Scatter Lake — Golden larch lake high on 8,321-foot Abernathy Peak

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Abernathy Peak provides a stunning backdrop to Scatter Lake.

Quick Facts:

Location: Twisp River Valley

Land Agency: Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest

Roundtrip: 8.5 miles

Elevation gain: 3,800 feet

Green Trails Map: Stehekin, WA – No 82

Contact:  Methow Valley Ranger District: Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest  

Notes: NW Forest Pass or Interagency Pass required

Access: From Twisp, follow Twisp River Road west for 21.8 miles to trailhead (road becomes FR 44 at 10.8 miles).

Good to Know: Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness, exceptional autumn colors; dog-friendly, Practice Leave No Trace Principles

In an area of supreme larch hikes, Scatter Lake ranks among the best of them. Start your hike by warming-up on the Twisp River Trail. After immediately encountering a junction, bear left.  Soon afterwards reach another junction. Turn right here. The first mile or so is easy climbing gradually out of the Twisp River Valley through an open forest of fir and pine.

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A hiker explores Scatter’s lakeshore.

The gentle grade however becomes a thing of the past once Scatter Creek is encountered. On a bank high above the chattering creek the trail changes direction and course. Heading now straight-up the narrow creek canyon, elevation is rapidly gained. Soon enter the Lake-Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness Area, a 145,000-acre protected band of high peaks, alpine lakes, unbroken forest and some prime Lake Chelan shoreline as well.

Switchbacks grow tighter. The trail gets steeper. Forest begins to open up and meadows appear. Scatter Creek is soon crossed. Switchbacks fade from existence as the trail gets even steeper. At about 3.5 miles reach a delightful meadow in a small basin. You’re almost there. On steep slopes matted with blueberry bushes and punctuated with tenacious white-bark pines, sub-alpine fir and larches, the trail makes its last climb to the lake.

Rising above a small cascade, the trail enters a beautiful cirque beneath the 8,321-foot summit of Abernathy Peak. Within this high basin find the larch-ringed tarn, Scatter Lake. Soak feet (if you dare), soothe your soul, or just stare up at the barren slopes sliding into the lake. And of course rejoice in the beauty of the golden larches reflecting in the lake’s sparkling waters.

Scatter Lake is one of 125 great hikes in my best selling Day Hiking North Cascades Book. 

Get your copy today!

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