Pratt Lake Trail is a 11 mile lightly 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 June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
From Seattle, E on I-90 to exit 47. Left off the freeway. Left at T in road for .5 miles to trailhead
The trail itself is spectacular..... I really lost count on how many small streams and little waterfalls there were along the way. The lake was pretty disappointing. There are just far more scenic lakes in the area. I have made the approach from three different ways: ira spring, Talapus, and now Pratt/granite... in my personal opinion, The dissent into the prat lake basin.. is just not worth The climb out… (800 ft+ down after 7 or 8 miles and 2500+ heading up) I would recommend the trail though I will never go back… trail conditions: muddy, wet, fun, and so far, no blow downs. Just to be clear… Pratt Lake Trail is not the same as the Talapus /ollalie trail.
Went up last weekend, first backpacking trip. Me and my dad got to the parking lot around 10:00, it was absolutely packed. We had to park about a half a mile from the trail head. Got to Talapus lake in a few hours, it is beautiful but filled with people. Ollalie cost a couple more hours, and had less people, but wasn't as beautiful as Talapus. Made our way to Pratt lake looking for less people. Be wary, there are many sloped switchbacks on the way there, and a detour over some pretty ankle-twisty granite fields. When we got to Pratt we were met with more people than Talaups, but obviously not as much as Ollalie. The lake itself though was incredible. It's the size of both of the previous lakes combined. The trails up there were much less travelled on. There were about 20 or so people camping on the lake, it seemed more cramped because there was only one area that could be camped on, all other parts of the lake were too steep/rocky. Perhaps if we went during a week day, it would have been less populated. Would recommend for a day hike, or for someone hoping to camp next to other people.
we backpacked to the lake. it was a slow incline for about 4 miles enough to get a great workout with the weight of our packs. the last mile descend to the lake is well worth the climb. the trial is well maintained and very well signaled. there is plenty of campground space.
a nice easy hike. the best part is getting down to the lake. the snow is incredibly fun to glide down and even better to climb back up. the lake is gorgeous
The most part of the road was very nice, but there was a quick elavation drop about one mile away from pratt lake. The trail for that section was rocky, slushy. and rough.
Long but great hike.
Lots of unknown plants.
Did this hike on Saturday and it was a great hike. A lot of trees down on the trail and some snow patches. So at times it was difficult to navigate.
Before stepping off, I like reading the Info. board, great job.
Trail needs volunteers to help clear the trails; lots of trees on trail, water crossings, snow packs on trail you need to be carefully decisive - it's melting , you step through the holes.
the signs posted for direction is old and the letters are small and discoloration, keep your head up so you won't miss it.
Lots of great waterfalls! Good for photographs. You can tryout your water purification device. Friendly people and dogs were obedient. Peaceful.
Seattle is spoiled with great trails within an hour of the city. The trails in this area are extremely well maintained generally, however solitude is something you won't likely find unless you travel on a weekday. If you're planning on getting a campsite I would recommend getting to the campground earlier considering the sheer amount of people that make use of the trail.
We did a multiday hike to Pratt Lake the first day, to Melakwa the second day, and then headed back out using the Denny Creek Trail. We decided to go Thursday through Saturday. The timing was nice because Thursday and Friday were almost barren of people, whereas Saturday, when foot traffic become steady, we were on our way out.
If you're looking for a day hike, you can't do much better than hiking to Pratt or Melakwa. However, our relatively uninterrupted multiday route may go down as one of my favorites.
As a side note, although many of the articles and information we read ahead of time stated that hikers should be on the look out for black bears, we didn't see any game of any sort along the trail. We assumed this to be because of the steady foot traffic the area received, however we talked to a forest service ranger on our way up to Melakwa who told us that there wasn't much worry of bears considering the single bear they have seen anywhere close the area is an extremely rare sight.
Lastly, if you're camping in the area, please remember that the camp sites are sub-alpine. For this reason fires are not allowed as the brush on the ground is the only insulation the trees receive during the winter. Using this brush to start a fire would be harmful to the area, so plan accordingly and bundle up if you think weather will become chilly at night.
February many trees were down and over the trail. Sometimes hard to get around in the snow. It is a beautiful nature hike.
The trails was awesome and the lake was great to swim in. I hiked with a friend and both of our gps units recorded over 14 miles on the trail to the Pratt lake campground. This is definitely one of my new favorite trails. It was a bit busy with people hiking in to camp. The trail does connect to Melakwa as well. Getting there early helps avoid the heat of the day . We started at about 7 and got back down about 4 pm after hanging out at the lake for the day.
The great thing about this trail is that it is wide enough and in good enough shape that you can hike with your head up; which is great if you like looking at dense forest, ‘cause that’s almost all you’re going to see until you get well into the lake basin. The forest also means two other things are true about this trail: 1) you’re in shade for almost the entire trail. This has been nice as the weather has gotten warmer. And 2) With the exception of the one brief break in the trees where you can see Ollalie Lake, this trail has no intermediate “pay-off” until you reach Pratt Lake.
Why is all this relevant? Because of the one thing they don’t tell you before the first time you go out on this trail. The one thing that isn’t in the trail description or any trip report that I read. So here’s what you really need to know: This trail is relentless. You are either going up, or you are going down. There are almost no flat sections until you get to the lake itself. There are some steep sections (especially between the ridge top and the basin, which makes coming back out a nice challenge), but this trail just plain doesn’t give you a break. So, it might not have been the best choice for my first overnighter of the season.
All the being said, it was a great hike. As I mentioned, the weather was great and the trail is in good shape for the most part. There was no snow in the basin at all, though the melt has made for some significant mud and muck. The Trillium are starting to bloom in force and some of the other flowers are catching up, too. On my way in on Friday I ran into another hiker who reported seeing a black bear on the talus heading down into the basin, but by the time I got there it was nowhere to be seen. I heard coyotes (?) howling Friday night as they moved across the ridge top above my campsite, but other than that the biggest wildlife I saw was about a three foot long bull snake.
That’s not counting the dogs, of course. Over two days I saw at least twenty dogs – and only four of them were on leash! Folks, I know your puppies like to run around and explore, but this is a wilderness area and there is a reason why they are required to be leashed. For the sake of everyone who likes to enjoy these wild areas, please keep your animals under control. (Mostly so they don’t come tearing through my campsite at 8:30 at night – you know who you are!)
Hard day hike but a good hike
Nice trail with plenty of changing coverages. The trail that shares the beginning of Granite Mountain was your typical I-90 2000+ elevation gain lake hikes. Easy switchbacks, decent grade, good young-growth intersparsed with oak trees. The turn-off for Granite Mountain is somewhat unnoticable because it is in-line with the trail direction and does not stick out. This trail takes you to the top of the ridge of Pratt lake Basin and forces you to loose at least 300 feet to get back into the basin and lake-level. Pratt Lake is not the most scenic lake in the Alpine Lake Wilderness, but it is an easier hike when it is dry.