Description - The breathtaking beauty and proximity to the Seattle metropolitan area makes the Alpine Lakes Wilderness one of the most popular natural areas in the Northwest. Over half Washington State's population live within a one-hour drive of the Wilderness. In many places we are "loving the Wilderness to death". Too many visitors and careless behavior result in campsites stripped of vegetation, trampled meadows, a dizzying network of trails, and reduced levels of solitude.
- The name Alpine Lakes takes its origin from the nearly 700 small mountain lakes nestled like jewels among the high rock peaks and timbered valleys of the region. With nearly 150,000 visitors each year, many with little understanding of wilderness ethics, the Alpine Lakes is hard to manage under the guidelines of the 1964 Wilderness Act . In order to preserve the integrity of the Wilderness it has become necessary to impose restrictions in many areas.
Recreation - The recreational opportunities are plentiful within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Hiking, backpacking, dispersed camping, fishing, horseback riding, and mountain climbing activities are numerous.
Climate - Climate in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area changes drastically with elevation. The area receives a high amount of precipitation. Much of the precipitation comes from October to April in the form of rain at the low elevations and as wet heavy snow in the higher elevations. Deep winter snowpacks accumulate in the high elevations. Although snow is possible in the lowest elevations, it is less frequent. Most years the Wilderness is still buried under 10-20 feet of snow in May. Usually most trails and passes are snow free by mid-August, but this varies from year to year.
Late spring, summer and early autumn tend to bring clear, sunny days with moderate temperatures. Snow and cold rain can occur in midsummer.
The Alpine Lakes Wilderness is located in the rugged Central Cascades region of Washington state and is jointly administered by the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie and Wenatchee National Forest. The Wilderness is primarily located within the Skykomish and North Bend Ranger Districts. The Wilderness can be accessed from the north via U.S. Hwy. 2 off of Forest Roads #6410, #68, #6830, and #6095 and from the south via I-90 off of Forest Roads #0606, #9030 and #144.