The Hidden Lakes are the jewels of the Pasayten Wilderness. As the name suggests, the lakes are tucked away deep in the Wilderness and offer hikers the opportunity to fish, swim, and relax after the taxing hike up. A series of four named lakes, Cougar Lake, First Hidden Lake, Middle Hidden Lake, and Big Hidden Lake are a popular destination for backpackers in the summer. There is a cabin nestled in the trees near First Hidden Lake.
As you drive to the Billy Goat Trailhead, the road is covered in potholes, so exercise caution when driving on the paved and gravel portions of the road. Along the road, there are four campgrounds, one of which supplies potable water. It is a great opportunity to rest up by car camping the night before or after a long backpacking trip.
Begin the trek from the Billy Goat Trailhead. You will shortly come to a junction where you will follow the trail to the left towards Eightmile Pass. Follow this trail for 4 miles, gaining elevation steadily. After this, there is another junction after crossing the Drake River which connects to the Larch Creek trail. If this is your destination, head right. To reach the lakes, you have two options to the left. According to the Green Trails Map, there are two trails that lead to Lucky Pass. One, the farthest left, is an unmaintained trail and has mostly disappeared by now. The better bet is to stay slightly to the right and travel the 1.4 miles of switchbacks to Lucky Pass.
After Lucky Pass, the trail continues along the ridge line. Cross Diamond Creek after 3.8 miles, enjoy views of Island Mountain on the right, and eventually reach the first lake, Cougar Lake. Here, there is a large camping area with room for many tents. Partake in some fishing and hope to catch a rainbow trout. From there, continue another 1.5 miles to the southern tip of the next lake. From here, the rest of the lakes are next to each other. At this point, there is a junction that leads down the Monument Creek trail to the left. Continue straight to reach the rest of the lakes.
Between First Hidden Lake and Middle Hidden Lake, there is a junction to turn right onto the Stub Creek trail as well as two cabins from the 1950's. Between Middle Hidden Lake and Big Hidden Lake, the junction to the Tatoosh Buttes trail branches off to the left. The Hidden Lakes trail continues along the east side of Big Hidden Lake until it joins the East Fork Pasayten River trail.
Throughout the hike, wildflowers are abundant in the summer. You will walk through recently burned forest and might happen upon deer, grouse, rabbits, and chipmunks. This hike is an excellent options for hikers looking for a longer backpack with plenty of opportunity to try new things and explore new places.
This trail is part of WTA's Lost Trails Campaign. Learn more about how we're saving lost trails across the state here.