Hike to Snow Lake, WA

Washington Snow Lakes Trail

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This amazing hike is located just an hour away from Seattle, Washington. It offers year round enjoyment, and spectacular views. In September you can find huckleberries everywhere alone the trail. 

This hike gets crowded fairly quickly so get there early. The parking lot is very large so parking is not really a problem.  There are bathrooms at the very beginning of the trail so I highly suggest using them. However at the top there is also a designated restroom area. Starting at 2600 ft, this hike has a nice and steady incline the entire trip. 

For this hike, you will end up starting in a forested area and at the trail head there are numerous signs warning about bears in the area.  On our trip we only saw Pika's and a few birds. The fall foliage starts as soon as you reach the first break in trees which is less than 10 minutes into the hike. 

As you are hiking and are about to hit the biggest incline area of the hike, there will be a fork in the road and a sign pointing to both Source Lake and Snow Lake, at this sign you want to go up the switchback toward Snow Lake. After this point is where you really start to get some views to the south of the resort. 

Once to the highest point of the hike the trail forks again. To get to the lake follow the trail to the right. However, I suggest going to the left first because there is a rock formation about 100 to 200 feet down the path there and the little energy you will exert to get there is definitely worth it. Up on this rock formation you get your first glimpse of the lake down below and on a sunny day you can see into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness to the northeast. This is a great spot to have lunch at. 

Once you finished here I highly suggest walking down towards the lake. Here you can get amazing views of the rest of the lake which was previously hidden by a mountain. There are also a lot of camp sites for which you can camp at. Down here the trail gets a little tricky because it juts off in to every direction, it takes some exploration to find a way down to the lake at this point. However, huckleberries are everywhere around the trail down here. Before eating berries, please make sure that you know that it is an actual huckleberry and not one that will poison you. 

If you would like to keep hiking, Gem Lake is just 2 more miles down the trail. All in all this hike takes a few hours, we got there at 10:30am and got back to Seattle around 4:00pm. We also had a dog, which slowed us down a bit and we took a long lunch break and a fun break once at the top.  

Pack List

  • Sturdy boots
  • Camera
  • Water
  • Snack/lunch
  • Backpack
  • Northwest Forest Pass
  • Alpine Lake Wilderness pass (found at the trailhead, please fill this out so they can get more funding)

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    How to Get There

    2 months ago

    Trail Run It!

    This was an amazing trail with even better views. I trail ran it yesterday (June) and it was still fully covered in snow so be careful of navigation as I got turned around a few times.

    2 months ago

    11 months ago


    this hike is one of the best within an hour of seattle

    11 months ago

    Added by Austin Johnson

    I am a college student living in Kirkland, Washington exploring the PNW.


    Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

    Skill Level:



    Year Round

    Trail Type:



    7.2 Miles

    Elev. Gain:

    1800 Feet



    Dog Friendly
    Easy Parking
    Family Friendly
    Food Nearby
    Cliff Jumping
    Swimming Hole

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