Hike to Melakwa Lakes via Denny Creek Trail

Washington Denny Creek Trail

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Start off with a quick glimpse of Denny Creek’s Waterfalls, and once you pass them, expect for the crowd to dissipate. Once you reach Melakwa, get your shot of Chair and Kaleetan Peaks’ reflections in the lake.

This hike has it all: old-growth forests, rivers, waterfalls, alpine lakes, views, peaks, and so on. The hike starts from near Denny Creek Campground in between the separate I-90 viaducts. Almost immediately, you will cross over a walk bridge over Denny Creek's waterfalls, and then eventually under the westbound I-90 viaduct, which, from the old-growth forest underneath, is a cool, almost-post-apocalyptic site. Keep following the trail, which passes over Denny Creek in several places. After a few miles, you'll have great views of Keekwulee falls. After some elevation gain, at about 4 miles into the hike, you'll make it to Hemlock pass, which is the starting point for some downhill hiking until you reach lower Melakwa Lake.

Once at the lake, you have the option to travel to the north end of the lake which will give you access to the second upper Melakwa lake. Both lakes provides great views of Kaleetan Peak and Chair Peak.

Once you're ready to head back, just return on the trail the way you came.

Pack List

  • Northwest Forest Pass
  • Backpack
  • Tent
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Backpacking Stove
  • Cookware
  • Utensils
  • Food
  • Bugspray
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Activities:

Hiking

Skill Level:

Intermediate

Season:

Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

9 Miles

Elev. Gain:

2300 Feet

Rating:

Features:

Bathrooms
Forest
Lake
River
Scenic
Waterfall

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about 1 year ago

Awesome!

Done this hike a few times...love the varying scenery and the lake conditions are always different!

about 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

Did this as a backpacking trip on a rainy September weekend and it was great. Even on the rainy weekend the sites were filled up by the evening that are situated around the lake. There are only a few as some are in restoration. Plenty to explore as you can hike mostly all the way around Melakwa Lake and Upper Melakwa Lake.

over 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

Good steep hike with lots of variety, including a large falls and natural waterslides on the way to the lakes.

over 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

Accidentally turned this into a very long day hike. Set out to do a quick out and back 3 mile trip to Denny Creek, the adventuring spirit lead us all the way to Melakwa Lake which is beautiful and well worth the sweat and energy expended. Pack plenty of water and snacks. There are a number of overnighters at the lake and continuing beyond. With the elevation changes it is definitely a hard day hike, that is well worth it,

over 1 year ago

over 2 years ago

Enjoyable hike. Some exposed spots, so on hot days make sure to bring plenty of water for yourself and any four-legged buddies.

over 2 years ago

Added by Scott Kranz

Full-time commercial and editorial photographer specializing in outdoor sports, lifestyle, landscapes, and travel photography.

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