North Cascades National Park

Monogram Lake Trail

Summary
The Monogram Lake Trail is a steep (3600' elevation gain in 4.9 miles or 1100 m in 7.9 km) scenic day hike or overnight backpack to a small cirque lake ringed by glaciated peaks and subalpine meadows. A side trip (1.9 miles or 3 km) may be taken through subalpine meadows to a historic US Forest Service lookout station on Lookout Mountain.

Access
Drive the Cascade River Road 7 miles (11 km) from State Route 20 at Marblemount. Look for a hiking trail sign on the right side of the road between Lookout and Monogram Creeks. Find a parking pullout to the right. The required Northwest Forest Pass can be obtained at any ranger station.

A Steep Hike
The trail climbs steeply, switchbacking up a forested ridge between the two creeks, at one point briefly breaking into an avalanche opening with lush growth including false hellebore and stinging nettles (often overhanging the trail). While digging out the gaiters, look back for views of Eldorado Pk. The junction is at 2.8 miles (4.5 km). The left branch leads to Lookout Mt. and the right 2.1 miles (3.4 km) to Monogram Lake. The Monogram Lake Trail enters North Cascades National Park and soon opens into subalpine meadows, climbs to a 5400' (1650 m) ridge, and descends to the 4900' (1490 m) tarn lake.

A High Lake
Monogram Lake usually is frozen until July. It is one of many small, jewel-like high lakes scattered throughout the North Cascade Mountains, legacies of past alpine glaciation. Most of the lakes are naturally fish-free due to their high elevation, deep freezing, and lack of spawning beds. Some, including Monogram, have been artificially stocked. Introduced fish greatly change the chemistry and biology of otherwise pristine lakes. Activities associated with fishing and camping around these high lakes can cause serious degradation. Please follow regulations and tread lightly on these delicate and beautiful places!

Subalpine Community
Monogram Lake is the hub of a subalpine community including plants such as pink mountain heather, huckleberry, glacier lilies, and animals such as black bear, blacktail deer, and a multitude of insects, birds, and small mammals. All the residents fit into a interdependent web which can easily be upset by human influences. Please store food securely and tread lightly.

Camping
Camping is allowed only in the designated campsites available near the shore of Monogram Lake, or in the cross country zone one mile away. Fires are not permitted in these subalpine areas. A composting toilet is available near the designated campsites.

Permits/Information
Pets and firearms are prohibited in the National Park. Be sure to stop at the Wilderness Information Center in Marblemount (360-873-4500 ext. 39). A permit (no charge) is required for all overnight stays in the backcountry. Washington State fishing regulations apply. Rangers have maps and current information to assist you in planning a safe, fun trip.

   

 

 

For Additional Information Contact:

North Cascades National Park
2105 State Route 20
Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284-9394
(360) 856-5700

 

For more information visit the National Park Service website