Hike to Snow Lake, WA

Details

Distance

7.2 miles

Elevation Gain

1800 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Added by Austin Johnson

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.  

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Camping
Photography
Backpacking
Hiking
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Forest
Groups
Lake
Scenic
Cliff Jumping
Swimming Hole

Nearby

Reviews

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Challenging!

I only hike maybe 2-3 times a year and this was my longest hike in years. I started at 0700 on September 2, 2020 and completed what I wanted to do at 11:30 reaching the dam between the upper and lower Snow Lake. Along the way I came face to face with a mountain goat. We had a stare down until he got bored and climbed down off the trail and let me pass. The trail was fairly easy with a few slippery points here and there and the trail had very few wet spots. The highlight of the hike for me was the views at Nada Lake. The reflections of the mountain in the lake were stunning. I started back to the trailhead at 12:30. At about the half way point I was exhausted. The return hike was far more challenging as the steep climb now was a steep decline and my feet and legs were feeling the pain as I returned to the trailhead at 4:00. If I had it to do over again, I would have camped at one of the sites and hike back down the next morning. This was a great experience for me and very challenging for a 64 year old.

My life for hikes

Please is beautiful, there are a lot of terrible people on the hike though

about 2 years ago

Wrong map

This Snow Lake is not near Leavenworth.

🥈 Contributor

over 3 years 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.

🥈 Contributor

over 4 years ago

AMAZING

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

387 total saves

4.0/5

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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.

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