Snowshoe Routes: Washington
by Dan A. Nelson (The Mountaineers Books)
© 2015 Dan A. Nelson/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.
Like other posts, this hike is definitely crowded until the lake! We went on a holiday weekend and were afraid it would be too many people. The trail to the lake is so beat down, no snow shoes needed! However, keep hiking around the lake and up the basin and valley and crowds quickly dwindle to none. Within a 1/2 mile we were by ourselves following a small snowshoe trail (snowshoes now on) along a frozen creek and enjoying the spectacular views of the surrounding ridges on a perfectly clear day. A great snowshoe area for family and dogs. Not much for climbing high hear, but great views of surrounding territory and not far off the road. Crowds quickly thin out, making this well worth the crowded 1st mile. Cheers.
This was my third time out with snowshoes and my 24yo daughters first. We found a fine pack of snow and many visitors to this close-in trail. After taking exit 54 on I-90 we went under the freeway past the Eastbound onramp then forward for another 100 yards. Turning right on the road that parallels I-90 we crossed a bridge and came to the trail head. There wasn't much parking since the snow mobilers take three spaces each, but we were lucky and were within a few yards of the trail head.
Use GT 207, Snoqualmie Pass. We hiked in and took the right fork through the gate and eventually came upon a clutch of "cabins" on our left. The trail was faily flat with some ups and downs. At the next fork we kept right and spotted a drudgery of Boy Scouts pulling a sledge that was loaded to the gills. Those poor lads were tugging on a 1-inch anchor rode with loops spaced out to work as harnesses. Their sleeping pad was rolled up and placed against the loop to reduce chafing. The look of eternal damnation and loathing were on their faces as the sweat froze to their brows. The adults strolled along with their packs on the creaking sledge.
We continued on, occasionally meeting the happy dog walking the masters. After another hour we stopped for lunch on a snow bank next to the trail. I'll bring a foam pad next outing to keep the snow from freezing my tush.
On our way back we took the right fork near the "cabins" and found the little lake. The Scouts had arrived on the far side of the lake and were setting up camp. We took a few pictures and headed back to the trail we came in on.
Next time up I'll circumnavigate the lake. It is really quite beautiful. This was an easy hike for me and at the end I had wished I had gone farther. Get up there early, as close to sunrise as possible. You'll get better parking and more time to enjoy the trail before the trampling hoards descend.
Beautiful weather, lots of snow just perfect. There were lots of people out but the trail didn't feel crowded, we passed fewer than 10 parties. I believe we didn't do the hike we'd planned. After about a quarter mile we left the road and went up a trail following a couple parties we could see ahead. It worked out great. We climbed up to a clearing with some gorgeous mountain views and had lunch. We had, it seemed, the hill to ourselves for lunch other than a passer by with a pleasant mooch of a dog.
Very nice area, though there are lots of people for the fist long section as mentioned in the trail description.
This trail is perfect for beginners, families and snowshoeing. The first leg of the trail is gently hilly and passes through nearly every ecosystem type of the pacific northwest, from upland wet meadow to late successional growth forest. For the more advanced or adventurous hiker in the group, the last few miles go straight up to beautiful views of the lakes and peaks.
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