• Aaron

#67 Gothic Basin

Gothic Basin will kick your butt. An old miners' path, it begins with a deceptively gentle slope that quickly increases until you're huffing and puffing. The trail gets you where you're going (up up up) in a no-nonsense fashion. The first lake you come across, Thompson Lake, lays in a tiny valley surrounded by sculpted boulders and alpine vegetation. Beyond that, the much larger Foggy Lake beckons with crystal clear, ice cold depths. The rocks surrounding Foggy Lake make it look like a sculpted cathedral, likely where the destination gets its name.

Distance: 9 miles | GPS: N 48 01.567, W 121 26.550

Elevation Gain: 2,900 ft | Peak: 5,200 ft

Central Cascades | My Hiking Master Post

Foggy Lake

Be aware - this is a very popular trail! You won't get wildlife or solitude on this hike. Also, remember to mask up to help take care of others! A lot of hikers aren't masking and portions of this trail do not allow for social distancing when passing! In fact, lots of the trail is super narrow and there are a few ledges. We came across some trail runners who insisted they had right-away on a narrow ledge that didn't allow for passing. If you see someone has already started across a narrow ledge (whether going up or down), wait for them to finish traversing before starting across. Safe passing on narrow regions of the trail is crucial - even if you have to pause in your trail run!

So many tents!!!

Ascending, there are a few scrambles but, otherwise, it's fairly straightforward hiking. We camped at Thompson Lake, which is nestled in an alpine valley. This was an incredibly popular campsite and there were probably 15 other tents. The next morning, we climbed up to Foggy Lake to enjoy the much larger alpine lake! This required another scramble but was also fairly straightforward.

I advise getting to this hike early. The road was passable for all vehicles but the parking lot was nearly full when we got there - despite the fact that we arrived super early. You probably wouldn't need to camp at the trail-head the night before but, if you plan on doing this one, consider an early arrival time or a weekday trip.

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