Backpack to Gem Lake, WA

Washington Gem Lake Trailhead, WA

Added by Felix Madrid

Be prepared for breathtaking sunsets that have the most amazing colors. With alpine views and Icy-blue water that you can actually swim in.

This hike shares the trailhead for Snow lake at the Alpental Ski area in Snoqualmie Pass. You'll start out with a great warm up, walking through dense green underbrush and a brief wooded area. Before too long the trail increases in inclination slightly and begins to offer up some small rocky sections where rock slides have created little obstacle courses. The accent continues to gradually steepen as you traverse a series of well maintained switchbacks. As you reach the top before descending into the Snow Lake basin you will get some epic views of Chair Peak to the west. Continuing on past Snow Lake, you travel through many small meadow areas as the trail steepens further. You will arrive on the SE shore of Gem Lake and be greeted with sapphire blue water and stunning views of sharp rock formations to the west. This hike lends itself to staying the night once you've reached the lake, and making the return trip the day after in order to experience sunset.

Pack List

  • Tent (or not if you're planning on sleeping under the stars)
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping mat
  • Warm clothing (even in the summer nights are chilly)
  • Camera
  • Northwest Forest Pass
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Backpacking, Camping, Chillin, Hiking, Photography, Swimming, Yoga

Skill Level:



Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



10 Miles

Elev. Gain:

4850 Feet



Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Swimming Hole

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How to Get There

11 months ago

Great hike close to Seattle. Easy to get to and lots of parking. Great for a trail run or a hike, and the ability to stop at Snow Lake or continue to Wildcat Lakes and beyond makes this trip very versatile

11 months ago

Added by Felix Madrid

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