Mileage: 11 miles
Elevation Gain: 2700 ft
Map: Green Trails Stevens Pass No. 176
Favorite Eats After Hike: Wallace Falls Cafe
As always, practice Leave No Trace. Pretty Please.
6/10/2016 I headed up after work today with my rain gear, thought I would try for Glacier Lake. This is my 3-4 time up this trail so I felt pretty sure I could make it before I ran out of daylight. I just had my trail runners and poles (and 10 essentials) with me today.
I left the TH at around 1:40pm and there were no other cars in the parking lot. The light, intermittent rain so far today was just enough to get all the foliage along the trail wet so I had put on my rain skirt by the time I got to the log bridge over Surprise Creek. The trail was fairly brushy all the way to Surprise Lake but not overgrown. There are several large trees down along the way but nothing you can’t go under or over. I’m going to give the folks cutting switchbacks the benefit of a doubt that maybe the trail was snow covered at one point but there really isn’t any excuse now. One of the things I love about this trail is when the water is flowing (and there was a lot of it today) it runs under several of the talus fields as underground streams. It’s fun to hear as you are hiking along (unlike water you hear under snow you are walking on).
The trail didn’t have any snow until you get just before the junction for Trap Pass and it was just a few patches. I first went right down to the lake, there were a few spots of snow before the creek log crossing (which was higher than normal) and then the trail was fairly covered with snow around the lake. I wasn’t postholing much, the snow was pretty firm. I arrived about 4:00 but I only went a little ways and then headed back to the junction because I wanted to head up the trail towards Trap and the PCT towards Glacier Lake to see what the trail was like.
You can tell not a lot of folks are taking this section, the trail was a more overgrown and there was at least one significant log to climb over. Not much snow.
At the junction with the PCT, I headed south and encountered more snow but nothing too sketchy and just a few branches I could toss of the trail, only one smashed cedar log before Glacier to go over. I sure wish they would have an actual sign on the PCT for Glacier instead of just the “camp” sign. The sign is about 20ft down the side trail! This lake was melted out like Surprise with just a little holdout patch of white floating in the water. I made it to Glacier Lake around 5:20pm but didn’t stay long because it was raining with some hail tossed in for good measure. There is enough snow melted off the boulders at the lakeshore that you can get down to the water without any problems.
I hiked back and took the Surprise Creek trail down to Surprise Lake completing the triangle. This time I wondered out to the viewpoint at the lake. The rain was letting up and the fog moving in. Pretty but eerie.
I was back to my car by 8pm with plenty of light left, feet wet and ready for a warm car. Didn’t see another soul, I guess the rain kept folks away today.
Directions: Drive US 2 east to Skykomish and then continue for another 10 miles. Turn right (just after passing the Iron Goat Interpretive Site on your left) into a large paved turnout. Cross the railroad tracks and turn right, following a narrow and bumpy dirt road 0.3 mile to the TH. It is a very small parking lot but it does have a picnic table and pit toilet.
For more hikes on HWY 2, click HERE.