There are not many trails that offer as many features as Maple Pass Trail, and it’s certainly something that attracts many hikers. The trail is located in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest near Stehekin, Washington. It’s a loop trail with a total distance of 11.7 kilometers and an elevation gain of 665 m.
Even though the trail is popular for its mesmerizing fall colors and the lake, it offers a bit of everything. Whatever a hiker desires from a trail, hiking this trail can fulfill all those desires. The trail is rated as difficult, and dogs are allowed if kept on a leash.
The trail is easy to access, probably one of the reasons why so many people hike it, but, easy access doesn’t mean it’s an easy hike. The hike begins from the Rainy Lake picnic area, where you will see a large parking lot. There are vault toilets as well. You will be required to get a National Forest Pass, for which you have to pay a fee. Make sure to bring a pen, so you can fill the pass. You don’t need to get this pass if you have an America the Beautiful Pass.
You can hike the trail in either direction, but we suggest hiking in the counter-clockwise direction. It would be a gentle climb to Maple Pass, and you will get great views of Ann Lake and the North Cascades.
Your hike would begin from the west side of the parking lot and you have to follow the signs to the Rainy Lake. For the first 1.23 miles of the trail, you would be climbing slowly, and reach the spur trail to Ann Lake. You can take a detour if you want.
The trail continues to climb, and once you are able to see through the trees, you will see why this trail is very popular. You will get an amazing view over Ann Lake. From there, you have to continue towards Heather Pass, where you can see wildflowers in abundance. You have to hike along the rim and soon you will reach Maple Pass. The trail descends from there, taking you back to the Rainy Lake picnic area.