Reflection Lakes Snowshoe, January 14, 2018

On January 14th I went snowshoeing with meetup to Reflection Lakes in Mt. Rainier National Park. What a difference from last year! Last year it was snowing, windy and freezing. We couldn’t see beautiful Mt. Rainier at all. Today she was out in all of her glory.

Here are the stats per WTA (I believe this may include extra distance to Louise Lakes)

7 miles round trip (I think we maybe did about 5?), 560 feet elevation gain, high point 5100 feet.

Pass required: National Park Pass (or America the Beautiful Pass

See for more information and directions.

There was some new snow over the week, but then it turned warmer and it rained on top of it so it was very wet, sloppy snow on the day we went, but it was still a great day out. There are two routes to get to reflection lakes. One route up to the top of Stevens Canyon Road is prone to avalanches. We went the other route over Mazama Ridge.

From the warming hut, the trail is on the left hand side of the road, going up through the forest, following the creek to the road. When you reach the road, take a left following signs to Mazama Ridge. The trail rolls up and down a bit as you go over the ridge to the lake. Don’t forget to look up at the beautiful view of Mount Rainier and other neighboring peaks. See WTA for continuing to Louise Lakes and alternate routes.

It is also worth taking the short trip down to look at Narada Falls when you get back to the parking lot. Today there was no ice forming on the falls as the weather has warmed up, however I have seen pictures of it when it is a cool wall of ice.

Wenachee Crest Snowshoe, January 6, 2018

On January 6th I set out to Wenatchee Crest on Blewitt Pass with Meetup for a snowshoe which turned into a microspike hike. The trail was pretty tramped down, so most of us opted to carry our snowshoes and put on our spikes. It is easier to walk with microspikes than snowshoes if the trail is hard packed. We were post-holing a bit, but not too bad.

Stats per WTA:

6 miles round trip, gain 400 feet, High point 4500 feet.

Sno-Park Permit required. A day pass or season pass can be acquired at the Chevron in North Bend.

  • I think we only went about 5 miles round trip as some of us did not go all the way to the end

There are two parking lots one to the right coming up Blewitt pass from CleElum, the other to the left. The trail starts from the lot on the left. The lot across the street to the right has honey buckets if you need to relieve yourself. It also has several snowmobilers. Be careful crossing the road as cars come up quickly.

On the day we had set out they had freezing rain at the pass, so many of the branches and ground were frozen and the trees were dropping heavy bombs of snow from the limbs. Luckily we were on a wide path and not directly under most of the trees letting go of their heavy loads.

This is an easy, entry-level snowshoe as there is not much elevation gain and it is pretty straight-forward following forest road 800. Starting at the north end of the parking area, the route follows Forest Road 800, climbing moderately through forest to a junction half a mile up. Take the left-hand fork to continue along the ridge; the right hand fork drops down into Scotty Creek.

After the junction, the road levels out an follows the north side of the ridge dividing Scotty Creek and Swauk Creek. Enjoy views of Tronson Ridge, the Peshastin Creek Valley and Diamond Head.

After the road makes a sharp bend toward to the left, toward Point 4411 (per WTA) the road you will have views of the Stuarts and an occasional glimpse of Mount Rainier. “After another quarter of a mile, just past the point, come to a large clearcut with an unobstructed panorama of the Teanaway Mountains and the entire Stuart Range – all the way from Miller Peak to the Peshastin Valley. This makes a good lunch stop and turnaround point.” (WTA)

Artist Point, New Year’s Day 1/1/2018

What a great way to start out the new year, snowshoeing up to Artist Point off Mt. Baker Highway. During the summer months you can drive all the way up to Artist Point on Mount Baker Highway, but during the winter the road is closed after the parking lot at Heather Meadows Ski Area. The trailhead to Artist Point is the last parking area on the Mount Baker Highway. When you get to Heather Meadows ski area, drive around Picture Lake (one-way) and past the ski lifts. The large parking area is on the right at the end of the road. The trail begins left of the bathroom facilities. Note, there is a clean and warm bathroom down below at the lodge. The pit toilets at the parking lot were smelling pretty rank when we were there, so if you need to go, it is just a short walk to the lodge.

Stats per WTA:

4 Miles round trip, 1,000 feet elevation gain, high point 5100 feet gain

*note we continued to Huntoon Point which is another 1.2 miles round trip, and 200 ft gain, high point 5150 feet.

No parking pass is required

For more info and driving directions see

This is a popular destination, so there is almost always a clear track to follow. Most beginners can do this route, but there are some steeper sections that can be challenging. It is not worth making this trip on a cloudy day. Wait for a clear day for this outing. Also, be sure you check the NWAC website for avalanche conditions because there are a few places that can be avalanche prone.

On the first part of this trek, there may be multiple tracks on the relatively open, and flat area. You will come upon a couple of cabins at this point stay to the left of the cabins and head uphill. On this steep section you will follow the single track that borders the ski area boundary to Austin Pass on the way enjoy views of the Cascades to the North to Canada and of the back side of Table Mountain. (Stay off the ski slope/ out of the ski area).

From here, there may be multiple tracks to follow turn southwest (right) towards Artist point. You will start seeing great views of Mt. Shuksan in this section. Continue to follow the tracks up and make another right up the final steeper climb to Artist point where the summer parking area is located. (It is difficult to recognize the parking area from here, but it is there). From this point you will be able to see Baker, Table Mountain, Shukan and more! At the top of the ridge there were several snow campers…brrr, but what a view to wake up to!

From this point take a short side trip to Huntoon Point (another 1.2 miles roundtrip) for more sweeping views of Mt. Baker, Shuksan, Baker Lake and the Cascades. This was another trip where I took a ton of pictures. Bear with me 🙂 Thank you Lorri Kurth for an awesome outing!

Twin Lakes and Mirror Lake, September 2, 2017

On September 2nd I set out to hike to Twin Lake and Mirror Lakes with my friends Shane and Scott. I was thinking this was going to be a nice easy hike, less gain than some of the other trails I have been doing. I was wrong. While this trail had only about 1500 feet the section following the Cold Creek Trail between Twin Lakes and the PCT was rough.

This trail is not used as much as some others so I was unable to locate it on WTA. Here are the stats:

About 8 miles, and roughly 1500 feet gain. High point 4500 feet.

Northwest Forest Pass Required.

To get there, follow I-90 East from Seattle to exit 54, Hyak/Gold creek. Turn right. Continue straight, crossing SR 906. The road turns into Hyak Dr NE. Continue on Hyak Dr NE, the pavement ends and the road becomes FR 9070. The trailhead is a little hard to spot, it is on the left side of the road as you go up and there is space for a few cars on the side of the road right after the trailhead. If you have gotten to the Mt. Catherine Trailhead on the right, you have gone too far.

You start out on the Cold Creek Trail to Twin Lakes. This part of the trail has a little bit of up and down, but is mostly flat. You will reach Twin Lakes in .8 miles from the start. From here, there will be a fork in the trail. Bear Left over some logs to where the real work begins.

After you cross cold creek is where all of the elevation happens. Since this trail is not used heavily, it is not maintained as well as some. It was pretty bushy in places. There were several blow downs to go over or under, some of the steep bits were a bit eroded. It was kind of like an obstacle course going up, but it was pretty and there were very few other people on the trail. I recommend going up this trail and not down it as parts could be pretty slippery going down making it dangerous with some big drop-offs.

From Twin Lakes it is 1.7 miles and 1400 feet of gain, pretty steep climbing. Take your time and catch a breather when you reach the well-groomed PCT. From here follow the trail Left going .7 miles to Mirror Lake. You will descend 300 feet to the lake from the PCT but the trail is well graded and much easier than the cold creek trail. Mirror Lake has a couple of other access point including the PCT so there were more people at the lake than there were on the Cold Creek Trail and Twin Lakes. I was wishing I had brought my swimsuit to jump in the lake as it was very inviting. I am not confident enough to jump in wearing just my underwear. I did dip my feet in and enjoyed the beautiful lake.

On the return trip, do a loop. You will go back up the PCT the way you came, but instead of going back down the Cold Creek trail, continue following the PCT back to the main road. There are some nice mountain views along the way. The huckleberries were also out, but look like they will be gone soon. Sadly, we were able to see the plumes of smoke from the Jolly Ridge fire on part of this trail. Hopefully they will be able to get all of these fires out soon. There were also some impressive trees along these trails, take time to appreciate these as well.

Once you get back to the road, turn right. You will follow the road for a bit before cutting back into the forest onto another trail that will meet with the Cold Creek Trail that you started on. Keep an eye out for this turn as it is another that may be easy to miss. It is across the road from the Mt. Catherine Trailhead. This portion of trail was also pretty rough. You can tell that it also does not get much use. Some of it almost looked like creek beds, and I imagine in the spring it must be very unpleasant to hike down. There was one large blow down that you had to hike around, other than that just dealing with the rocky, rooty and bushy trail. You connect back at the cold creek trail by Twin Lakes, taking a left back to the trail head.

Return to Hamilton Mountain, August 18, 2017

I went down to Oregon for a friend’s wedding, and I figured…why not get a hike in since I am down here? I also wanted to avoid dreaded eclipse traffic. (No, I did not stay for the eclipse, I drove back to Seattle on Sunday.) I was also determined to get a hike in every weekend during the WTA Hike-a-Thon Month. I was hiking alone again so I wanted to do a trail I was somewhat familiar with that I thought would have lot of people on it for safety. When I did this trail in the spring with meetup, it was on a Saturday so it was quite busy. It was not busy at all when I went this time. I think with people travelling south for the eclipse and it being a week day the foot traffic was light.

I got a beautiful day to be on the trail. Even with a little smoky haze from a nearby fire, it was still more clear out than when I did this trail in the spring. I also found it much more enjoyable going my own pace, stopping and starting when I wanted to/needed to. On the flip side I did have a slight concern about running into bears on my way back on the less traveled side of the loop due to WTA warnings. I made plenty of noise…singing mostly…and making some general chatter…so saw no bears. I did see one garter snake and some crickets…and no I did not try to catch them.

Here are the stats if you do the loop:

7.5 miles for the loop. (6 miles out and back), 2000 feet elevation gain, high point 2400 feet

Pass Required: Discover Pass

For directions and more info see

Note –  there are a couple of side trails you can take. Make sure you take a good look at the map at the bottom of the trail. Or take a picture of it to bring with you as a reference. WTA recommends doing the loop to Hamilton Mountain first (the hard way) and coming back on the Hardy Creek trail. I have to agree. I considered doing an out and back because it was more populated, but once I went up the Hamilton Mtn. Trail I did not want to come back down it. There were a couple of spots that were a bit rough and you had to scramble a little, it is much easier to come down the other way.

The first part of the trail climbs steadily to the first point of interest which is Rodney Falls or the Pool of the Winds. Along the way you get a viewpoint of Hamilton Mountain, which looks far away but it is attainable! Along this stretch you will most likely run into more people, families, etc. who are heading up just to see the falls.

Shortly after the falls you will come across a sign for the Hardy Creek Trail or Hamilton Mountain. As stated earlier, my suggestion is to take the harder way up to Hamilton Mountain and come back via the Hardy Creek Trail. Do not skip the hard part. Some of the best views are here. The trail does get pretty steep in places, take your time and enjoy the views. It is hard to tell the steepness of the trail in some of these pictures, but here are some steep spots and some rough spots.

Here are the rewards for going up the rough spots. In the spring there were a lot of wild flowers. By summer they were mostly gone. Fall is coming.

After you feel like you have done a thousand switchbacks you will come to the saddle of the mountain. On a clear day you will have views of Mount Adams, Mount Hood and the Cascades. I got lucky when I went as I could see both major peaks.

From here continue on the trail .75 miles northwest to a prominent ridge which makes a great lunch spot. I had the ridge all to myself on the day I went. Pretty special.

From here, continue northwest following the signs (always go left) following a horse trail down to the Hardy Creek Trail. At the hardy creek trail there is a sign, but if you miss it keep your eye out for a picnic table this is where you want to turn to get back to the beginning of the loop. WTA indicates that you may see some evidence of bears on this part of the trail as it less traveled and they come down looking for berries. Make some noise so you don’t surprise the critters. I didn’t see any, but as noted earlier I tried to make  lot of noise. I did however see a couple of horse back riders.

Follow the hardy creek trail back to the Hamilton Mountain trail and back down to the parking lot. Congrats you did it! Now you can enjoy a beer in Hood River. I recommend the Pfriem Brewery. As a bonus to get to Hood River you get to cross the Bridge of the Gods. beer

Gem Lake via Snow Lake August 12, 2017

On Saturday, August 12th I set out to Gem Lake as a solo hike. This was my second official Hike-a-Thon hike for the month. I am trying to commit to at least one hike a week. So far I have raised $224 which goes towards supporting our trails in Washington via the Washington Trails Association. This hike gets a lot of heavy traffic especially on the weekends and the work the WTA has done is evident in easy water crossings with carefully placed rocks, and bridges, as well as a well maintained path. Please consider sponsoring me during the Hike-a-Thon month especially if you are someone who uses the trails on a regular or semi-regular basis.

The trail starts out at the Snow Lake Trailhead at the Alpental Parking Lot. Part of this trail’s popularity is due to it’s easy access, as well as it’s beauty.

Here are the Stats:20170812_083917

10 miles round trip, 1800 feet elevation gain, high point 4857 feet

Pass required: Northwest Forest Pass

For driving directions and more trail information see:

I arrived at the Snow Lake Parking lot at 8:30 and it was already half full. I recommend getting to this trail early, especially on the weekend. Heading over to the ridge to Snow Lake it felt like there was a train of people going up. This train stops at Snow Lake. I highly encourage continuing on past the main point where most people stop, even about 10-15 minutes makes a difference. Even better go to Gem Lake if feeling really energetic you can go to Wildcat Lake.

I always forget how long the first section of this hike is before you get to the switchbacks going over the ridge. Coming back, I kept thinking, I must be almost there… On the first section the trail climbs gradually up through the forest. There were a few creeks, which after our dry spell were mostly dried up, but even so they would be easily crossed. The flowers were mostly done. there was some fireweed and yarrow, and a few other put the peak for flowers has passed. In roughly 1.75 miles from the trailhead you will reach a set of rocky switchbacks which climb 500 feet to the Saddle. When the switchbacks start, you will see a sign for Source Lake. I inquired about this trail, and per another hiker it isn’t worth it…a small pond. So keep on the trail with the crowds, heading to Snow Lake.

On Saturday it was drizzling on the way up which felt great. It was nice and refreshing. It helped with the dust and the bugs at Snow Lake. Once you reach the saddle, the trail descends 400 feet on another set of switchbacks down to Snow Lake. Two reminders for fellow hikers – 1. Do not cut the switchbacks. If you do this you can cause erosion and you may be harming plants along the trail. 2) Uphill hikers have the right of way. Let them pass. You will get your first views of snow lake from this section of trail. Below is a rainy view from my trip in and a sunny view from the trip out.

Most hikers stop at the Snow Lake. Keep going!!! You will cross a creek, and you will need to keep an eye out for where the trail drops down by the lake…don’t stop here…Keep going towards Gem Lake. You will get more views of Snow Lake plus some valley views. If timed right you may even get a treat of huckleberries. From this point, the trail dips up and down a bit following Snow Lake and is very pretty…and you may find some solitude.

After the trail dips down, you will have an easy log crossing then the trail mostly climbs up towards Gem Lake, but the Snow Lake views continue. My day was half in the rain half in the sun…here are some contrasting photos (somewhat out of sequence). The huckleberry bushes are abundant in this section of trail. However, they are all still currently green. In a few weeks they should be good eating.

The trail as a whole is pretty rocky, which makes hiking slow-going. You will eventually get to a big rock slide area. This is where the mosquitoes became very bad on the day I was out. Once you pass this nasty area you are almost there. Listen for the picas along the trail they will “eep” to you along the way and encourage you along.

Once you pass this rocky area you will have a short section with slight relief from the rocks…then it gets rocky again. You will see a sign saying something like, “No Camping Beyond This Point,” my tip to you is to veer left on the side trail and follow this to the lake rather than continuing on the rocks…then hooray you made it! There were several campsites a the lake and there were quite a few backpackers heading up as I was going down. If planning an overnight, again I recommend getting an early start to get a good spot. The mosquitoes were VERY bad at Gem Lake…I even got to use my nerdy bug net. I was pretty tired after a rocky 10 miles, but it was worth it.

Mildred Point, Mt. Rainier, August 5, 2017

On August 5th I went to Mildred Point on the SW side of Rainier (Longmire/Paradise area). This was my first official WTA Hike-a-Thon hike. I am hiking not only for pleasure this month, but also raising money for Washington Trails Association. Please consider sponsoring my hikes this month…even a little bit helps.

This was a tough hike. I was feeling low on energy from the start which didn’t help. I think it was a combination of not enough sleep and smoke in the air. Even so, I pushed myself and made it to the destination.

Here are the stats on the trail per WTA:

7 miles roundtrip, 3135 feet elevation gain, high point 5900 feet.

Pass required National Parks Pass.

*You can get the “America the Beautiful Pass” which covers National Parks, National Monument, Northwest Forest and more. (Note it does not cover state parks. You still need a Discover Pass for these.)

For driving directions and more trail information see:

The road to the trail head was paved all the way. They are currently repaving the road, so you may encounter some road construction along the way. The parking lot at the trailhead is small, so plan to get there early. There is space for 16 cars, and a few spots along the side of the road. There is another parking lot up the road if all of the spaces are full. Be careful if you park on the side of the road. Some of the spaces were rough and if you do not have AWD you may have some difficulty.

Near the start of the trail you cross a bridge crossing Van Trump Creek, and continues to follow this creek up to Bloucher Falls and Comet Falls. There are several nice viewpoints of the creek with smaller falls on the way to the larger ones. On this lower part of the trail I noticed many berry bushes. Blueberries, salmon berries, thimble berries…and some I wasn’t sure of…maybe blackberries. Some were just starting to produce fruit, others…not yet. The flowers on the lower part of the trail looked like they were starting to peter out but up top…amazing. Heading to Comet falls there were some rock staircases and some wooden ones to get your heart pumping. I recommend hiking poles on this hike as it is  a knee-killer.

The first big waterfall you encounter is 1.6 miles from the trailhead. This is a good place to cool off (dip your hat or bandana in the water for cooling purposes). I forgot to do this on the way up, but remembered on the way down. From here go to the left of the bank to rejoin the trail.

As you continue up the trail you will soon start to see stunning views of Comet Falls. At 1.9 miles from the trailhead a side-path approaches the 392 foot falls. Take a moment here to be cooled by the spray from the falls and enjoy the beautiful field of flowers before continuing up the trail. This is where the flowers really started to get impressive…and they just keep getting better.

As you continue up the trail it climbs steeply – more stairs…per wta, you climb 650 feet in half a mile and reach a junction (I don’t remember the junction. I must have been too tired to notice.) To reach Mildred Point turn left at this junction and drop 200 feet (yes this means you need to go up it on the way back) to a log crossing Van Trump Creek. Look up! As you approach the creek you start getting great views of Mt. Rainier. It is worth noting on this section of the trail the bugs start. Some mosquitoes but it is mostly those annoying biting flies that are troublesome. Bug spray might help. One of the flies actually made me bleed! Ouch!

After you cross the creek it is a little tricky to find the trail. Go LEFT and look for cairns. Follow the trail to some amazing wildflower meadows and views. It was smoky on the day we went from fires up in BC. The views were great, but I bet they would be even better on a clear day. You will soon reach another junction. Turn right to go to Mildred point…up, up, up… but very beautiful with all of the meadows of flowers and many views of Rainier. One of the last sections was very steep and rutted. The top portion of this section was sandy and slippery, making the climb even more difficult. Don’t be discouraged this is the last REALLY hard part. after this it evens out for a moment then one last climb to Mildred Point for an in-your face view of Mount Rainier.

Here is the reward. An up close and personal view of Mount Rainier! At the very top the bugs didn’t seem to be biting as bad but they were still there. Enjoy your lunch here. You earned it!

Tolmie Peak Lookout, July 22, 2017

I am doing the WTA Hike-a-Thon this August and would love your support. Please consider sponsoring me or joining my team “Two More Switchbacks.” We currently have four members and between us we have already raised over $400.00! I would love to blow our $500 goal out of the park. The money goes to the Washington Trails Association which does a great job maintaining our trails in addition to being a great resource. Be on the lookout for my Hike-a-Thon posts.

On July 22nd, I went to Mount Rainier with meetup. The Tolmie Peak trailhead is on the NW side, in the Carbon River area of the park. Note – the road to Mowich lake is a dirt road and is 17 miles long. It was in decent condition when we went, but per WTA it can be very rough. The main issue we ran into was dust flying up so it was hard to see. Also, this trailhead was VERY popular. Arrive early, cars were parked way down the road when we returned from our hike. For more directions and trail details see the WTA Site:

Here are the stats for this hike:

7.5 miles round trip, 1100 feet elevation gain, High point 5900 feet

Pass Required: National Park Pass

*If you are going to do a lot of hiking in Washington including in the National Parks, you might want to look into the “America the Beautiful Pass” This pass covers National Parks, National Monuments as well As Northwest Forest. It costs $80 but saves you from the trouble of having two passes.

The trail starts at the parking area for Mowich Campground, and follows the shore on the west side of Mowich Lake. When our group set out in the morning Mount Rainier was reflecting in the lake, make sure you take time to look up and enjoy the scenery. (Sorry no photo of the reflection). As you move away from the lake the elevation increases a bit and you will come to a junction with Insput Pass, two miles from the trailhead. There are some nice-looking rock faces along the way along with wildflowers. Someone had also built an interesting cairn.

Keep left at the pass and continue another .8 miles to Eunice Lake. This part of the trail has some ups and downs…so don’t forget there will be a little uphill on the way back. Right before we got to the lake there was a great meadow with Beargrass and other wildflowers. It was very buggy at the lake, so make sure you bring along some bug spray. If you look closely at the second picture below you can see the lookout tower at the top of the ridge. This is the destination. There were also some people swimming in Eunice lake, so if you would like to take a dip bring along a swimsuit…or wait to go swimming in Mowich Lake when you get back.

To get sweeping views of Mount Rainier, continue past the lake for the final uphill grind to the lookout tower. It is a steep mile up Tolmie Peak but the views are worth it. On the north side of the Peak you get views of the Carbon River Valley. At the top there is a sweeping view of Mount Rainier and Eunice Lake. There were a ton of people on the top when we were there. There was a wedding party that had hiked up (they got married at the lookout…how cool is that) plus our big group. I am guessing it would be better to hike this trail on a weekday to avoid the crowds.

Per WTA, this area is closed to camping, so if you want to visit very early in the morning or late in the evening plan to camp at Mowich Campground. If going for the day, consider packing a cooler and having a picnic by the lake at the end…as well as a refreshing swim. The trails are pretty dusty this year due to the lack of rain so it feels good to rinse off. Photo credit below belongs to Jen (one of our group.

Tolmie Peak Trail

Happy Swimmers

Return to Mount Townsend, July 8, 2017

Hello everyone, I am doing the WTA Hike-a-Thon this summer and would love your support. Please consider sponsoring me or joining my team “Two More Switchbacks.” The money goes to the Washington Trails Association which does a great job maintaining our trails in addition to being a great resource for information on trails.

On July 8, 2017 I returned to Mount Townsend with Meetup. I am so glad I did! Wow wildflowers! Wow views! Great hike on a clear day. Last year it was a bit rainy and cold so I did not go to the very end of the trail, this year we had beautiful weather and made it all the way. To see last year’s post go to: Mt. Townsend, August 2016.

Here are the stats per WTA:

8 miles roundtrip, 3010 ft. elevation gain, high point 6260 ft.

Location, Olympic Peninsula, Hood Canal. No parking  pass required.

For more information go to

There are four trails to the top of Mount Townsend. The WTA directions, will take you to the trail we travelled on the “Upper Trailhead.” The road was paved most of the way and a sedan can make it on the dirt portion. Note, the trailhead parking is small and it is advised to get there early or you may be trekking down the road to get to the start. Also, keep an eye out for deer on the road. Last year we saw an adult deer on the way out, this year there was a fawn crossing the road in front of us on the way out. (We did not see mama, but I am sure she was close by.)

On the first part of the trail you will be under tree cover, there are some rhododendrons which bloom in June (we missed them blooming). In climbing the switchbacks, the trail will start opening up to some very nice views and will become increasingly open as you climb. As the trail opens up the wildflowers start. There were huge paintbrush, lupine, lilies and many more! It was fantastic! Here is link to a helpful wildflower guide that I found: The following are photos of flowers we saw along the trail, so beautiful!

The views really start to open up with each switchback. Keep looking up to take it in. On a clear day as you get higher up you can see Mt. Adams, Mt. Rainier, Glacier Peak and Mount Baker. So awesome. It was a little hazy so the big peaks didn’t come out in my photos but I took some great mental pictures.

You will eventually get to a little rocky outcropping where the trail turns right and passes some camping spaces (Camp Windy). Continue on up the switchbacks which seem to get steeper as you get higher. You also start to lose tree cover so enjoy the shade where you can. At 3 miles from the trail-head you will reach an intersection with the Silver Lake Trail, turn right at this intersection and continue your climb up. you will eventually reach the ridge after one steep little push…but that isn’t the end Keep going!

After you reach the ridge line there is more up…and some down until you reach the end. The end is very rewarding so I recommend taking this last bit up.

Return to Colchuck Lake, July 2, 2017

Hello everyone, I am doing the WTA Hike-a-Thon this summer and would love your support. Please consider sponsoring me or joining my team “Two More Switchbacks.” The money goes to the Washington Trails Association which does a great job maintaining our trails in addition to being a great resource.

On July 2, 2017 I returned to Colchuck Lake with my meetup friends. I think this is still my favorite Alpine lake that I have come across in Washington so far. It’s beautiful blue water is inviting and the mountains above provide great views.

Here are the stats per the WTA website:

8 miles round trip, 2280 ft. gain, high point 5580 ft.

This hike is in the Central Cascades/Leavenworth area. For directions and more info see:

To see my post from last year (it may have more pictures) go to Last Year at Colchuck

It was another hot day when we went on this hike this year. Last year I ran out of water and I had brought along 3 liters in my camelback. This year I brought an extra Nalgene with electrolyte powder to help keep my hydrated. This is a lot of H2O to carry, so you may consider bringing a water filter if you have one as there are a couple of water sources on the trail. The road was in okay shape. You can make it fine in a sedan. Keep in mind this trailhead fills up early, so if you want a good spot, try to get there as early.

You begin hiking on the Stuart lake trail, and you eventually turn left onto the Colchuck Lake trail, be careful not to miss this turn off sign as it is a bit high up and if you are not paying attention you may miss the turn. For more trail notes, please see my last posting and WTA for reference. Here are some photos from our trip this year. Enjoy!