General StatsLabyrinth Mountain via Minotaur Lake
Elevation Gain: 2700 feet
YDS Rating: Barely class 2
Total Roundtrip Distance: 7 miles
Equipment Used: Trekking Poles, Feet, Camera (over 100 photos)
After Jason and I did Adams, we were hurting a little. Even after three days you would think that your leg would recover but they did not. My body was telling me to rest. But with 80 degree weather and perfect sunshine there was no way we were going to pass on a trip. Fran (Bloated Chipmunk on nwhikers.net) and her boyfriend Todd had planned a trip to Labyrinth and the both of us, as well as my friend Aaron wanted to go. With a 7 mile roundtrip and 2700 feet of elevation gain this hike was just enough to keep us lose for the next major endeavor.
After meeting at the Monroe Park and Ride at 8:35 am we hit the trail at around 10:15 am. As promised through all literature the Minotaur Lake trail began of very steep. I believe it climbs 1200 feet in the first mile. And still recovering from Adams both of us could feel it. Luckily Bloated Chipmunk and Todd set a comfortable yet steady pace up the steep trail. Though the trail was much more established than Mailbox the elevation gain on the first part was pretty much the same. The closer the trail got to the lake the less steep it became. Soon we were at Minotaur Lake. From here we headed right and stop at a number of beautiful rock outcrop overlooking both Minotaur Lake and Thesus Lake.
Fall foilage is not as well known in the Pacific Northwest as in other places but it is beautiful out here, especially when the berry bushes are going. And right now the bushes are starting to turn, adding to the beauty of the hike. There is nothing better than great fall foilage no matterwhere you are. With the lake and the rock peak of Labyrinth, this is a special fall area.
From here on our information was mixed. The information I had was that Labyrinth was a YDS 3 scramble, but Fran had better info stating that the mountain just a typical bootpath summit. The bootpath start actually just on the east side of the lake. Though there was some steeper sections this bootpath had no exposer and was barely YDS Class 2 at most. However if go beyond the lake there is another YDS Class 3 way to reach the summit.
Once we neared the summit we realized that Labyrinth had two summits and both were easily attainable. We first hit what was the true summit by the three benchmarks. After spending some time goofing off there and enjoying the views we then headed over to the false summit (actually Fran, Jason and I checked out an interesting rock before we headed over). Both summits offer quite amazing 3 volcano views. The views were not the 200 mile views we saw on Adams, but very pretty in that see the beautiful lakes and surrounding mountains such Sloan, Howard, Rock, Daniel, Hinman, Stuart and even Baker, Rainier and Glacier Peak.
After spending probably two hours between the two summits. We decide to head down the bootpath to Minotaur Lake. We enjoyed more good views of the lake and then head back down the Minotaur Lake trail. The Minotaur Lake Trail was much harder going down than going up. The steep dusty path had some poor footing on the way down that lead us to go a little slower on the trail than normal. Still we made good time heading back.
Labyrinth a great mountain with great views and a very worthwhile fall hike. If you want harder it also has a harder Class 3 scramble but either way you run into a killer summit with amazing views.