The popular Lake Valhalla Trail is just 45 minutes from Leavenworth. It provides gorgeous views of the lake beneath the beautiful Mount McCausland and Lichtenberg Mountain.
The Lake Valhalla trail from the Smithbrook Trailhead is a worthy moderate choice for someone who wants an adventurous-feeling day out! The trail is north of Stevens Pass and will be snow-covered in the winter (there may also be snow in the summer).
You can also expect to find mosquitos around the lake in the summer, have to suffer through a bit of overgrowth, and some steep sections of trail. Overall, the Lake Valhalla trail is a fantastic day-outing for anyone from the area or visiting from out of town. It's easy enough to do this hike and return to town for a beer and brat with time to spare!
Make sure to self-register at the Smithbrook Trailhead before setting off on your hike.
The Lake Valhalla Trail is one of Traverse the Pacific Northwest's Top 12 Best Hikes Near Leavenworth. Have you done them all yet? Let us know what you think of this one below.
Things to Know
Dogs are allowed but must stay on a leash.
No drones are allowed.
There are campsites near Lake Valhalla as well as a pit toilet.
Directions to Lake Valhalla Trail
Use the map below to navigate Lake Valhalla Trail at the Smithbrook Trailhead.
Lake Valhalla Trail Overview
Here are the most important facts about the Lake Valhalla trail, including the elevation gain you can expect and the distance required to do the entire hike.
The Lake Valhalla Trail is an interesting 6.1-6.5 miles long, depending on the time of year and if you wander off the trail at all. It's in Henry M. Jackson Wilderness and surrounded by mountain ash and evergreen trees.
From the parking lot on Rainy Creek Road or USFS 6700 Rd, you'll head towards Smith Brook before encountering a series of switchbacks (around 17 small ones!) before you make a large loop on a softly graded trail.
It's here, about 1 mile into the trail, that you'll go left (avoiding the upper trail that joins with the PCT). Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for a few mountain views along this section of trail.
The next part of the trail is the flattest. You'll gain almost no elevation. Two miles in, you'll get to an intersection with a cairn. Make sure to stay left as the right-hand trail takes hikers to Mount McCausland.
Check out our Guide to Hiking Mount McCausland if you want to add this worthy peak to your day!
In only one more switchback and a few curves, you'll arrive at the lake! It's right near the lake that you'll also find the campsites and a backcountry toilet.
Lake Valhalla is fairly easy to get to and incredibly scenic! When you get to the lake, behind you, you'll see Mount McCausland (5,741') and on the left-hand side of the lake is the ominous-looking spire of Lichtenberg Mountain. It stretches up 1,000 feet above the lake, reaching a height of 5,844' or 1,781 m.
Spend as much time as you want to at the lake, eat your snacks or your packed lunch, before turning around and retracing your steps.
Artist Credit: Emma H. Baldwin
Lake Valhalla from Stevens Pass
It's also possible to get to lake Valhalla from Stevens Pass, although this does make the trail significantly longer--11 miles round trip.
Along this alternate route, you'll enjoy a section of the PCT while hiking north.
Snowshoeing and Lake Valhalla
Lake Valhalla is a popular snowshoe destination as well, making it a year-round hike that's perfect for when the bigger mountains and trails are snowed in.
But, it's only suited for experienced adventurers who are prepared for a 13-mile round trip with around 2,000 feet of elevation gain.
Do I need a permit for Lake Valhalla?
No, you don't need a permit for Lake Valhalla! But you should self-register at the trailhead.
Where is Lake Valhalla?
Lake Valhalla is in Henry M. Jackson Wilderness, just 45 minutes from Leavenworth, Washington. It's situated underneath Mount McCausland and Mount Lichtenberg and is stunning in both summer and winter.
Is Lake Valhalla a hard hike?
No, Lake Valhalla is generally considered a moderate hike. It is around 6.1 miles long and gains around 1,000 feet in elevation as one heads to the lake and then back to the trailhead. It's mostly kid-friendly unless you take the route from Stevens Pass.