• Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    5.4 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    1350 Feet

Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Forest
Lake
Scenic
Waterfall

Explore old growth hemlock and cedar forest protected since 1947 by the Lake 22 Research Natural Area. Along the hike, you'll take in stunning views of Whitehorse Mountain to the north, beautiful wildflowers and wild berries in summer, and several small waterfalls just off the trail.

If you're looking for a taste of the Mountain Loop Highway area, but don't have it in you for a longer, steeper journey, look no further than Lake 22. The trail starts out as flat and well-maintained, from the parking lot, before becoming a true mountain rainforest trail. Water and dampness are fairly ubiquitous on this trail, so be prepared with your footwear!

At 0.6 miles, you'll be offered a break from the watery trail and cross the bridge over Lake 22 Creek. There are several waterfalls in this area, so stop and enjoy the view. At 1.5 miles, you'll leave the old growth forest and start climbing a talus slope - on a clear day you'll have great views of the surrounding mountains from this section of the trail. About another half mile onwards, and you'll reenter the forest.

The final climb to Lake 22 is the wettest (and therefore lushest!), so again be prepared for getting those boots muddy or wet. You'll pop out at the lake after just 2.7 miles, and have the expansive north face of Mt. Pilchuck towering over you.

There is a combined boardwalk and trail that circumnavigates the lake. The trail has recently been updated with new construction, but prior to this, it had been noted that you should only attempt this if you are a well-seasoned hiker that can read the conditions well, that there's a boulder field on the far end of the lake and can be difficult to navigate and that there's the potential for seasonal avalanches on this side, as well. If you feel most comfortable staying off the path or don't want to add the mileage, there are plenty of great spots along the path to stop and have a snack and take in the view!

On your way back through Granite Falls, stop and get some delicious Mexican food at Playa Bonita.

Getting there: Take Highway 92 to Granite Falls, then follow signs for the Mountain Loop Highway. Continue 10.5 miles further to enter the Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest - the Lake 22 trailhead will be on your right in another 2.5 miles.

Pack List

  • 10 essentials
  • Plenty of water and snacks
  • Waterproof hiking boots
  • Rain gear
  • Northwest Forest Pass
  • Camera
  • Snowshoes (if hiking in winter)
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Reviews

Overall rating: 

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I normally don't hike the same place twice but with lake 22 it's different. It's an easy hike that is great for everyone (kids,dogs,beginners)! The trail is very well maintained I can honestly say that this is where my love for nature started. I've hiked to the lake in the summer and fall (today!) but I definitely plan on going back during winter and spring. It's not too long of a hike either and trust me - the minute you hit the boardwalk and see the lake with the mountains in the background, it'll all be worth it.

5 months ago
5 months ago

The switchbacks and the high traffic took away from the hiking experience. Definitely get there early, and be prepared to work hard for the final destination. Once at the lake, WALK AROUND IT. To me, that was the most rewarding.

6 months ago
6 months ago

This hike has tons of things to do and see! Beautiful waterfalls, wild flowers, and a serene lake to take a dip in. Only issue we encountered was the smoker air due to the BC wildfires, otherwise it was a great work out and hike!

7 months ago
7 months ago

Just did this hike early this morning. We got to the trailhead early, about 730am because it being summer and a Saturday I was prepared for crowds. It was a good call considering everything I heard about the popularity of this hike was true. We managed to get a parking space and make our up to the trail which is very well maintained all the way throughout. I recommend good, waterproof hiking boots due to streams and small waterfalls running over the trail, but none of them will submerge your feet. The lake is beautiful and there is a trail that continues around the entire lake providing up close views of the northern shoulder of Pilchuck. It was 85 degrees today but there is still some snow up there that is easily passable. Most of it is melted and will be gone within the oncoming weeks. My only real complaint is that there is not really any ideal places to post up to relax or grab a bite other than just sitting on the edge of the wooden walkway. Overall, I recommend the hike but unless it's the rainy or snowshoeing season, stick to the weekdays and no matter what, go early!!

8 months ago
8 months ago

Have done this hike multiple times in the Winter as well as Summer, it looks great covered in snow. The mountain walls around the lake are stunning for not very much effort.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

I did this hike when around 7 years ago. After a lot of up, we emerged into an incredible scene of a frozen lake surrounded by snowy cliffs. Absolutely beautiful and definitely worth the climb!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

I went mid April, when there was still some snow and it was was pretty!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Loved this hike! You get to see a little bit of everything which is awesome; rainforest, waterfalls, mountain views, and a lake! It's challenging in that the terrain is tough, but it's not too steep and the views are to die for. Definitely do the extra loop around the lake, it's worth it. The only reason I gave it four stars is because it's very populated, if you're looking for solitude this is not the hike for you!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Hiked Lake 22 a week ago with my 12 and 14 year old brother and sister. It was a sunny saturday and it was packed. It was a beautiful hike though and we added another mile by going all the way around the lake.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

I hiked up to lake 22 in May. It was a very wet hike due to rain making the trail slippery. However the views at the lake make the hike totally worth it! The water is a deep blue green all surrounded by snow and trees! I would definitely go again.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

One of my favorite hikes on the Mountain Loop Highway. It's a very well maintained path that starts off nice and easy and only gets a little more difficult due to a portion of the path being largely broken rocks. That being said I would suggest to bring sturdy shoes so you don't roll your ankles on the rocks. Plus it tends to be one of the more wet trails. It offers fantastic views in the first clearing 1.5 miles in then an amazing alpine lake nestled in the northern side of Mount Pilchuck! You should for sure go swimming in this lake and take the trail that goes around it! A Tip is to stay away from the boulder field and the snow opposite of the bridge side there as that can be dangerous. Overall one of those busy well known PNW hikes that I recommend to anybody who wants to hike with family, groups, or there significant other and keep it easy while getting a big reward at the top!

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

Great hike on the first day to hit 70F this year! The trail itself is pretty wet with spots of mud. If you're nimble enough you can get by without waterproof shoes. If not, just wear wool socks. Snow was in abundance on the trail around the lake. Lots of dogs running around jumping on the snow. Very picturesque and high payoff for the amount of effort required. Wish I could submit a photo!

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

Such a rad hike all year round! Always changing scenery based on the month you visit.

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

Hiked in February, we experienced a maintained trail that became very slick with lots of snow and ice about halfway up. On the way to the lake, the views sneak up behind you. Beautiful, sweeping panoramic of alpine peaks contrast artfully against the evergreens. The lake was frozen and mostly covered in snow in February. Will definitely return for a fresh experience this summer.

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

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