Mileage: 9 miles RT
Elevation Gain/Highest: 1700/4400ft
Map: Green Trails Snoqualmie Pass 207
Despite the cold temperatures, we had a great time on a snowshoe to Kendall Lakes. We waited until things thawed out a bit and got to the pass about 10:30am and were heading up the trail/road at 11am. This trail follows an old road for most of the trek so things are wide and an easy grade. The snow was pretty compact for the first 2 miles or so and there are nice views of the skiers on the slopes. We did see a mix of snowshoers and X-C skiers on the trail, in addition to folks just in boots. Please be aware if you are postholing where skiers and snowshoers travel you are creating a hazard with the holes you make. Avoid walking where you see ski tracks.
The road switchbacked a few times and then we came to a large open junction with tracks in different directions. Checking the map, we went to the left and the road narrows.
It took us about 2.5 hours to get to the first lake. We could see it through the trees first and then came around to a spot where the tracks went down through some trees to the large meadow/tarn area in front of the lake. It was a serene sight with the peak in the background. There were two snowshoers there finishing up lunch and getting ready to head back to the trailhead. We debated our route because the tracks ended here. My friend had been here before but I had not. We could tell on the map where the lake and stream were but not how deep the water was. Hoping to avoid the stream and the gaps in the snow, we went back up a bit to see if there was a route higher up but there was not.
So, as we came back down we were passed by a splitboarder who created a track around the lake that we decided to follow and see how far he was going. We had given ourselves about 30 minutes more before having to head back before the sun went down and temperatures dropped even more. This took us back into the woods and some nice deep powder to march through. The trail has a bit more an incline here.
It didn’t take long to reach the second lake, we did check our map a few times because we wanted to make sure that the path we were following was taking us the right direction. The snow at the lake was virgin, so we made our way down a bit to a spot that was still blocked by the icy wind blowing over the lake. We stamped out a spot to sit and enjoyed hot drinks and lunch. We stayed only long enough to fuel up and then headed back down before our feet and hands got too cold.
The trip back was uneventful, except for some fun sliding down a cut in a switchback on the road and watching the dark snow clouds move in that promise more snow for the pass in the next couple days. We were back down to the cars at 4pm and ready for heated seats!
Directions: Drive east on I-90 to exit 54. From the exit ramp, turn left, crossing under the freeway to reach the Gold Creek Sno-Park. The “parking area” is rough and covered with snow. Park along the side and where you won’t block others. You can buy a snopark pass HERE or go over to the HYAK snopark across I-90 to a kiosk to buy. Only 1-Day passes are available at the kiosk there. There are port-a-potties.