Backpack to Spectacle Lake

Pete Lake Trail

Explore and marvel at a true spectacle in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

Depending on when you arrive at the Pete Lake Trailhead, expect to be traveling with company as it is one of the more popular locations on the eastside of Snoqualmie Pass. At an elevation of 2600 feet, the beginning route is a moderate 400 feet of elevation gain.

Start on your way through the valley accompanied by the sound of the lazy Copper River. Although shaded by the surrounding old growth conifers, the trail is rocky and dusty. However, if you are doing this hike in early or late season, there will be plenty of opportunity to rinse you boots in the abundance of creeks along you way. Enter the Alpine Lakes Wilderness at 2.6 miles.

Reach the beautiful Pete Lake at and elevation of 3000 and 4.4 miles in distance. Realize this is just a minor precursor of what is to come.

Continue on your way and stick left on the trail, as the right will lead you to Waptus Lake. You will now be heading west towards Spectacle Lake.

At 5.7 miles, the quickest route to your destination is to ford Lemah Creek. You will travel through marshy meadows and reach the PCT after 0.8 miles.

However, if the creek deep and running too quickly, it may be necessary to travel an addition 0.8 miles for the PCT across a bridge to the left over the creek. After 1.9 miles, the Pete Lake Trail will end and you will now be on the PCT.

At this point, the once luscious forest turns to an area that exposes the chard remnants of a fire from 2009.

Continue on the PCT to the left and in the south direction. Begin gaining some significant elevation via switchbacks as you climb over Delate Meadow.

At 8.5 miles, cross a bridge over Delate Creek and humbly witness the power of the beautiful Spectacle Falls. Look north, as the view here is gorgeous and a sign of what is to come.

Spectacle Lake spur trail awaits your arrival at mile 9.5. After a decent upward gaunt of 0.4 miles along rocky ledges, arrive at a parkland at 4400 feet where the true beauty of the lake begins to shed it light.

Look to the west as the guardians of the lake, Chikamin Peak and Lemah Mountain, create a gorgeous backdrop for the sparkling blue body of water. Venture to the shores of the lake and dive in, just to say you did it.

Set up camp at an established campsite, leave no trace and take in the views of a true gem in the wilderness.

Pack List

  • Northwest Forest Pass
  • Overnight backpack and the 10 Essentials
  • Camera
  • Waterproof hiking boots
  • Trekking poles
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RT Distance 20 Miles
Elevation Gain 1760 Feet
Activities Photography, Swimming, Backpacking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Dog Friendly


Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

2 Nights are Better

Great hike but would do it again staying the first night at Pete lake. It’s too much to hike up one day and back the next. Plus it would be nice to enjoy the lakes each day instead of being rushed. It was amazing though. The views were spectacular!

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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