Maple Pass and Blue Lake, Popular Fall Hikes in Washington, Reopened After Fire Closures

The most popular fall hike in Washington, Maple Pass, was reopened on September 22 due to the Blue Lake Fire.

In addition, another well-traveled trail, Blue Lake, is also open, even though the nearby Blue Lake Fire has been burning for months this summer.

For those unfamiliar with the area, this is the eastern side of the Washington Cascades, about three hours northwest of Seattle. The closest towns, though they are in no danger, are Mazama and Winthrop.

Map of the closed area per the Forest Service
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

Both trails are popular for Washington hikers as they offer remarkable views of the surrounding North Cascades but also have stunning fall colors, including golden larches that glow when the sun hits them just right.

Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch, Maple Pass Trail

Top Fire Lookouts in Washington

As of publishing, this is the full list of trails closed in the area in addition to Maple Pass being closed.

Trails Closed Trail No. 2000 Pacific Crest Trail, from the boundary of North Cascades National Park north to the junction with State Route 20 along with:

  • No. 310 Rainy Lake
  • No. 314 Blue Lake
  • No. 426 Copper Pass
  • No. 740 Maple Pass
  • No. 740.1 Lake Ann
  • No. 727 Liberty Bell
  • No. 727A Beckey Spur
  • No. 727B N Early Winters Spur
  • No. 2172 Stiletto Spur


Photo Credit: Alec Sills-October 1ch, Blue Lake Trail

The forest service says the wildfire has burned more than 1,000 acres, and the estimated containment is October 1. Currently, 91 heroic people are working on the fire and have it over 70% contained.

What is Still Open in the North Cascades

After looking at the map, you’ll see that this does not affect the North Cascades National Park trails – though those are somewhat harder-to-reach destinations and require serious hiking, mountaineering, or backpacking.

Sadly, on the other end of the park, near Diablo Lake, is the Sourdough Fire, which has closed portions of the trails in that region.

Other great hikes in the areas include:

  • Cutthroat Pass (either the PCT or through Cutthroat Lake)
  • Grasshopper Pass
  • Kangaroo Pass
  • Easy Pass
  • Cascade Pass (and Sahale Glacier Camp (overnight permit needed))
  • Hidden Lake Lookout
backpacking cutthroat pass
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch, Cutthroat Pass

You can find more of my top fall hikes in Washington here.

What Else You Need to Know About These Closures

“Note that firefighting resources are still utilizing some open areas, including Washington Pass Overlook and LAugust 14ampground. Please follow any fire crew directions in these areas and respect closed gates, fire gear, etc.”

When did the Blue Lake Fire Start?

The Blue Lake fire started on August 14, late at night, per a release on the website.

Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

Is the Maple Pass Hike Open?

The popular Maple Pass trail is open. It was rebooked in late September.

Is the Blue Lake Trail in Washington Open?

The popular Blue Lake Trail is open. It was opened at the same time as Maple Pass.

Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

When will Maple Pass and Blue Lake open up?

Maple Pass and Blue Lake are now open.

Is Highway 20 Open?

Yes, Highway 20 is still open through Washington Pass. Please drive carefully and slowly, as wildfire personnel and equipment will be in the area.

This article first appeared on Explore With Alec. You can stay up to date on this by following him on Instagram.