Mildred Lakes

Typical stretch of the upper half of the Mildred Lakes Trail.

Miserable + Mildred = Milderable
[mil-dra-buh l, mil-durr-a-buh l]


1. wretchedly rocky trail, uneasy, or uncomfortable footing:
After the hike, the boyscouts conceded that the trail was in Milderable condition and vowed never to set foot on it again.

2. wretchedly poor tread; in need of repair.
The trail was in Milderable condition.

3. of wretched hiking quality; contemptible:
The group set out on a trail guaranteed to set new standard for Milderable conditions.



This was my first taste of the Mildred Lakes Trail, and it definitely lived up to its reputation. The first half wasn't too bad but the second half was a rooty, rocky, overgrown mess. To add insult to injury, it rained off and on most of the day. One minute the sun would be shining, the next, a nice hard rain. It would rain just long enough to get the brush all wet before the sun would come back out, evaporating what rain wasn't being absorbed into my clothing as I pushed my way through the overhanging vegetation, and causing the air to be heavy and sticky. You would think the roots that roughly 25% of the trail is comprised of would be a slippery problem. The real problem however is the odd sandstone type of rock in the area is super slick. I took a good spill on some of it just before getting to the lower lake.

Overlooking all the difficulties of this trail, there are also some real pretty sights to be seen. Due to some of the low clouds on my visit, I didn't get to see everything I wanted to see, particularly the Sawtooth Ridge and surrounding mountains. I didn't get to see the upper lake either, but not for lack of trying as the trail was very overgrown.

With all things being equal, I can't wait until my next visit to Mildred Lakes. It should be Milderable.

Bridge on the Hamma Hamma River at the trailhead
Number 822
Jerry's log
Occasionally the clouds would part enough to see across the valley.
There was some big skunk cabbage here
A perfect cascade over a submerged log on Huckleberry Creek.
Some falls on Huckleberry Creek
The trail has it's ups and downs. This photo is from just about the high pointof the trail right before it descends 200 feet in elevation to the first lake. Remember, what goes down, must come up, and you'll get to re- experience this on the way out.
Cloudy, rainy day.
Avalanche lilies
A peek across the valley
There are a couple small tarns right before you get to the lakes.
A small tarn just before the first lake
Some false hellebore along the trail
Always looks good in black and white
Shooting stars along the trail.
Lower Mildred Lake
Lower Mildred Lake with rain
With the humidity, I was almost as wet inside my rain jacket as I was on the outside.
I'm not certain but I think this was some kind of Penstemon.
2014-06-28 Mildred Lakes-44
Olympic Mountain hiking. My home range at its finest.
Typical representation of the upper half of the Mildred Lakes Trail.
Cheryl climbing a section of the Milderable Lakes trail in the rain.




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6 thoughts on “Mildred Lakes

  • August 26, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    I remember climbing the roots on this trail when I did it in 1994! It was my first backpacking experience in the Olympics and I have to admit everything since has been much easier but no less enjoyable.

    • August 27, 2014 at 8:08 pm

      Thanks Cathy. It has made me appreciate other trails a lot more, that’s for sure.

  • August 26, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    Jay, your pictures are always so good, you make even a wet day very beautiful! I loved seeing Jerry’s log, that was very nice of you to mention that.

    • August 27, 2014 at 8:06 pm

      Thanks Cheryl.

  • September 30, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    Nice images indeed, Jay. So whoever Cheryl is, I have to hand it to her for sticking with you on this milderable trail. I know the trail well, and have always loved Huckleberry Creek, and the familiar little falls. If you ever get a chance, follow Huckleberry Creek up under Mount Ellinor; it breaks out into a beautiful basin.

    • October 26, 2017 at 8:58 am

      Thanks for the tip Larry. If I ever find anyone willing to join me that is up for the challenge, I just might check that out.


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