Mileage: 5.4 miles RT
Elevation Gain/Highest: 1368ft/2418ft
Map: Green Trails Granite Falls No 109 and Silverton No 110, my GAIA
12/21/2017 I didn’t realize until I came to post about this hike today that I only seem to do it around the same time of year! We started just before 9am with just two other cars in the parking lot (yes, only 2!). I chose to put on microspikes right from the beginning because I am recovering from an injury and there was snow and ice on the trail making it slick. Plus, you add all the wood structures and it is an accident waiting to happen. As it was still early in the morning, everything wet from the day before was frozen expect for where some stream run directly over the trail.
At .75 miles in we came to the sturdy bridge over the creek from Lake 22 and the first set of falls. It was so good to be back out on the trail and hearing the sound of rushing water over the dark boulders. The trail continued to climb gradually and the multiple sets of check steps put in to keep the trail from eroding were filled with water and ice. At about 1.1 miles we came to the second, larger waterfall and stood to watch the water cascade down into the ebony pool below.
The views from the switchbacks at 1.5 miles up opened up and we could see the Mountain Loop valley below us and the Boulder River Wilderness and Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie forest spread out along the horizon. Liberty, Three Fingers, Bear, Sperry, Vesper, Dickerman, Big Four and even a tiny peak of Glacier. It was hard to leave but we knew more was coming at the lake.
We arrived at the lake at about 10:22am and the scene was just as I remembered it. There was only one other hiker and he was heading around to the left to circumnavigate the lake so we had the place to ourselves while we snapped pictures and sat to eat a bite. It was early in the season so the avalanche prone slopes on the backside of Mt.Pilchuck were relatively bare but more snow is sure to come.
Knowing there was a moderate avalanche risk, we decided to finish our snack and follow the boardwalk around to the right a small ways and see the lake from a different angle. After only going a short distance, we ran into the hiker we had seen earlier and he told us that there wasn’t any sign of avy behavior so we set a plan to walk the whole loop around the lake. The snow was deeper here, I imagine because less folks take the path, but it had already been broken through so we did okay with just the spikes. Snowshoes would have been fun but not worth hauling up just for the lake section.
By the time we made it around, the crowds began to arrive and it was a steady stream up the trail as we descended. It was still quite icy and slick but what little warmth the day was providing added a flow of water along a fair amount of the last mile to the parking lot. Although we had traction devices on (and so very glad), we were the odd ones as most were just in trail runners taking careful steps. Just be cautious if you go!
12/20/2016 Since this is a local hike, it’s an easy one to get to during the winter time. For my full trip report, visit Lake 22 12/20/2016
12/28/2014 This was the perfect day to get out and not have to drive up a forest road to get to somewhere beautiful. I made sure to get to the trailhead at first light and I was the first person to the lake. The trail was icy and slippery and my poles came in handy. The nice thing about this trail is that it is very popular and easy to follow, even in the snow. I could have used snowshoes on the trail around the lake but postholing was fun! The snow offered some stark contrast to the red berries on the brush and lake was in the process of freezing over making some gorgeous designs on the surface. The low clouds meant I couldn’t see the face of Mt. Pilchuck but it was easy to imagine it looking overhead.
Directions: Take Hwy 92 to Granite Falls and at the first of three roundabouts, follow the signs for Quarry Rd. Continue on Quarry until it comes to a T with N. Alder St. Turn left towards the Mountain Loop HWY. 13.1 miles ahead, turn right into the short entrance to the Lake Twenty Two TH (hard to miss). The parking area is located around a gravel loop and holds nearly 50 cars. This is a VERY popular hike, expect to see cars spilling out onto the highway if you have slept in. There is a privy available.