Lake Ann just after sunset in the North Cascades.

Discover The Best 12 Hikes Near Mazama, Washington

I had never heard of Mazama when I moved to Seattle in 2022. Since then, I’ve learned it’s an adorable little town on the eastern side of the Cascades and home to great hiking, year-round activities, and lovely people. And, this is important, they have the best baguettes in the world.

Just 20 minutes from Washington Pass, Mazama sits in an awesome valley, making it an ideal home base for some of the most popular and stunning hikes in Washington. Inside, we’ll dive into the top Mazama hikes and how you can make a weekend trip to this beautiful region of the state.

The Best Hikes Near Mazama

Maple Pass Loop

Gorgeous views from maple heather pass with lake ann below in the north cascades
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

Oh, Maple Pass. How I love thee!

This is probably the most popular hike in Washington as it offers crazy cool views, is moderately difficult, and has fantastic fall colors. But for those looking to do it in summer, it is just as phenomenal, and the weather will be warmer and the days longer.

Expect plenty of crowds, but the views are more than worth it!

  • Distance: 5-8 miles depending on route
  • Elevation Gain: 1,700-2,300
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Cutthroat Pass via Cutthroat Lake

fall hikes in washington
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

An epic, epic trail. While you can go via the PCT, I think this is best done via Cutthroat Lake as the views are more magnificent – especially during fall. This is probably my favorite of the Mazama hikes in the area and one that is quite mellow.

I should note this is a mountain biking trail, too, so be aware of them as you hike.

  • Distance: 12 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2,500
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Copper Glance Lake

A hiker takes a photo on
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

It’s one of my favorite trails I’ve completed in Washington. The first part goes through a burn zone, and then it drops you off at Copper Glance Lake. I highly recommend it for fall colors, as the entire lake is surrounded by larches.

  • Distance: 6.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2,500 feet
  • Difficulty: Hard

Goat Peak Lookout

If you’re looking for a short but sweet hike near Mazama, Goat Peak Lookout is the one to do. It sits high above a ridgeline, offering magnificent views of the surrounding area. It’s another short and steep hike that Washington is known for.

  • Distance: 3.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,400 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Hard

Grasshopper Pass

Drone views from Gasshopper Pass. It's one of the best Mazama hikes in the area.
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

It’s a phenomenal hike that is probably best for fall colors. You hike southbound on the PCT, soaking in stunning views and peaks along the way. You’ll probably see decent traffic in late summer from hikers completing the PCT.

  • Distance: 9.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1400 feet (roller coaster trail)
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Washington Pass Overlook

A hiker stands near the edge at Washington Pass.
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

Just a quick walk from the parking lot, but you’ll look out over a big valley that Highway 20 cuts through. It’s a great place for lunch or to stretch your legs.

  • Distance: 0.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 100 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy (Paved, with some steps)

Windy Pass

Starting near Harts Pass, this is a long-ish hike that goes north on the PCT. Odds are, you’ll hardly see a soul who isn’t thru-hiking.

  • Distance: 8-12 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,800 feet (roller coaster)
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Hard

Beauty Creek Falls

This is a lovely hike on the Robinson Creek Trail just outside of Mazama. It meanders uphill at a gradual rate until it levels off around the two-mile mark. Most people seem to hike to the bridge which crosses over Beauty Creek.

  • Distance: 6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,000 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Harts Pass (No Hiking Needed)

Harts Pass is a great place for mazama hikes
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

Harts Pass is totally driveable and requires about as little effort as you can find. This area has some nice larches and reds during fall colors. Otherwise, I’m not sure if you need to do much here during the rest of the year.

Harts Pass Campground or Meadows Campground is a great place to camp, with few crowds due to the cruddy road.

  • Distance: 0.5
  • Elevation Gain: None
  • Difficulty: Easy

Slate Peak Lookout

Drone view of Slake Peak and Harts Pass.
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

This one’s super short as well. You park at the base and walk up asphalt, which is for official vehicles only. The Lookout is closed, but you have some pretty awesome views of the Cascades and the PCT. It’s not exactly “nature” because the peak area is totally concrete. That said, if you need an easy sunrise/sunset spot, this is it!

  • Distance: One Mile
  • Elevation Gain: A couple hundred feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate (steep but very short)

Blue Lake

Blue lake in the north cascades is a beautiful trail to tackle near mazama.
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

Another classic North Cascades hike. This one is quite popular but reaches frenzy levels during fall colors as people seek out larches. I did this with my partner during normal summer conditions and loved it. We even saw a bear!

  • Distance: 5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,000
  • Difficulty: Moderate at best

Rendezvous Hut Trail

I haven’t had the chance yet, but the views look great, and it’s not too strenuous of a trail.

  • Distance: 7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1400 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Kangaroo Pass

Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

I haven’t done it yet, but it is supposed to have larches high up. This isn’t an official trail and is used primarily for climbers, so you’ll need to use some route finding and be careful as you hike around here.

  • Distance: 4 miles
  • Elevation Gain: ~1,500 feet
  • Difficulty: Hard

The Best Time to Visit Mazama, Washington


Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

Welcome to paradise! This area of Washington is chock-full of incredible views, awesome hiking, and fewer crowds than on the western side of the Cascades. As I explore more of this area, I’m finding it has risen to the top of my adventure list.

This area also melts out faster, so if you’re looking for solid hikes, head over the pass and check out the Mazama hikes.

It’s a 3.5-hour drive from Seattle if you don’t have traffic issues.


Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

Epic doesn’t fully capture what you get in the fall! For whatever reason, the broader Mazama area has some of the top larch hikes in Washington. Check out Grasshopper Pass, Slate Peak, Maple Pass, Cutthroat Pass, Copper Glance Lake, and others for stunning photography and hiking views.


Spring here is a time of melting out, but you’ll still have snow into late March and April. Access really opens up once Washington Pass is cleared, giving you access to these great Mazama hikes and sights.


Winter in Mazama is supposedly unbelievably amazing, with hundreds of miles of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing opportunities. I haven’t been yet, but I have heard from plenty of people how awesome it is.

Unfortunately, it’s a haul to get here because Highway 20 closes at Ross Lake each winter. Due to this, you have to go a long way around, first taking I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass, then making your way past Lake Chelan and Winthrop before reaching Mazama. Google Maps says this is a 4.5-hour drive.

Lastly, when you visit, be prepared for frigid temperatures. While it’s not tremendously high in elevation, this area can see temperatures in the teens for much of winter.

Where to Stay Near Mazama

Nestled in the scenic Methow Valley, Mazama, Washington, offers a serene escape surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty. Visitors can find a variety of accommodation options, from cozy cabins and rustic lodges to charming bed and breakfasts.

Near the stunning North Cascades National Park, Mazama provides the perfect base for your outdoor adventures or peaceful retreat.

Campgrounds Near the Mazama Hikes

  • Lone Fir Campground
  • Klipchuck Campground
  • Early Winters Campground
  • Meadows Campground
  • Ballard Campground
  • River Bend Campground
  • Honeymoon Campground
a hike looks off at the distance on a hike
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

The Mazama Store

I’d be doing a disservice to you all if I didn’t tell you about the Mazama Store and their baguettes. I’m not sure what drugs they put in it, but it is the best bread in the world. It’s salty, buttery, and holy moly delicious. So, before or after your Mazama hike, stop in and grab a baguette before they’re gone!

Tips for Mazma Hikes

Be hiking prepared

Have the right clothes and gear to prepare for your hikes. Here’s my go-to list of what to pack for a hike.

  • 20-30L backpack
  • Sunhoodie
  • Hiking Pants or Shorts
  • 2-3L of water and snacks
  • Hiking Boots or Trail Runners

Download Maps Offline for Your Mazama Hikes

The cell service in this area isn’t great, so I recommend downloading your maps and hiking trails offline. This will save you some headaches when traveling. A lot of the Mazama hikes can be in areas with slow or zero data.


Because the North Cascades are mostly uninhabited, officials usually let it burn at its own pace when there is a wildfire instead of actively fighting it. Because of this, the area can be incredibly smoky. Furthermore, smoke can drift down from Canada, making the area pretty miserable.

That said, I have also driven through the Ross Lake area with almost no visibility, and then once we got to Washington Pass, our air was clear. For a weird reason, the east side of the Cascades can sometimes be a bubble of fresh air that makes hiking doable, while the rest of the area is terrible.

Fall Colors Can be Insane

Washington hikers love their fall colors, and the Mazama hikes are some of their favorites. Due to this, it can get ridiculously crowded, especially on the weekends. When you plan your hikes, either show up super early or come later in the day to find reasonable parking.

one of my favorite mazama hikes, cutthroat pass offers epic views
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

Where is Mazama?

Nestled amidst the rugged grandeur of the North Cascades lies Mazama, a remote town that serves as a haven for outdoor enthusiasts seeking communion with nature’s wild majesty. In the Methow Valley of Washington State, the call of the wild echoes through the towering pines and crystal streams.

For those who revel in the challenge of the trail, Mazama is an explorer’s paradise. With its network of winding paths leading through untamed forests and up formidable peaks, it beckons the intrepid adventurer to push their limits and embrace the raw beauty of the wilderness.

Here, amidst the whispering of trees and the rush of mountain torrents, one can find solace and inspiration in equal measure. From the serene meanders of the Methow River to the heights of nearby summits, every step taken in Mazama is a testament to the indomitable spirit of those who seek to conquer the untamed landscape.

Final Thoughts on Mazama Hikes

Whether you’re here for a long day or a weekend, you’ll have a fantastic time exploring the hikes around Mazama. No matter the time or place, the landscape and scenery will blow you away, and you’ll be thinking about the next time you can check out these Mazama hikes.

Happy trails!

Until next time, adventurers, take care and be safe.

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Author: Alec Sills-Trausch

Title: Founder of Explore with Alec

Expertise: Hiking, Backpacking, Photography, and Road Trips

Alec Sills-Trausch is a hiker, backpacker, landscape photographer, and syndicated travel writer. He enjoys showing off the beauty of the world through his photos, videos, and written work on Alec is also a 2x cancer survivor and bone marrow transplant recipient, showing the world that there is a future from this terrible disease.

He lives in Washington, where he gets to enjoy the stunning PNW mountains in addition to all the other places he attempts to visit each year! You can see more work on IG at @AlecOutside