Lake of the Angels – 7.5mi / 12.1km
An unbelievably steep trail leads to a stunning alpine lake surrounded by meadows and rocky summits. The trail begins by climbing up alongside the playful Boulder Creek. You pass Carl Putvin’s grave of which the trail is named.
The trail eases some as you traverse the hillside where you’ll have occasional but incredible vantages across the valley to Jefferson Peak and Mt. Pershing. The trail briefly joins an old logging road before turning up and aggressively gaining 1,350ft/450m in less than 1mi/1.6km.
The trail once again eases as it breaks out of the forest into a fantastic bowl. Whitehorse Creek cascades over the rocky headwall in front of you. In order to get above the headwall, you’ll need to climb up using conveniently placed ropes and tree roots. From there, more open meadows and views while ponds dot the landscape as you skirt below aptly named Mt. Stone.
One last climb brings you to the alpine basin where Lake of the Angels sparkles below Mt. Skokomish. Layers of rock have been thrust up into vertical stripes forming the crumbling backdrop.
For a bonus panoramic view, cross the outlet stream to the first campsite. Look for the trail that continues across the meadow and work your way up 300ft/100m to the saddle between Mt. Skokomish and Mt. Stone.
Trailhead: From Hwy 101, just north of Eldon, turn onto the Hamma Hamma Road. Follow it 12 miles, where it becomes NF-25, to the Putvin trailhead.
Elevation Gain: 3,400ft / 1,020m – Elevation Loss: 3,400ft / 1,020m