Leaves change colors every autumn. It’s one of those really special times to live in the Pacific Northwest. Sure, we don’t get the same incredible colors as the Midwest or East Coast, but we get something even better – golden larches. You have to know the right time to enjoy them, though. So (a question we often hear)…when is the best time to see golden larches in Washington?

Best time to see golden larches

The obvious answer is: there is no exact time every year. Mother Nature works on her own schedule. But there is definitely a certain time frame to keep an eye on. Golden larches are typically at their peak anywhere from late September to mid-October. I know that’s pretty broad, so here are some more precise ideas:

+ We’ve been to the North Cascades to see golden larches twice (click here for two great hikes to check out). Both times we were there on October 7th – both times the larches were in fine form.

+ According to this Seattle Times article, Joyce Brown from the North Cascades National Park information desk says October 10th is the best time to see golden larches in Washington. The author of the article agrees that larches typical turn right before the first significant snow fall in the mountains, which happens around October 10th.

+ In searching for what others say is the best time to see golden larches in Washington, hikers and writers typically peg the first and second weeks of October. There are some references to late September, but many say it’s a little too early. The latest reference I found to peak golden larch viewing was published October 17th.

Again, there’s no exact time larches hit their peak every year, but a majority of people (including us) think the first two weeks in October is the best time to see golden larches in Washington.

Best time to see golden larches

How do you know if golden larches are at their prime?

+ I usually check Washington Trails Association trip reports for hikes to Blue Lake (North Cascades), Lake Ingalls (Blewett Pass), Larch Lake (Stevens Pass), and others. If you scroll to the bottom of these links, hikers always share photos and stories from their latest adventures. It’s a great way to see current conditions for golden larches.

+ You can call any ranger station or visitor center in the area you’d like to visit, and they’ll let you know the current status of golden larches.

+ Social media is another great resource. Simply search for the latest images and videos of golden larches on Twitter, Instagram and/or Facebook.

Best time to see golden larches

Whenever it happens, just make sure you get there in time. Just like the leafy trees in your yard, golden larches quickly lose their needles. The annual “larch march” doesn’t usually last more than two weeks.

When do you think is the best time to see golden larches in Washington? We’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Don’t forget to also check out Seattle Bloggers for more great places to visit around the Emerald City!