Best Hikes with Kids: Western Washington & the Cascades
by Joan Burton (The Mountaineers Books)
© Joan Burton/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.
Fairly easy trail but very muddy and wet. The lake is beautiful with a really nice flat loop trail at the top that takes you around the lake. Gorgeous waterfalls created from snow melt on the cliffside aboe the lake. Mosquitos were bad this time of year so bring bug spray. Was a little cold and windy as well, weather could be great 5 miles away and still misty and cloudy at the lake. Very crowded trail which is mostly why I don't give it better than 3 stars.
Nice day hike all around. Parking is easy, the trail is easy to follow although wet the entire way. It is rocky and filled with ruts, puddles, creek crossings and switch backs. This time of year the top of the top quarter mile or so is covered in snow, as is the whole area around the lake, which is still covered in ice. While at the lake we watched several avalanches tumble down the slopes of Mt Pilchuck. We took two dogs with us who loved to romp and climb the obstacles both on trail and off. This hike didnt get 5 stars from me for one reason, the crowds. despite being early in season the parking lot was full, there was traffic both directions on the trail and it was difficult to find peace around the lake.
Trail is in good condition although you may want to bring your poles along as they will spare you knees on the trek down. This trail is almost an exact duplicate to the Lake 22 trail about a mile away. Same characteristics, same rock slides, same old growth forest. It will make you wonder, however, what those SOBs were thinking as they hacked down thousand year old trees. Even though it's only February, trail was 100% snow free. Heather Lake was still under heavy ice though. Be careful, boardwalks around the lake are VERY slippery.
I went in mid-June and near the lake there was still a ton of snow. I went back July 11th and the only snow was at the north side of the lake where there was snow where there was an avalanche. Both times it was a lot of fun. My kids 5 and 7 went the first time and had a great time too. This is one of my favorite day hikes.
A very enjoyable hike. It was an absolutely beautiful September day. There were two other cars parked when I arrived at the trailhead, so I was anticipating a solitary hike. I wasn't disapointed.
The hike (and the lake) is very much like the trail up to Lake 22. The biggest difference is, while the lake 22 trail is strewn with Tallus, this one is just plain rocky and rooty. Some parts of the trail are literally cut into rock outcroppings. Concentrating on footing certainly kept me occupied, and other than the amazing 6-8' diameter oldgrowth stumps, there isn't much to see on the way up, so looking at your feet isn't a bad pastime.
It took me slightly over an hour to hike the two miles to the lake (I'm 54 with bad knees.) There were a few wet spots on the trail but nothing of consequence. When I arrvied there I took the trail to the right around the lake. The lake is set in a bowl almost identical to Lake 22. Directly opposite the trail entrance are huge cliffs that hide the summit of Mt. Pilchuck, directly behind them. There are plenty of great sites for photographs, and many huge rocks to perch & have lunch. I chose a spot at the far end of the lake.
After spending an hour enjoying the lake with my dog I headed back down. An hour later I was at the trailhead. All in all, a great hike and a great day!
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