Hike to Melakwa Lakes via Denny Creek Trail

Denny Creek Trail

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
Show More
RT Distance 9 Miles
Elevation Gain 2300 Feet
Activities Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Forest
Lake
River
Scenic
Waterfall

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Best Solo-Hike

I was having a rough week and wanted some nature therapy so I picked this one from my bucket list. Definitely was not disappointed! In 9 miles you get magical views of the forest, waterfalls, meadows, boulders, and a beautiful lake at the end! Also did this one by myself (like a big girl) so I had plenty of time to reflect and by the end of the hike I felt very refreshed (and hungry). Definitely recommend waterproof hiking boots for this one because you pretty much have to walk through the creek and a lot of rocky paths which can be harsh on your feet if you don't have the right support!

Awesome!

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

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.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

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

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Scramble up Kaleetan Peak

208 Saves

Hit the Denny Creek Trail to Kaleetan Lake

82 Saves

Tackle Beautiful McClellan Butte

125 Saves