Snowshoe and Camp at Skyline Lake
Washington › Skyline Lake Trail
Added by Beau Ramsey
Skyline Lake offers a great snowshoe experience with normally low avalanche danger. There's typically a well beaten path in the snow to the lake, making whiteout conditions or traveling at night easier for beginners and with only 2.5 miles roundtrip and 1,050' of elevation gain, you can experience a splendid snow adventure with minimal efforts. This hike is great in the summer, but I definitely prefer the winter.
This 2.5 mile roundtrip hike with a little over 1,000 feet of elevation gain is a great winter trip for beginners. The trail is typically well-worn, making it easy to stay on target even in some of the most difficult conditions.
If you have route finding and off trail skills, you can venture out to explore nearby Rock Gardens, Sky Mountain, and Heather Ridge. Another great option is to snow camp at the edge of Skyline Lake and explore these nearby destinations. The views from the lake are open and vast. It can get busy on weekends when the snow is good, so give a weekday a try or heck, go hike at night. Pick a clear night to enjoy the stars and the lights glowing from nearby Stevens Pass.
Locate a snowy road left of a residence and electric substation. This will be just north of the parking lot, which is also north of highway 2. Walk up the snowy road, passing more residences and ski area buildings. At about 0.2 mile come to a gated road beside a power pole. This is your route to Skyline Lake. Climbing steeply, the way passes more utility buildings, occasionally breaking out of forest to open snowy slopes and Stevens Pass ski slopes.
At 0.75 mile pass an interesting utility tower (elev. 4875 ft). Continue up the road another 0.25 mile to a Y junction (elev. 5050 ft). The main road travels right, ending at a cell tower. A good view east to Nason Ridge. Its worth going to the cell tower for the views. The way to Skyline, however, is left, on a lighter jeep track that eventually becomes a single-track trail. A final easy push through snowy meadows delivers you to intimate Skyline Lake (elev. 5100 ft).
From Everett head east on US 2 for 65 miles to Stevens Pass (elev. 4056 ft). Park on the north side of the pass, careful not to block any driveways or access roads.
- 10 essentials
- Trekking Poles
- Snow Jacket
- Warm Winter Base Layers
- Warm Beanie
- Waterproof Boots
- 4 season tent if camping
- Sleeping Pad
- Snow Shovel
- Appropriate Winter Sleeping Bag
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Backpacking, Camping, Chillin, Hiking, Photography, Skiing, Snowboarding, Snowshoeing
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My favorite snow shoe, thus far
I have done this a few times, rather easy, with a few switch backs, they make for a fun powder scramble on the way down. At the top, be sure to take nuts to share with the gray jays, who will eat out of your hand, top of your head, or perhaps straight from your mouth? Get there early to get a parking spot. It is pretty easy to navigate, full of back country skiers, and quite a few tents at the top. The highlight is definitely the descent, forgo the switchbacks and hit the powder, keep the legs churning and make an adventure out of it!
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