Lyman Lakes – Buck Creek loop~ July 20th 2013

The classic 32-mile loop that begins at the Phelps Creek trailhead and travels through Spider Meadows, Spider Gap, Lyman Lakes, Cloudy Pass, Suiattle Pass, Middle Ridge and Buck Creek Pass is often done as a multi-day backpacking trip. But that requires lugging an overnight pack over that whole distance. We thought it would make a great day hike.

It did. Luke Groen, Robin Dittrich and I began early in the morning at the Spider Meadows trailhead. We made quick time to the famed Spider Meadows, and then headed steeply up to Spider Gap. On our descent to the Upper Lyman Lakes basin, I finally broke out my camera.


Robin and Luke taking a break below Spider Gap

 Since we were far ahead of schedule, we spent a couple hours exploring the basin.

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Upper Lyman Lakes Basin

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Upper Lyman Lakes Basin

After exploring, we found a nice perch above Lower Lyman Lake and took a break. The views were decent.

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Lower Lyman Lake and Cloudy Peak

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Lower Lyman Lake

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Lower Lyman Lake

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                              Bonanza Peak

We then continued down to Lower Lyman Lake.

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Lower Lyman Lake framed by Red Mtn. and Chiwawa mtn.

After Lyman Lake, the trail climbs up to Cloudy Pass, where the views were good enough for Robin to start posing.

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From Cloudy Pass, we worked over to Suiattle Pass, and then over to Middle Ridge. There’s an amazing spot about a mile up Middle Ridge from where we were, but time and energy constraints convinced us to save that for another day. So we continued on to Buck Creek Pass, which gave us one last amazing view before the painful, monotonous drudgery of the 10-mile hike back to the trailhead.

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Looking north from near Suiattle Pass

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Glacier Peak from near Suiattle Pass

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Plummer Mtn and Bonanza Peak from Middle Ridge

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Buck Creek Pass

As much fun as loops are, if we had it to do over, we would have stopped at Cloudy Pass and retraced our steps. Much of the last half of the hike was spent hiking through forest. There are still plenty of beautiful views, but the section of trail between Spider Meadows and Cloudy Pass is so spectacular, it is well worth repeating.