Monday, August 08, 2016

Trail Report: Snow Lake

Round trip distance: 7.2 miles
Highest point: 4,400 feet
Elevation gain: 1,800 feet
Pass: Northwest Forest Pass

WTA page;

The trail head for Snow Lake leaves from the parking lot at Alpental at the Summit. I've been in this area several times to hike Snoqualmie Mountain (whose trail head is about 30 feet from the Snow Lake trail head). On days when there are roughly 100 cars in the parking lot, most of them are there for Snow Lake. I think this is what caused me to not be interested in this hike, since I don't like crowded hikes. It also took me a while to start doing lake hikes, as I prefer peaks.

Now that I'm able to hike after work, I decided it would be a good time to hike to Snow Lake, rather than attempting it on the weekend with everyone else. This decision paid off, because I only saw about 35 other hikers. (On the weekend, you can apparently see around a hundred other hikers and at times have to wait to get through certain points or let other hikers pass).  I'm glad that I finally did this hike - Snow Lake is gorgeous!

The gorgeous Snow Lake

One of the reasons this hike is popular is because it isn't very long and the trail is only moderately difficult. I consider it to be on the easy side, but I've been hiking for a while. The trail doesn't gain a ton of elevation, but it is one of the rockiest trails I've ever been on! Several sections of the trail consist of rocks the size of a shoe or smaller. I felt like it would be easy to twist an ankle or step wrong, since you're literally walking on rocks for these sections. It's fun, but requires more care than when hiking on an even dirt path.

View from the trail

View into the valley where the trail begins

After walking on all of those rocks, Snow Lake is a welcome sight. It was more beautiful than I was expecting! From a distance, the water looked like glass.

Such smooth water from a distance

When I got down closer to the shore, I could see more ripples and small waves in the water. Some people were fishing, some were swimming, and some were choosing a spot to camp overnight. There were a few mosquitoes and I did get bit, so I recommend bug spray.

I'm happy that I finally hiked to Snow Lake instead of putting it off for another year (or years). If you don't mind crowds, going on the weekend will be fine, but if you prefer a less crowded hike, go on a weekday.

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