My parents were visiting this past week, and it’s been unusually sunny and beautiful for November, so last Saturday we ventured out on a winter hike to Snow Lake.
This hike has been on my list for a while, since it’s described on the Washington Trails Association website as the most visited alpine lake in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. The trail starts out from the same parking lot as the Alpental ski are at Snoqualmie and is 7.2 miles rountrip. Everything I’d read said to start out early to avoid the crowds, and man I’m glad we did! Because of its’ proximity to Seattle (only about 45 minutes away) and relative ease, this is an incredibly popular hike. Especially on the weekends, and even in the snow!
We arrived at the trail head around 8:15, which I’d thought would be plenty early, but the lot was already about half full even at that hour. We set off and loved the hike through the snowy woods.
It was a gorgeous day, and we had beautiful views our entire way up.
We had one tricky crossing at a waterfall, where everyone on the trail was nice enough to help each other across. The rocks were very icy, so hikers helped hold this log in place so that everyone could inch their way across. We were glad we had trekking poles for this part!
I was amazed by the tiny crystals on top of the snowy rocks!
Look at those gigantic icicles!
It’s easy to see why this is such a popular trail. It’s a relatively easy climb about 3 miles up to the ridge where you first get a glimpse of Snow Lake. It was very windy and cold when we were there, but the view was so worth it!
The trail continues over the ridge and down to the lake.
I loved the snow on these rocks – it looked like a blanket covering them!
Lots of crazy little icicles, too!
We followed the trail around the lake for a while in search for the perfect lunch spot – in the sun but out of the wind!
We stopped here to eat and enjoy the view!
The trail continues further around the lake and then on to Gem Lake, which is also on my list for another day! We were getting pretty cold by this point, so after eating lunch we headed back.
Another shot of those giant icicles!
The trail was very icy coming down, and we each fell at least one time. Luckily no one had too bad of a fall, but i’d definitely recommend YakTrax, microspikes, or some other kind of traction shoes if you try winter hiking. We are looking into getting some before our next hike in the snow!
Snow Lake is beautiful, and I recommend this trail, but definitely leave early!! There were hundreds of people hiking up as we were heading back down to our car, and I was so glad that we weren’t in the middle of such a huge crowd on our way up. I can’t wait to head back next summer and check out Gem Lake too!
Distance: 7.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 1800 feet
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