Overnight Backpack to Louis Lake, Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness

May 3, 2018

Hello all

A few weekends ago I was able to spot a lake that thawed out through my subscription to weekly high res sat images. It happened to be Louis Lake in the Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness. Thunderstorms in the forecast for saturday but clear skies for sunday. Luckily the weather turned out to be pretty good minus a rain shower here and there on saturday.

The hike is only about 5 miles and ~2200 feet of gain. Good for an early mountain trip in mid-june. The snow on the cascade eastern crest as per usual is retreating faster than the west side which still has considerable pack as I'm typing this now, let alone back in mid-june.

No bugs! Yet...

The trail started in a quarter full lot and a ford ranger pulled up next to us driven by a guy named Sydney. Sydney liked to talk a lot but in a good way. This guy live a heck of a life. He at the moment is working for the government but in the past has worked for 5 national parks. Denali, Yellowstone, North Cascades, Zion and Grand Canyon. We said our farewells and off we went. I'm not going to lie, at first I thought he was scoping out our vehicle to jack my new rims on the truck (he wasn't I just have trust issues).

First 2 miles are on the valley floor and the last 3 ascent the 2200 feet to the lake.

When we got to the lake the wilderness experience went bye-bye. As all 6 of the (at the time we thought) camp spots were taken. We wandered around looking for a spot before crossing a stream into the burn area and walked toward the end where the burn stopped. Thankfully we found the last spot! It was the best spot too, it actually had a view of the lake and mountains 20 feet from camp. The others needed 60+ foot walk to get a view, plus you were on top of other campers. Bush whacking around the lack I also snapped one of the fishing poles in half as it isn't really a backcountry pole and doesn't break down small enough so it snagged on a branch.

Lacey fished. I explored (including the upper basin which was epic) and we had a great fire. Awesome lake would definitley return. Maybe not this year though.


Our hike up from the valley looking back toward where we came from.

Brown peak is Abernathy which on the other side has an awesome lake called Seatter or (Scatter) via Scatter Creek TH.

We are plateauing we must be close to the lake!

Louis Lake! Our CG is off to the left!

View from our camp.

View from the other direction

Lacey fishing. Didn't catch crap.

Scrambling up off-trail to the Upper Basin

Upper Basin waterfall

Upper basin lake. Doesn't have a name but we'll call it Upper Louis Lake

Good campfire

Was too cloudy at night for night sky shots or stargazing. Too cloudy for sunrise / sunset as well.


Because I am able.
Dec 31, 2017
Stunning! Thanks for sharing. Looks like an awesome fire. :)


I ❤️ GYE
May 31, 2015
Amazing shots, as always. Love seeing your reports because they're always from places that are way off my radar.
Feb 15, 2018
This is my new knack of the woods as of a little over a year ago. So much to explore. It is weird how some lakes can have a million people, then there are days like today where I hiked into a basin in the Boulders, just across from the Sawtooths and didn't see a single person for 10 miles. Cool video and great shots!
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
pixie1339 Invite Overnight backpack in Zion, May 3-4 Meet Up (Members Only) 114
Wanderlust073 A winter overnight Backpacking 4
P Overnight at Ice Lake, Yellowstone Backpacking 4
GramaNana Newbie Overnight with REI gear - Farmington, Utah May 2021 Hiking & Camping 12
M Overnight Backpacking Indian Peaks Wilderness or Similar Trip Planning 13
Outdoor_Fool Overnight in the Talkeetnas Backpacking 8
NECoastalHykur Ketchum Run Overnight - Loyalsock Trail - Pennsylvania - 2020 September 26 Hiking & Camping 6
wsp_scott Overnight bike trip with a 7 year old Backpacking 1
Miya First Overnight Snow Trip...Finally Hiking & Camping 20
Perry My First Overnight Ski Touring Adventure Winter Sports 3
P June Lamar overnight Backpacking 1
Wanderlust073 McCurdy Mountain 6/29 overnight Meet Up (Members Only) 2
R First overnight backpacking trip in Utah in the next coupke of weeks Trip Planning 3
Yvonne Overnight Trip to Yant Flats Hiking & Camping 8
balzaccom Saddlebag Lake overnight Backpacking 0
Shirt357 Overnight to Odessa Lake - RMNP Backpacking 4
P Yellowstone Ice Lake overnight Backpacking 6
Wanderlust073 South Colony Lakes overnight Backpacking 9
P Quick Yellowstone overnight, Rescue Creek Backpacking 21
Outdoors24 Overnight in Capitol Reef: A trip that ended early Backpacking 12
Outdoors24 Overnight in Lower Spring Canyon Backpacking 5
Wanderlust073 Fish and Owl Canyons overnight Backpacking 24
Skiwi An overnight at Lake Blanche in fall Backpacking 2
Wanderlust073 Upper Willow Lake overnight - Eagles Nest Wilderness Backpacking 4
b.stark Sangre de Cristo Overnight Backpacking 4
Wanderlust073 Bison Peak overnight - Lost Creek Wilderness, CO Backpacking 5
N Which High Uintas overnight hike? Trip Planning 2
hamtron5000 Big Dominguez Canyon Overnight Backpacking 0
Craiger Overnight parking in Needles backcountry Trip Planning 1
kimbur96 First Solo overnight, Navigation Trail, Upper Priest River, Northern Idaho Backpacking 10
S Overnight camping trip in MD/VA/WV Trip Planning 3
muir_mountain Austin Peak Overnight: July 2015 Backpacking 8
kimbur96 Overnight at Jonathan Dickinson SP Backpacking 5
kimbur96 Tell me about your first solo overnight trip General Discussion 2
N Need advice for a overnight trip Trip Planning 9
uintahiker Overnight in a Fire Lookout Tower Trip Planning 8
Duke GTNP: Climbers Stranded Overnight in Stettner Couloir Suffer Hypothermia, Prompt Rescue General Discussion 2
AllNightAz First official hike and overnight 3-4 day camp trip Noobs: Introduce yourself! 2
Sarah Quick Overnight Advice? Trip Planning 3
Outdoors24 Ashdown Gorge Overnight Hike Backpacking 5
F Short Overnight hikes near Salt Lake City Trip Planning 2
N Overnight or 2 night trip in New Orleans area (or any part of LA) Trip Planning 5
natylka Overnight Camping, Hiking and Climbing at Ruth Lake-August 2014 Hiking & Camping 2
Ben Sawtooths overnight, november 2013 Backpacking 2
F Overnight trip on AT, port Clinton to pinnacle Trip Planning 0
F Little Death Hollow Backpack Trip Planning 2
F Upper Escalante River Backpack conditions Trip Planning 6
C Grand Gulch Cedar Mesa Utah 11 Day Backpack October 2022 Backpacking 10
Ugly A Washington Backpack and some driving Backpacking 14
BJett Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area Packraft/Backpack Loop (TN) Backpacking 6

Similar threads

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.