Hike to Gem Lake
Washington › Snow Lake Trailhead
Added by Shelby Pothier
This is an insanely beautiful hike through alpine meadows to a secluded lake that feels very far away, while still being very close to Seattle.
The trail to Gem Lake lies along the same trail that passes by the incredibly popular Snow Lake. While the masses typically stop the first place they can along the shores of Snow Lake, fewer make the short trek from there up to Gem Lake. Park at the giant lots at the end of the road to Alpental (and get there early, because the lots and the trail will fill up quickly!), fill out your trail permit at the trailhead, and then follow the trail back through the valley and then up the ridge along the switchbacks. Right when you start to break a real sweat, you've reached the saddle of the mountain and are peering over to Snow Lake. Continue along down into the basin and around the lake, passing many day use areas and campsites. You'll soon leave the crowds behind and come to a fork in the trail. Hang a left and follow the sign towards Gem Lake. Follow the trail as it winds back down to the shores of Snow Lake, over a log bridge, and up through avalanche chutes with chirping pikas and meadows full of bushes heavy with berries. Soon you'll come around a stark rocky ridge to the beautiful, secluded Gem Lake.
If you want to make this an overnight, check out this adventure: https://www.theoutbound.com/wa...
- Shoes or boots that are comfortable on the rocky trail
- Bathing suit
- Permit filled out at the trailhead
- Northwest Forest Pass or America the Beautiful Pass for parking
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
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
Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Yoga
Spring, Summer, Autumn
Are we missing something?Suggest an edit
More Adventures Nearby
Camp at Salt Creek
Washington / Salt Creek Campground
Spend a relaxing night camping at the Salt Creek County Park. This family-friendly adventure can be a perfect overnight getaway for anyone in need of some easy-access outdoors time.
Snowshoe to Amabilis Mountain
Washington / Cabin Creek Sno Park
To reach Amabilis Mountain, park at the Cabin Creek Sno Park at Exit 63 off I-90. Take the overpass across the highway to the trailhead and strap on your snowshoes.