Mileage: 3.7 miles RT
Elevation Gain/Highest: 1100ft/4100ft
Map: Green Trails Benchmark Mountain No. 144, my GAIA
Favorite Eats After Hike: Wallace Falls Café
1/30/2017 I finished with a snowshoe at Skyline Lake before noon, so I decided to head over to another short trip up to Lanham Lake. When I pulled into the lot at the Nordic Center, the gate was up and there were about 5 cars parked. A slow Monday, I guess. I walked around the gate on the right and over to the groomed trail heading up on the left. WTA directions mention the trail starting at the bench (there were tracks going up), but there was also a sign for Lanham Lake just past that. I opted to take that one because it ran closer to the creek, heading up about 11:50am.
The snow was hard and compact like at Skyline, so I didn’t immediately put on my snowshoes. However, after just a few steps I was punching through anyway so I stopped and put them on. More clink, clink, crunch for the day.
The trail weaved through the trees here and there were several intersections with other paths. I opted to continue to take the one the stayed left with the gurgle of the water. The directions had said to keep the creek on my left, so it seemed like a good plan.
The trail as moderate with just a few switchbacks in this half mile section, taking you up eventually to meet with the trail higher up in the woods.
This was a fun little spot, some kind of concrete piling with snow precariously perched on top. You might miss this on the upper trail.
At the end of this section, I came out to a crossing with the groomed ski trails and there was good signage to take me up and under the power lines.
Try not to post hole on this part of the trail, holes are dangerous for skiers!
Once past the power lines, I continued back into the forest. There are multiple paths to take, I imagine all with take you to the lake eventually.
This was a fun track that caught my eye and my first thought was, “What made THAT?”
Then, I noticed it was just two snowballs chasing each other down the slope.
This downed tree was completely encased in snow. How does snow collect UNDER a log??
Despite my best effort to stay left of the creek, the tracks do seem to all cross over it in a wide clearing about another 2/3 mile in, leading you more to the east side of the lake. There is no sound to tell you that you are crossing water, just a few subtle holes in the snow that I mistook for tarn.
Shortly after realizing the creek was now on my right and most of the tracks were heading too far around the other side, I made a course that took me back closer to the creek and straight up. I arrived to the lake at about 1:10pm and ran into the only 2 people I would see on trail at all today. AND, we turned out to have a friend in common. Small world!
The sun came out again for a brief time while I sat and had lunch. There were tons of tracks around and over the lake, another place I won’t be visiting on a weekend. Time for more snow! After resting, I decided to walk around the lakeshore, it seemed pretty safe to do so.
Of course, I probably didn’t venture out more than 20 feet at any given time. Baby steps…
Arriving back at the trailhead at 2:40pm, the wooden kiosk had maps of other snowshoe routes that could be fun to check out if you want more than just the jaunt to lake or are new to snowshoeing and want to practice on more defined trails.
My trip was 4.1 miles RT because I went around the lake. My return trip was 1.86, making it 3.72 miles RT (I forgot to turn GAIA on until a few hundred yards into the trip). I imagine that if you stay to the left of and close to the creek the whole time, the distance will match the miles listed on WTA.
Directions: Drive 5 miles east past the Stevens Pass resort to the Stevens Pass Nordic Center (on the right hand side of HWY 2). Parking is free in the Stevens Pass Nordic Center for snowshoers (snowshoe trails are not maintained by the Nordic Center) but the gate closes at 4pm so park outside it if needed. From the gate, go up the main ramp to the groomed cross-country ski trails (look for the wooden kiosk to your left). You will see a trail leading behind the snowboard bench. You can head up here, or you will see a blue sign for Lanham Lake just past the bench. Either one takes you to the lake eventually. Portable bathrooms are available.