on some of the steeper slopes.



    Rate this Hike

    user_profile stars
    1 week, 6 days ago
    This hike used to be one of my favorites, really sad to see what has started happening to our wild places. Cars lined up for a mile on HWY 20, others parked illegally within the massive lot. Tons of people walking on the heather meadows-- which is really fragile area. Others playing music out loud. A drone was flying over head... the total lack of regard for others is heartbreaking.
    ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    3 months, 2 weeks ago
    Super crowded, lots of trash on the trail, off leash dogs, loud music blaring.

    user_profile
    1 year ago
    Larches! Fall colors! Views! Meadows! Snow! Mud! This hike has it all. We arrived at the trailhead at 10am, and people were being directed to park along the road since the lot had filled up. Not a problem, though, as a friendly ranger was directing and said it was fine to park on the road. Take 100 people and spread them out over 7 miles, it's not too bad. And this hike is so wildly popular because it is one of the best around. We chose counter-clockwise to go with the popular route, and I like the way the views open up this way. The larches ranged from a light green to a light yellow, and were lovely. It was warm enough that we ate along the top ridge without a problem, didn't even need layers. The views were epic, clear, and dramatic. Fall foliage out in its splendor. The sun had also turned a lot of the snow into slush, and only in a few places did we use Yak Tracks. I was glad to have them and poles, though plenty of people were making it without. The route along the top is easy to navigate through the snow (about 1/2 inch to 1 foot deep along the sides of the trail, but packed down on the trail), although it does seem to go over a bit of heather. There was some slippery mud on the steep trail down, but poles kept us upright. I can't recommend this hike more. Even on a crowded weekend we found the natural world a place of wonder.
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    1 year ago
    Beautiful fall colors hike!
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    1 year, 2 months ago
    There isn’t a lot better bang for your buck than this hike. Under 8 miles gets you views of dozens of names peaks and two huge glacial lakes. We went counterclockwise and I think it was much nicer than clockwise if your knees can take the steep downhill. The trail is in great shape and conditions are perfect for a hike right now.
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    1 year, 12 months ago
    Started around 8am on what seemed like a not very busy morning. Did the loop in clockwise fashion as I like to get the steep part out of the way, and also hike the opposite direction of the majority. Weather was good and some larches still in full gold dress. Clear views to Black Peak, Glacier Peak, etc. No snow on trail yet, but some areas of frozen ground. It became pretty evident that it was indeed a busy day on the trail as we were on the 2nd half, coming down beside Lake Ann. The parking lot overflowed out onto Highway 20. Early start was perfect.
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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    2 weeks, 3 days ago
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Public Tracks

user_profile
Lindsey 2 years, 4 months ago
MAPLE PASS
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user_profile
klkeeley58 1 year, 3 months ago
Maple Pass Loop counterclockwise
New favorite hike in WA. Loop allows you to see waterfall going into Rainy Lake. See waypoint for amazing tent site. Yes it’s crowded but seriously awesome.
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ganzen 4 years, 3 months ago
Bridge Creek, WA, USA
http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/maple-pass Gain: 2000 ft. Highest Point: 6650 ft. 7.2 miles, roundtrip
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jodyrutl 1 year ago
Maple Loop Pass (10/6/19, 11:47:37AM)
W Anna. Accidentally “paused” recording so mileage/time isn’t accurate. Beautiful hike!
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annawolheter 1 year ago
Heather-Maple Loop Pass(10/6/19, 11:25:50AM)
Hiked with Jody. Beautiful fall colors with snow on top. Sunny perfect day.
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christophersobanek08 3 months, 1 week ago
Maple Pass Loop 7/13/20, 7:14:59AM)
Ice axe, crampons, one pole, mountaineer boots very helpful
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