Hike to Gem Lake

Snow Lake Trailhead - Search Nearby - 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...

Distance

10 Miles RT

Elevation Gain

1800 ft Gain

Type

Out-and-Back

Activities

Camping, Yoga, Backpacking, Hiking

Easy Parking
Forest
Lake
Swimming Hole

Nearby Lodging

From $55/night

LOGE Leavenworth

Leavenworth, Washington

Leavenworth / Pine Village KOA

Leavenworth, Washington

Seattle / Tacoma KOA

Kent, Washington

Ellensburg KOA

Ellensburg, Washington

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Meandering Trail

The elevation gain is a little off, the trail goes down as almost as much as it goes up, so it is more work than it looks, but it is a beautiful trail. The trail meanders up, down, left, right, and you don't see Gem Lake until you are right on top of it. Wonderful setting with a little snow in the Fall as well.

Jill Kranz

over 2 years ago

Gem Lake

Gem Lake is a great hike! Right now the trail is wet/muddy but no snow. It can get pretty crowded on the weekend as it's a popular hike to Snow Lake.

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