4,859 ft
490 ft
-367 ft
3,834 ft
High Point

Independence Lake Details

  • Activities
    • Hike
    • Trail Running
  • Riding Area
  • Difficulty Rating
  • Hiking SAC Scale
    T2 Mountain Hiking
  • Trail Type
  • Direction
    Both Directions
  • Physical Rating
  • Trail Visibility
    Always easy to follow
  • Season
  • Family Friendly
  • Dogs Allowed
  • eBike Allowed
  • Global Ranking
    #54126 in Hiking
  • Local Popularity
    5 in Hiking [+]
    • 5 in Trail Running
  • Land Owner

This destination is all about the search for solitude in the often crazy and busy South Fork Stillaguamish River valley. The trail leads to not one, but two alpine lakes. The first, Independence, is less than a mile-long hike and makes for a great first backpack for kids. The second, more difficult to reach, is North Lake, an additional 2.2 miles up the trail.

The trail starts off with a series of short switchbacks in an old clearcut before turning gentle and meandering off into old-growth forest. The trail from here to Independence is short but rough with plenty of large roots, rock and mud to navigate as well as a few unnecessary and steep downs and ups. However, these bumps will soon be forgotten when you start glimpsing the lake. The magically blue lake sits in a steep and rugged little basin, its varied shoreline ripe for exploring.

The trail continues high above the water along the west side of the lake before descending to a marshy meadow at the north end. You can stop here or continue onto North Lake. The path to North Lake begins to switchback steeply to the northeast. You’ll know you are on the right track when you come upon the immense double-trunked Alaskan yellow cedar. It’s hard to walk by without pausing to ponder the tree, while you take a drink of water.

About a mile past Independence Lake, the first of several ridges is reached with views of Mount Baker and Three Fingers. Continue on past several tarns before reaching a second ridge with views of Glacier Peak. North Lake can be glimpsed in a basin 700 feet below.

Access Info

From the Verlot Public Service Center (11 miles east of Granite Falls), travel east on the Mountain Loop Highway 15.0 miles. Turn left (north) on the Coal Lake Road #4060 and continue 4.8 miles to the trailhead at the end of the road.


Northwest Forest Pass Required

Traditionally Indigenous Territory
More Stats for Independence Lake hike trail trail
  • Altitude change
    124 ft
  • Altitude min
    3,549 ft
  • Altitude start
    3,596 ft
  • Altitude end
    3,720 ft
  • Grade
  • Grade max
  • Grade min
  • Distance climb
    2,999 ft
  • Distance down
    1,598 ft
  • Distance flat
    144 ft
  • Avg reverse time
  • view trail stats
Avg: 4 (1 votes)
Your vote: 0

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Trail Conditions
  • Unknown
  • Snow Groomed
  • Snow Packed
  • Snow Covered
  • Snow Cover Partial
  • Freeze/thaw Cycle
  • Icy
  • Prevalent Mud
  • Wet
  • Variable
  • Ideal
  • Dry
  • Very Dry
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      Directions to independence-lake trailhead (48.116980, -121.522510)
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      Independence Lake Trail Reports

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      Recent Ridelog Activity on Trail

      Past Week
      • 0 rides
      6 Months
      • 0 rides
      • 2 rides


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      Routes with this trail

      Independence and North Lakes6 miles

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      • By boxxerace TRAILFORKS EMBA & contributors
      • #317059 - 385 views

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