Snow Lake Hike

Sunday October 30 2005

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We took a day hike to Snow Lake. It is listed in Melanie's book "Beyond Mount Si" of 85 terrific hikes with in 40 miles of Seattle. We thought about going further, on to Gem Lake. But it turned out to be a cold day, so we stopped once we got to Snow Lake. Sure enough, we saw snow at Snow Lake. October 30th was probably the latest in the season this trail is not at least partially covered in snow.

Here is Melanie posing at the trailhead. It is just a 3 mile (one way) hike to Snow Lake, about 1300 feet of elevation gain.

At the start of the trail, some industrious souls built a bunch of erosion resisting steps. The first quarter mile or so climbs steeply through the forest.

All the dead ferns along the trail are brown/orange. It was misty and cold

You can see the ski runs on the left side of the picture. The parking lot for the trailhead is at Alpental Ski Area. Fortunately, hiking and ski seasons don't overlap. Since we were late in the year, this popular trail was not too crowded.

We crossed a small stream with a waterfall. I always take pictures of waterfalls, just like my Mom taught me. The second picture shows the water flowing on the other side of the trail, down into the valley.

We spotted some waterfalls on the mountain side across the valley too. I wonder if these turn into raging torrents during the spring melt.

Look at all the snow and fog on the peaks. Since we had been living in California, this kind of weather is novel and exiting. That won't last much longer!

There are some huge rock slides in the area. Moss covered rocks - that's picturesque. So I took a picture.

A mile into the hike, the trail splits. The right hand fork takes you to Snow Lake, the left fork is a half mile jaunt to get an overlook view of Source Lake. We did the Source Lake side trip on the way back.

I like this colorful picture. Yellow leaves. Dead brown ferns. Green moss. Grey rocks that almost look blue.

Our first signs of snow along the trail!

I am not exactly well dressed for a hike in cold weather. I took off my sweatershirt because we were hiking up hill, and I didn't want to get my clothes sweaty and then have them freeze.

After crossing the ridge, we get our first view of Snow Lake through the trees

Melanie on the trail down to the lake. I think there is a lot more snow on the north side of the ridge.

Snow Lake. Looks grey and cold.

This stream feeds into Snow Lake. This at the end point of the 3 mile hike.

There is a ruined cabin at the end of the trail. The book didn't offer any explanation about who built it or when.

Looking across Snow Lake to the mountains on the far side

Another rockslide along the trail.

Snowy mountains. Or are they Misty mountains?

Little yellow mushrooms growing out of a fallen log. Isn't it too cold for fungus? Apparently not.

As we were hiking out, the clouds broke apart and let some sunlight in. Snow Lake looks pretty nice under blue skies in the sunshine!

After we crossed over the ridge, we could look down from the trail into the valley where the ski resort is.

With the fog burned off, we could see the mountains on the other side of the valley clearly.

After we reached the fork in the trail, we took the side branch to Source Lake. I like these colors - dead orange ferns, dead yellow grass, dark green trees and grey/white rock.

This is the stream that flows downhill to Source Lake. I guess this stream is the source of Source Lake?

Source is down below the lookout point, it is mostly obscured by trees and brush along the trail.

This was a nice hike. Next time I will dress warmer!

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For some views about what the hike looks like in warm weather, click here to see Snow Lake in warmer conditions

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