Lake 22 Hike
Saturday August 26 2006
Lake 22 is described in the book as a difficult hike. 2.7 miles one way, with 1315 feet of elevation gain. The book talks about scrambling over rocks and wet roots, but we found the trail to be in great shape - of course, we took the hike at the end of August in the driest summer ever recorded in Seattle. Perhaps the trail is more challenging under wetter conditions; we found the trail to in excellent condition and it was a pleasant hike up to the lake. Nor does the book mention that the trail extends all the way around the lake. There are boardwalks over the marshy spots, so you can easily complete a walk all the way around. It is possible that the path around the lake is a recent feature, the next edition of the book will have to be updated. I would guess the walk around the lake adds one mile to the round trip, which is 5.4 miles if you just do the trail up and back. But if you do make it to the end of the trail, why not enjoy a saunter around the lake shore?
Lake 22 trailhead is pretty easy to find, it is just 13 miles outside of Granite Falls, there is a roadsign pointing to the parking lot. Lake 22 apparently gets its name from Creek 22, which drains it. The imaginative name comes from the fact that it was the 22nd creek that the railroad had to cross. The trees in the area are magnificent, no sign of logging here. Apparently, in 1940's the area was set a side as an ecological test area.
The first part of the trail is nice. Big trees with moss. Plenty of shade. You will cross over Creek 22 on a sturdy bridge. The trail will then switchback gently back and forth. A few times, the trail takes you close to falls in Creek 22. I had to step off the trail to some well worn vantage points to get a clearer view of these falls.
There is a stretch of trail that leaves the shady forest and climbs through a more exposed terrain. But we had started pretty early and it wasn't too hot. The book warns that this is a popular weekend hike, so the early start also paid off with less crowding.
The trail climbs through some more trees, but it did not seem that strenous. I would recommend this trail over the Heather Lake trail, which seemed tougher and steeper, even though it is shorter and has less elevation gain. Maybe we were just fresher on the Lake 22 trail because we did it first.
Lake 22 is quite nice. We took the path clockwise around. There are tall mountains right along the south and west shore. I have not been able to find any where on the Internet if these mountains have names. Because of the height of the mountains, they shield the south side of the lake from direct sunlight, so even on August 26th of a long hot summer there was still some snow on the ground. It is possible that earlier in the season the loop around the lake is buried under snow. This is a great hike!
click on thumbnail to see large panorama photo of Lake 22
Click on any thumbnail to open photo in new window. I placed most of the photos roughly in the order in which I took them, so the sequence of sights is what you would see if walking the trail.
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