Surrounded by wildflowers and lush greenery, Rachel Lake is situated in Kittitas County, near Easton, Washington, about a 1.5-hour drive from Seattle. The popular lake with an elevation 1,422 m (4,665 ft) is part of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness featuring unique old-growth forests, waterfalls, and 360-degree mountain views. After visiting Rachel Lake, hikers can continue walking to Rampart and Lila Lakes as well as climb Alta Peak. The area is especially gorgeous in early fall when leaves start to turn yellow and red.
Rachel Lake can be reached by an 11-km (6.8 mi) out-and-back trail that is best from June through November. The trail is quite steep and hikers have to cross many small streams as well as crossing Canyon Creek. The trail goes through Box Canyon, fir and hemlock forests, and alpine meadows. From the lake, hikers can continue climbing to Rampart Ridge for better views and then walk an extra mile to Rampart Lakes.
The area is rich in huckleberry, salmonberry, sword ferns, and devil's club. There are several campsites near Rachel Lake so it can be a great two-day hike or a one-day adventure. The path can be pretty busy in the summer months, so it's best to come during weekdays or in early fall when kids are back to school.