Melakwa Lake via Denny Creek Trail

MODERATE 42 reviews
#10 of 153 trails in

Melakwa Lake via Denny Creek Trail is a 8.5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near North Bend, WA that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

8.5 miles 2660 feet Out & Back

dog friendly





nature trips


trail running







wild flowers





Hike along Denny creek, underneath I-90 past a couple of waterfalls, ending at a high alpine lake.

20 days ago

Nice variety of waterfalls, rivers, large territorial views, rivers. Last 20 or so minutes of the hike were the steepest but not too intense. Excited that I could handle the elevation gain! Most elevation gain I've done so far :) the lake was to die for gorgeous - even on a cloudy day. Took the narrow trail on the left side of the lake against the embankment to the smaller upper river for stunningly gorgeous views! The 2 lakes are connected by a small waterfall. Easy to access the other side of Melakwa at this end of the lake. Highly!!! Recommend doing this!! The smaller lake & going to the other side of Melakwa were beyond gorgeous. Watched & heard a rockslide in the distance, and heard absolutely zilch in other parts of this area. It was just surreal. Spent 90 minutes wandering around by myself & once again met so many nice people.

As I came down to Denny Creek Falls, I walked up towards the falls as far as I could. So beautiful. Wanted to get above the falls, so I found a trail that was parallel to the falls on the left side of the falls. It is definitely not a well traveled path - but obvious that people do take this up to the top where you can see even further up the river bed.

So amazing. So thankful for these experiences. Go & partake! :) happy hiking!

1 month ago

Best hiking for me. Finished in less than 6hrs for the whole trail. It was rocky and muddy after rains. Be careful of the running creeks, need either hiking pole or hiking boots to cross them.

1 month ago

Great trail for avid hikers. Definitely felt longer than 8.5 miles though. About 1/4 of the trail is exposed to the sun so beware of that. The trail is also quite rocky with overgrown shrubs.

2 months ago

Love this trail every part is different, my husband and I went once with our 2 year old, only about 1/3 of the way.

Then went back a day or so later just the 2 of us to hike up to the lake. It was amazing and beautiful! I loved all the different scenery and views.

The bugs at the lake however were not so great.

Also bring sunscreen because you are in the sun for a good part of the trail.

We will most defiantly be back up & do some more exploring on the other trials closer to the top!

2 months ago

Departed the Denny Creek trail in in thick fog and a lite mist at 9:30. Crossing the creek wasn't too slippery which was nice. However, as you continue onto the "main trail" the conditions became a bit more challenging, but still achievable.

The trail consists a lot of walking and balancing on rocks that are about shoe length, and compact dirt (which was muddy/slippery on the hike up). Nothing too difficult. However there were times when the rocks that you had to find the right footing on did become quite annoying (heads up). The occasional water break was needed.

I checked the elevation once I reached the top before descending down to the lake and I got 4610 feet. My group made it to the lake shortly after 11:45. We are lunch and walked around the lake for about an hour and hiked down to Denny Creek by about 2:15.

I didn't log the trip (forgot to press start on map my hike whoops), however it did feel more than 8.5 miles. Wouldn't be surprised if it's about 10miles or so.
Would definitely do it again on a warmer day so I could enjoy the lake.

Recommended gear:
Mid-high Boots
Walking stick (if wet conditions)
Bug spray
Extra socks

2 months ago

Great experience; not wilderness anymore.

3 months ago

Great hike today. Did not see anyone going up to the lake, saw a few coming down from the lake on my way up. But on my way down, the trail was packed with families going to the swim slides on Denny Creek.

3 months ago

Did this trail today with wonderful weather. Overall good trail with a gorgeous lake as your reward. A beautiful waterfall on your way up. Quite a few fallen trees and muddy sections but nothing really difficult. Check your navigation on your phone often to make sure you are on your right track. Have fun and enjoy :) Btw map my hike recorded 11 miles and my feeling is telling me it's longer than 8.5 miles so be prepared.

4 months ago

One of my new favorite hikes, but it's definitely pretty tough navigating the trail through the snow at the top. It was so beautiful though that it made it well worth it.
The lake is still mostly frozen over.

4 months ago

4 months ago

Past two groups w missing hikers4/3.. This is the absolute best hike in the pass but tread carefully!!!!! One will loose the trail several times on this hike.... As of today , please gear up and bring a map(gps)... I found both missing hikers and they were reunited w their groups! Again, this hike was epic but please be careful.

4 months ago

First off this trail was LIT. The snow was so raw tho and it was tough to keep on the trail at times but damn was this hike worth it. Landslides and snow tried to get us off track but we weren't phased by that ish. We powered thru and found that lake at the end of the trail. That lake was bout 80% ice, like Gucci youknowwhatimsayin. Shame, but didnt stop us from jumpin like jordan into that ish. We were tired af tho and dreaded that hike back but its good. We navigated that ish like my boy Lew and Clark on the way there. I cannot say enough bout this hike tho. 5 outta 5 fo real.

4 months ago

Be really careful if you're going to this trail before the thaw. I walked in on an active search and rescue. I didn't get the whole story, but it sounded like he got lost. Not very surprising; the upkeep of the trail after the waterfall is pretty bad. once I hit the snow packs they were almost impossible to cross without falling through even with snowshoes.
I intended on camping at the lake, but I was losing light and had already lost the trail. I was very disappointed. lol there's nothing worse than carrying a full pack and then having to turn back.
I will say it's an awesome hike to where you can get. I'll definitely be doing it again.

7 months ago

hard but beautiful. the water was crystal clear and cool. the water is fun on a hot day, but bring tons of water for the hike

11 months ago

This trail is beautiful. The creek was rushing very heavily when we went through and it was a large group of us. Some had to turn back (some dogs couldn't cross.) It was a nice trail because it wasn't packed with people, like so many along I90 can be. It was a little more effort to get to the trailhead, and I think that was a part of it.

1 year ago

The trail was challenging but not in a bad way at all.You start put at the Denny Creek TH and make your way past the sliders. There wasnt much water flowing down them at this time of the year... so it was easy to pass! I feel the the trail really begins here. It is a persistant up till you reach the saddle! I took a few breaks and there is no shame in my game. :)

Tips: Bring a lot of sunscreen and water on these hot days we have been having. The day was lovely and perfect but then exposed areas of the trail were very warm and intense on my fair skin.

Also, bring your swim suit!! The Lake was freezing but such a relief to dip into... even if it was just for a few seconds. :)

Enjoy this hike! I sure did.

1 year ago

The first half of the climb is easy and the forest crews have really upgraded the trail and put in many wood steps and a new bridge. However, after you reach the granite creekbed, which is a about 100 yrds long, finding the trail uphill is a little difficult because there is another trail that heads a hard left. Stay right with the creek. The forest service told me that the 2nd half of the trail is in poor shape and that they haven't been able to keep it up for more than 5 years. It's overgrown in places. Since I had a my 10 yr old grandson and 12 yr old granddaughter, I didn't go past the waterfalls. I last did the hike about 12 yrs ago and the trail was in much better shape.

1 year ago

Hike was beautiful, varied landscape....beautiful lake. Map my walk recorded 12.5 miles round trip from Denny Creek trailhead. Bring lots of water!

1 year ago

What a hike! We decided to camp at the lake and it was definitely a workout getting there. it probably wouldn't have been so bad if we didn't have our gear strapped to our backs. lots of rocks to scramble over and definitely watch your step! I think it's more than 9 miles roundtrip. my fitbit read 6 miles both days. either way the lake was beautiful!