Margaret Lake is located in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in the Wenatchee National Forest in Central Washington. The hike starts out on old logging roads through a mix of old growth and new growth forest. At first the hike seems like it might not be worth it. It starts out at a relatively low elevation with lots of sun exposure (if it's sunny).
After several logging road switchbacks, you reach the hiking trail. About half way up you are rewarded with your first sighting of Mount Rainier. The places along the trail where you can see Mount Rainier afford better and better views of the mountain and all of the closer mountains, the higher you go along the trail. Now you start to grasp the worth of this hike. Along the way up you should see lots of wildflowers including beautiful Tiger Lilies.
At the top of the ridge you reach an intersection with the Twin Lakes/Lake Lillian trail to the left. To reach Margaret Lake, continue straight down the other side of the ridge where you are greeted by a very steep set of switchbacks inside a bowl shaped wall. It will be pretty shady here as you are on a northeast facing slope. In early season don't be surprised to see snow here as well. In fact, as we descended further into the bowl on August 1, we were surprised by how much snow we saw between the 4,800 and 5,000 foot elevations.
After leaving the switchbacks behind, the trail heads straight toward a small shallow lake called Lake Yvonne. It's quite a pretty lake and the water is crystal clear. The trail heads around the eastern edge of the lake. However, because of snow cover, we did not see the trail and crossed the lake at a narrow section of the lake on some logs that lay across the lake.
The trail then heads straight to Margaret Lake. Margaret Lake is a much larger and deeper lake than Lake Yvonne and is stunningly beautiful. There are several good spot along the lake to sit and have lunch. You will probably want to stay a while.
After returning back up to the ridge top a short cross country trip along the ridge top to the southeast will give you a good view of Swan Lake and the Rock Rabbit Lakes. If you're really energetic, you can continue on to Twin Lakes and Lake Lillian, but that's a different hike description.
Check out the Official Route and Triplog.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.