Come summer, people in the Evergreen State aren't just chasing waterfalls and beaches. Thanks to so many strewn across the state, they're also on the lookout for the best lakes in Washington to visit. While it's not impossible to find Caribbean-esque blue waters and crystal clear ponds to dive right in, what we've found is perhaps the greenest of them all!
A true gem in the Cascade Mountains, Blanca Lake is located in the Henry M. Jackson Wilderness Area.
Its bright turquoise green-colored waters are fed directly by the Columbia glacier and honestly, it looks like a massive Cool Blue Gatorade spill. You'll have to see it to believe it!
Access to the basin requires a $5/day Northwest Forest Pass. From there, it's a 7.5-mile roundtrip hike through old-growth trees, mossy forests and Fir trees.
It consists of 37 steep switchbacks and an elevation of 2,700 feet, making this a difficult trail to conquer, but also the most rewarding.
Although this is a dog-friendly trail, it's good to note that it's steep through-and-through — you'll also run into a rock wall that needs a little bit of scrambling to the top. So we recommend wearing your best traction shoes.
Since the rain turns this spot into a bog filled with frogs and salamanders and it's snow-covered in the winter, summer and fall are the best times to undertake this rewarding adventure.
You'll not only get breathtaking views of lofty peaks like the snow-covered Monte Cristo, Kyes and Columbia on a clear day, but you'll also be led to meadows of wildflowers like the lupine and huckleberries where you can camp out for a weekend in the mountains!
The path will also lead you to the clear waters of Virgin Lake, a great spot to catch your breath before proceeding another 0.5 miles to take in the majesty of the greenest lake ever.
The minerals from the mountains framing it slide into the loch, giving it its emerald shades.
Here, you'll be invited to a spectacular scenery complete with driftwood on the shores where people dip their feet into the cool waters.
There are also cliffs nearby for your diving and canon-balling needs. But be warned, the waters are icy-cold.
They are fed by icebergs after all!
If you don't mind your summer filled with awe-inspiring vistas, envious photos, and swimming in waters created by actual glaciers, this is one adventure we'd put right on top of our bucket list.
Length: Approx. 7.5-miles roundtrip
Address: Gold Bar, WA
Why You Need To Go: This rewarding hike will take you to the greenest lake + let you swim in its glacier-fed waters!
We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.