Day Hike to Snow Lake

Snow Lakes Trail - Search Nearby - Added by Sarah Matthews

Snow Lake is one of the most visited lakes in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and you can see why. The lake's crystal clear water is accessible with just a short 3.5 mile hike in. Once by the lake, peel off your socks and shoes and dive right in!Details:• Snoqualmie Region• 7.2 Miles round-trip• 1800ft. gain• Highest Peak 4400ft.• Northwest Forest Pass required

The trail departs from the north end of the main parking lot of the Alpental Ski Area, which on any given Saturday or Sunday will fill to capacity. Go early or prepare to be friendly! After an initial 200-foot climb up log steps, the trail settles down for a gradual ascent in forest. A mile in, a talus slope offers a break in the trees and views of a landscape that has suddenly grown exponentially more rugged than the parking lot you just left. In the distance, Chair Peak stands tall at the end of a jagged ridge rising over the far side of the valley.

In another three quarters of a mile, the trail switchbacks to the right – it’s time to start the mercifully short climb. Over the next two thirds of a mile, the trail weaves its way 500 feet up to the wilderness boundary at a saddle above Snow Lake.

Here you get your first view of your objective. From this angle, it looks unassuming enough – its far shore is mostly rolling hills; but the first rule of Snow Lake is to never settle for the early view. It gets better – much better.

Half a mile from the saddle--and a 400-foot drop in elevation you’ll have to regain on the way back out--the trail reaches an inlet to the lake. Here, a short side trail leads down to the shore, passing the remains of an old cabin, a relic of a time when this part of the shore was private land. Marvel for a moment that Snow Lake was once someone’s front yard, then wander down to the lakeside to enjoy the prior owner’s daily view.

Driving Directions:From Seattle, drive east on I-90 to exit 52, signed for Snoqualmie Pass West. Turn left (north), crossing under the freeway, and continue to the end of the road at the Alpental Ski Area parking lot.


Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly

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