We didn’t get out this past weekend because we were moving our stuff a mile up the road to a new little townhouse in Capitol Hill. Here’s a little flashback to our hike to Snow Lake last month!
Snow Lake is the perfect hike if you want to stick close to Seattle and want a lot of bang for your buck. It’s not long or steep compared to some alpine lake hikes (looking at you, Rachel Lake!) and you’re treated to a beautiful lake view after just about two miles. What’s not to love?
Skeptical husband is ready to go!
We started our trek in the main parking lot of the Alpental Ski Resort on a misty Saturday morning in September. Ski season is still a few months away, so all those cars you see? Just hikers– and true to the WTA page, there were a lot of them. Fortunately, most people seemed to drop off after the first lookout point and the trail never felt too crowded.
The route to Snow Lake starts out with a climb out of the parking area that gradually gives way to hills filled with color. The mist that had followed us from the highway eventually burned off and we were treated to a pretty, mostly sunny day.
Despite hiking around Seattle for almost a year now, this was our first pika sighting. We heard this little guy (or gal) before we saw it. At first I thought it was a bird, until I managed to spot this little patch of fur sitting on a rock. They remind me a little bit of chipmunks, if chipmunks had slightly cuter ears and a really high pitched little voice.
To find our first sighting of Snow Lake, we went about 20 feet off the trail and climbed up a small boulder. The view from this little spot enough to make you feel like you’ve accomplished something. The trail drops down after this lookout spot and continues to wind around the lake along the right side of this photo.
90 minutes after leaving the parking lot, we reached the classic view of the lake (sans snow, of course!) The trail kept going, but we decided to call it a day here and head back to Seattle for dim sum.
In terms of general splendor and accessibility, I’d rank Snow Lake a smidge above Talapus and Olallie Lakes. The Snow Lake trail is a bit tougher, but the reward is greater and there’s more lakeside space to stop and take a quiet moment for yourself. I’d recommend doing Snow Lake in the spring/summer/fall (it’s virtually inaccessible in the winter and definitely not a good trip to take without avalanche training) and Talapus and Olallie in the winter with good, waterproof shoes.
Any recommendations for which alpine lakes we should check out next?