4 - 5
FATMAP difficulty grade
If you're looking for a challenging hike with stunning views of mountains and lakes, you might want to try the Rampart and Rachel Lakes trail.
This 9-mile out-and-back trail starts off with a gentle climb through old-growth forest and brushy meadows, crossing several small streams along the way.
But don't let the easy start fool you - the trail soon becomes steep and rocky, with many large step-ups and roots to navigate.
You'll gain 1,600 feet in elevation in just one mile as you make your way up to Rachel Lake, a serene and beautiful destination in itself.
But if you want to see more, you can continue another mile and 600 feet up to Rampart Ridge, where you'll be rewarded with views of multiple alpine lakes nestled among the peaks.
You can explore the area and find a campsite near one of the lakes, or just enjoy a picnic and some photos before heading back down.
This hike isn't for the faint of heart or the unprepared.
Be sure to come with a fully-stocked backpack and plenty of time to reach your objective. Sources: https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/rachel-lake https://www.theoutbound.com/washington/backpacking/take-a-hike-up-to-rampart-lakes https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/trip-reports/trip_report.2022-09-06.4670289646