9.8 mi rt
gain: 2216 ft
gpx track, use at your own risk: Ingalls
Sandra had been wanting to go to Ingalls and it just happens that so did I! We went up on a Monday as a very long day trip due partially to the traffic we encountered on the way south on 405 in the morning…day one of the new toll lanes. It was not pretty and I want to thank Sandra for driving through this mess with grace and patience.
Lake Ingalls is down in the Teanaway, outside of Cle Elum. There are tons of great hikes/scrambles there, I have already shared my hikes to Earl and Iron. The last several miles to the trailhead is on washboardy, gravelly road but Sandra’s car did just fine.
This is a very popular hike and the parking area (N47 26.204 W120 56.214) accommodates; there are picinic tables and pit toilets. Even on a Monday there were several cars already when we got there.
At the entrance to the trail there is a sign warning that the goats are habituated and that is no joke. There was a mama and baby goat at the camping area munching on veg and like honey badger they did not care that there were humans around at all. We were standing a little bit of a distance from them and they just turned our way and walked about 10 feet in front of us. We saw two more goats at the lake, about 6 more on a hillside on the way back to the camping area and then a mama and two babies partway back to the parking area. None, not a one cared. It was cool to see them but really sad as well; you know that if a human gets injured there will be no hesitation to kill the goat responsible. There was even a guy at the lake and it appeared like he was both feeding them and touching them. grrrrrrr.
The trail starts going up right out of the gate but there are enough long switchbacks that it doesn’t seem to bad. The views also start right out of the gate and only get better as you go. For about three miles the trail is pretty exposed so I can imagine it can get hot during the summer months.
After the climb up the trail comes to the wilderness area and a saddle/pass and from here is your first views of Stuart and here is where the larches started to appear. We both were excited to see the changing of the color of the needles on the larches and they did not disappoint (larches are a deciduous conifer that only grows at high elevations), brilliant.
From the pass the trail drops down just a little and enters the camping area were the goats were. There were a few tents set up and I was envious. There is water here that appears to be a year round source and I believe there is a pit toilet as well, all in all this looked like a great place to call home for a night.
After leaving the camping area, the trail travels along a hillside. There is a boulder field area near the beginning but it is only a short distance. It is easy to lose the trail here but since it is only a hundred feet or so the trail on the other side is easy to pick back up. There were also alternative trails here and there but they all wind up at the same place so pick the one you want.
Right before the saddle that takes you to the lake, there is a short distance where you have an opportunity to do a steep up area where you may have to use your hands lightly, no big deal though…I wouldn’t even classify it as a scramble.
The lake does not come into view until you get up to the saddle and then wowsy wowser. It is as blue as can be and bigger than I expected. We went over to onside and had lunch enjoying the views.
This was an excellent hike, I highly suggest going during the larch changing season.