Merritt Lake Trail is a 4.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Leavenworth, WA that features a lake. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking, mountain biking, and snowshoeing.
Directions from Lake Wenatchee: Take State Route 207 south, then U.S. Highway 2 west to Forest Service Rd #657. Follow 657 north for approximately 1.5 miles to the trailhead.
The lake is definitely worth the hike. It's absolutely beautiful. We started early with no bugs or other impediments. I would change the trail category from moderate to difficult: maybe because I am 75. It definitely is worth the effort, but keep in mind, it's straight up most of the way.
Good directions to the access point off leading the highway. Almost exactly 9.9miles from Stevens Pass (Heading East). The road into the parking lot is a bit rough and low clearance vehicles need to be careful. The hike is a good work out for the legs. Best to arrive early in the day as there were quite a few people heading up the hill when we were walking out, a total of 34 people headed up and most were spending the night, so I presume a less than peaceful evening was spent by all. The mosquitoes by the lake were fierce and bug spray is a must alternatively just keep walking and head up to Lost Lake. Overall a fun outing and a nice way to escape the city. Using poles makes it much easier on the knees on the way down.
(Nov. 3rd, 2015)
Merritt Lake trail isn't lengthy, but there is a deceptive front-loaded steepness that will leave lesser hikers gasping for breath. The lake itself was lovely, as was the trail that became covered in the season's first snow midway up. Guess who forgot their snowshoes after a winter storm!
We suffered damp toes because the day was so lovely. Not a soul to break the forest's rejuvenating silence either. In fact, the quietude allowed us to stumble upon a mamma doe and her yearling fawn--a rare event in our experience on Washingtonian hikes.
Started late, around 10:30 a.m. but had lunch at Lake Merritt. Then I hiked on up to the pass behind the lake and dropped down (literally!) to Lost Lake. Coming back up from Lost Lake was much easier than going down. It was a beautiful day, temp around 70, very few bugs to contend with. I met 2 ladies on the way back, but that was all I met on the trail. The trail was in good shape except for the drop down to Lost Lake. All in all, a very enjoyable hike.
Went up the trail around 9:30. One way rocky bumpy drive on the way up to the trailhead and down. The trail was very steep and narrow 40% of the time. Got near what was probably alpine view lots of melting snow banks blocking the path great view and proximity to melting snow banks and waterfalls but did not make it to the lake. Got back around 2 to the trail head. About 4 hours total. Mosquitoes but repellent kept em away. No signs of bears but a report a few days prior stated there were some bears.
Merritt Lake is not worth spending time at unless you go when the bugs aren't there yet. The hike is beautiful though. We hike beyond Merritt, up and over the ridge to Lost Lake. A difficult journey but the isolated, peaceful lake is just what one needs to escape. One down side: most of the season the mosquitoes are killer. Some of the photos I posted are of Lost Lake, not Merritt.
Although I am new to hiking, and don't feel qualified to rate this trail, the kids and I did have a nice time. No viewpoints to speak of until you get to the lake, but nice scenery none the less.
Short steep hike to a nice medium size lake. It rained the whole 3 miles up and did the same on the way back down, however gave us a break at the top when we had lunch so that was nice. Fall colors not as bright as they will probaly get yet. Hot soup and cocoa at top made up for the cold day nicely expecialy for all the kids. Not the best hike but worth doing once maybe a 2nd time to find lost lake that is above it on the map, but dont see trail to it. No snow yet but feels like its close.