Maple Pass Loop with a 2-year Old
I decided to check out the lake so we headed on the spur trail. It is basically level all the way to the lake and there are some well used trails that lead in either direct. On the east side of the lake, just across the outlet stream, I found to the best spot for a photo.
Back on the main trail, we soon hiked out of the trees and the going got hot! Looking down on Lake Ann on the way up to Heather Pass, I decided that I wish I had not taken the small detour. The views get better and nearly the whole loop can be seen from this area.
Heather Pass is loaded with Larches and they were all turning yellow. Though there were great views on the spur trail here, I felt that the views were nearly the same just a couple of switchbacks up the main trail.
Climbing up from Heather Pass, the trail seemed a bit steeper and we eventually gained a ridge top. We could now see to the south and there was a sign marking the North Cascades National Park. Reggie was very hungry so I picked out a "perfect" spot for us to sit down and eat our lunches.
After eating lunch, Reggie climbed the final ascent to Maple Pass. It seemed to be the steepest part of the trail on this side of the pass and she did great. It was nice to have the extra weight off my back for sure.
Maple Pass gives unobstructed views to the north, west, and south. I think most passes give off more obstructed views. I think I would call it Maple Saddle maybe, but either way, it was stunning!
I loaded Reggie back up and started down the other side. At the first switchback, there is an amazing ridge and Lake Ann is below the other side. After about a half of a mile, still following the ridge, the trail enters the forest. Though the way offered us views down onto Rainy Lake, it seemed to be very steep in spots.
The next time I do this trail, I will hike the Lake Ann side all the way up and turn around to capture the best views again. There were so many peaks, lakes and fall colors on this adventure.