Just about 20 miles northwest of everyone's favorite Bavarianesque Washington town, Leavenworth, is a ridge of peaks between 6000 and 7000 feet filled with small lakes (one big one, Lake Wenatchee which is a few miles due east of this peak) and picturesque settings. Labyrinth Mountain resides here and is a popular hike, or at least a lot of people do the hike up to Minotuar Lake. Well, no, a lot of people START the hike and then give up quickly due to the initial steepness. The trail vaults straight up a steep ridge with little warning gaining about 1200 feet in less than a mile. Once you get past that, it eases off gaining only another 500 feet in the next mile and a half or so where you reach Minotaur Lake. Like I said, most hikers have this lake in mind as their objective and either settle for lunch or a nice campsite by the shores for the night which means relatively few actually are going to spoil your trip to the top. There is a climbers trail around the lake and up to the base of the peak where one can find any of a number of ways to scale the grass and rock ledges to the summit. Beckey in his CAG:Volume 1 and Peggy Goldman in 75 Scrambles in Washington both describe old routes around the west side of Minotaur Lake but ignore them (yes, I'm telling you to ignore Beckey) and follow the route I describe around the east side for the better way. (Goldman does describe the better route as an "alternate route" in her book though.)
Minotaur Lake and the view to Theseus Lake are worth the hike alone. The area is full of heather meadows and glacial cirques and the views of the North Cascades all around are icing on the cake. The only negative is that the area can be quite buggy even into August. Bring your DEET and enjoy the views.
Labyrinth Mountain was named by A.H. Sylvester for the bizarre map contours in this area and you'll enjoy the quick hike down on this one at the end, especially if the bugs are chasing you out.
Getting ThereThere are a couple ways to get to the trailhead, both involve being on Highway 2 just east of Stevens Pass.
The way most go, although I am not sure why since it involves a confusing set of roads, is to take SR 207 north from Highway 2 at a point 19 miles east of Stevens Pass (towards Lake Wenatchee). Go northwest along the short of the lake and take a left on Little Wenatchee River Road (Forest Service Road 65). Cross the White River and go left on FS Road 6700 at a junction. Go right on FS Road 6704 to the trailhead at the road's end. The only thing about this route is that a lot of the roads are not marked but you want to make sure you are on the road around the north edge of Lake Wenatchee and head for the Lake Wenatchee Ranger District Office.
The better way is much simpler. Head north on Smith Brook-Rainy Pass Road off of Highway 2 at a point 4-5 miles east of Stevens Pass. This turns into Road 6700. Take this road up over Nason Ridge and then turn left on Road 6704. Look for the signed road to Minotaur Lake Trailhead on the left and take it to the trailhead.
There are campsites at Minotaur Lake and also Theseus Lake from a side trail on the east side of the lake (although it involves a bit of elevation loss). First come, first serve.
Other Area Campgrounds
Mountain ConditionsLake Wenatchee Ranger District
22976 State Hwy 207
Leavenworth, WA 98826