Scenic USA - Washington

Blanca Lake

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Blanca Lake - Henry M Jackson Wilderness, Washington

Photo by Eric Noel
Eric's Henry Jackson Wilderness Gallery

     The 100,000 acre Henry M. Jackson Wilderness, named for former U.S. Senator Jackson, was created along with seven other wilderness areas in the Okanogan-Wenatchee Forest. Ranging in elevation from 2350 to 7835 feet, this Washington State preserve holds a considerable amount of dense forest, lined with sharp ridged mountain peaks and nearly 30 alpine lakes. With a terrain suggesting Swiss Alps, the wilderness takes up a rugged section of the Cascade Range. While lower elevations are cloaked in a dense mix of deciduous and evergreen trees, the higher elevations give way to a thinner mix of hemlock, Douglas fir and cedar. The Blanca Lake Trail weaves through this forest canopy, and climbs 2700 feet toward one of the preserve's most popular and largest alpine lakes. After a steady climb over multiple switchbacks, the trail then descends to reveal the turquoise waters of Blanca Lake. A milky cast to the water is due to tiny particles of glacial till. The unusual appearance of the lake is quite noticeable from this overhead perch on the trail.
     Henry M. Jackson Wilderness is found just to the northwest of Stevens Pass on U.S. Route 2. One of Washington State's popular scenic byways, this thin ribbon weaves its way across some of the most spectacular scenery in the northwestern reaches of Washington State.

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