Go hiking!

Snow Layers

My husband, dog, and I attempted to hike to Snow Lake on Memorial Day. (Trailhead is located about an hour from Seattle). The entire trail was covered in 2-5′ of snow. About 2 hours in, we finally gave up and turned around after eating lunch on a sun-dried rock, but it was still fun. The turnoff to Snow Lake is actually hard to find, so there is no real destination at this time. I managed to fall through two snow bridges and land in the melted snow runoff (brr). This trail is normally covered with snow well into July, but is extremely popular despite this. Currently I would rank this hike in the more moderate skillset, at least until the snow melts.

This is the view we had while eating our lunch.

If you’re not up to hiking in full snow, I recommend heading north to Heather Lake. (Trailhead is located about 90 minutes from Seattle). The entire thing will take you about 4 hours round trip, but it’s worth it if you want to play in the snow in June. The trail itself is dry for about 3/4 of the way up, then you’ll run into snow. Previous hikers have made the trail fairly visible to the lake, but it can be slick so be careful. This hike is currently on the easier end of moderate, but should be alright for everyone when the snow melts in another month or so.

Falls Below Heather Lake
Falls below Heather Lake

Heather Lake Hike
Part of Heather Lake…surrounded with snow.

Heather Lake Hike
Snow, snow, and more snow.

Heather Lake Hike
And finally, my badly stitched photo showing Heather Lake below Mount Pilchuck.

So if you want to get out of the heat, this Saturday there will be no $5 parking fee at the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest (where the Snow Lake trail is, and many other trailheads). This is the perfect opportunity to go hiking if you haven’t been this year. Coming up…Mount Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park, Lewis & Clark National Historical Park, Fort Vancouver National Historical Site and Whitman Mission National Historic Site all will waive entrance fees the weekends of June 20-21, July 18-19 and August 15-16. (Full list here).

Just FYI, an annual parking pass is only $30 and is good at all trail heads in Washington and Oregon.

And as a public service announcement: I do not recommend hiking in sandals in the snow. It’s cold. I wore these on both hikes, which I admit was a pretty stupid thing to do. Luckily, nothing bad happened.

3 Comments so far

  1. yayunicorns on June 8th, 2009 @ 10:25 am

    do you have any recommendations for a good hike near monroe or north bend? i want to take my friend on a hike (easy to moderate, she’s clumsy) but i also want to take her to either the monroe taco truck or the twin peaks diner.

    i’ve done wallace falls too many times to count so hoping there’s something on 2 that’s worth hiking.
    and as far as north bend goes, i’ve done little si and twin falls and a bunch of others that i’m not remembering.

    any suggestions would be much appreciated. thanks!

  2. wesa on June 8th, 2009 @ 10:32 am

    I really like the Snoqualmie Lake Trail just outside of North Bend. "From Seattle take I-90 East to Exit 34. Turn left at the Stop. In 0.6 mile turn right onto SE Middle Fork Road (#56). Continue for 12.2 miles (gravel road starts in 2.5 miles) to the junction after bridge crossing. Road #56 turns right, but you should go straight on Taylor River Road for another 0.4 mile to the gate. Trailhead is at the gate before Taylor River bridge" Some pics from last fall: http://seattle.metblogs.com/2008/10/22/hiking-near-seattle/ It’s relatively easy with a smidge of moderate. We’re actually camping just a stone’s throw from this trail in a few weekends and likely will spend a few hours on it during the day. You can go as far as you want, it’s about 9.5 miles one way so just turn around whenever you get tired.

    Also there is Tiger Mountain ( http://www.seattlepi.com/getaways/021397/hike13.html ) but that’s actually in Issaquah. It’s busier than the Snoqualmie Lake trail and a bit harder, but the views at the top are worth it.

    I may have a few other suggestions but those two are the ones I personally have been on. Just let me know if you’re interested.

  3. wesa on June 21st, 2009 @ 4:26 pm

    FYI the Tailor River trail is no longer accessible as the bridge has washed out. If you follow the same directions but pull off at about 11 miles at the sign for the Middle Fork trail, you’ll still be able to put in a good hike. Pics and stuff coming up in a day or two.

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