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A moderate hike with waterfalls, views of the valley, and a lake. We went in November and there was little snow. You'll have to go later in the season for consistent snow. It was very cold at the top though! And a bit slick...

Hiked this trail about 10days ago. Largely clear of snow but icy parts around the top of the pass so microspikes or poles would be helpful. The lake was not frozen over when we visited but I suspect it will be soon.
Lovely scenery along the way with the waterfalls. Was perfect for a sunny November day.

Very scenic trail. Need good hiking shoes preferably waterproof. Cold at the top in November!

hiking
2 months ago

had a great time. alot of water on the trail but it is November so expected some.
crossing the big streams was challenging but didn't stop us

The Lake was so beautiful and not much traffic. Hike was not bad but too windy at the top. The fall colors are gone :( Still an awesome hike with many falls creek running along for most part of the hike.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful lake, it’s much more enjoyable than Snow Lake. There is a huge drop off in people on the trail after you pass Snow Lake. Trail is very well maintained.

Fantastic weather and great view all the way to the melakwa lake !

We got lost trying to find the trailhead to Snow Lake as our initial hiking trip. But we ended up at Denny Creek Trailhead with the idea to hiked up to Melakwa Lake.
Beautiful Autumn colors painted the forestry, and mountain cliffs. The sounds of gushing water from creeks, and waterfalls echoing through part of trails. Autumn blue skies, green forestry and mountain backdrops gave the sense of dramatic world of its own.
Dogs and his human appeared small but felt the urge to give thanks to the creator of this magnificent world.

The sweats of each steps on the rocky trails was hard on the last 2 miles before the lake especially for their paws. 8 miles with 2000 ft elevation Gain was hard enough for the day. Defeated we are not. We will be back!!

Saw different mushrooms. Lakes are beautiful. Worth the effort. Went there on 10/12/2018.

Hiked here on a Saturday, 10/06/2018. Got to the trailhead around 830am, and only 4 cars were there. The trail had snow about 5 inches high. I didn’t have my spikes but wish I had them. After the first half a mile the trail is all snow until the Lake.

backpacking
3 months ago

Definitely worth going to extra distance to Gem Lake from Snow Lake. Very pretty and a good place to stop for lunch.

Wonderful hike! Steady elevation gain most of the way. Lovely fall colors all the way up to the lake currently. Peaks up top were clouded in, making for moody photography. Lake was a vibrant teal nonetheless. Quite nice against the orange leaves! No snow anywhere, and although quite cold, no snow falling today.

The second half is definitely pretty rocky. Just have to be careful with your footing especially on a rainy day like today. Nothing sketchy, just couldn’t go as fast as I’d like. (Did get passed by a dude trail running, so it just depends on what you’re comfortable with.)

horseback riding
3 months ago

Easy ride, not much elevation gain, no steep drop offs but LOTS of hikers. The lake itself is beautiful! Would definitely recommend going on a weekday when there may be less traffic on the trail.

This was a great hike. The lake was amazing as well. The upper trail had snow on the trees and peaks. But this is not a 8.5 mile hike. My tracker put me at 11.1 miles from trailhead to the end of the lake. I wasn’t expecting to put my dog through such a long hike, but he did great.

I would say if it's your first time hiking or you don't have good shoes. stop at the first second water fall, stay there a bit and look. there's a secret way to get on it. Then just head back. if you want to keep going, pack a wind breaker or something light but warm cause near the lake it's bloody cold.

hiking
3 months ago

I’m a beginner, I’m a gramma and I’m overweight. I practiced by working my way up to 4.5mile walks around home. Took me 2 hours to get there and 1:40 to get back. Beautiful every step of the way. Gorgeous lake and mountain. My phone said 9.6 miles and 24,450 steps! No Fitbit just the health app on the phone.

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike! It’s a little tricky to get to the far side of the lake where the camp sites are. I had to traverse a steep slick rock face. The lake is beautiful.

We planned on this being our lighter hike of the trip and only doing the Denny Creek trail but ended up going all the way to the lake. This may have been my favorite in the end. We had some beautiful views along the way and a great variety of scenery. The falls, creek, woods and a good amount of wildlife. Several Pika, frogs and chipmunks were spotted. Turned out to be a perfect way to end our time in the mountains.

hiking
3 months ago

This was a beautiful hike with incredible views from start to finish. Definitely areas that were a bit challenging but well worth it.

hiking
4 months ago

Great, easy hike. Lake is absolutely beautiful, could spend the whole day there. Took German Shepherd and wasn’t quite enough to tire him out.

hiking
4 months ago

This hike have great and amazing views of the lakes but it’s very rocky all the way up to Gem Lake. I do recommend to go early in the morning to get a good parking and also to avoid a lot of the day hikers. I started at 08:30am and there’s not many people at that time. Once I passed Snow Lake, I’ve only seen a few people on my way to Gem Lake. And most of them are coming back from camping. Once I got to Gem Lake, there’s only a few people there (I counted 5 to include myself). I stayed for half an hour and enjoyed the quietness of the nature. I completed the hike with a moving time right under 5 hours. I could’ve finish it earlier but there were a lot of people going the other direction :( So, yeah. My recommendations: Early start, good hiking shoes, and drinking water

I enjoyed this hike. One of my favorites. However the hike down to the lake and back was closer to 11.5 miles.

I did it some weeks ago, camping at Fourth of July. First backcountry experience... and it was tough.
It was so smoky... that the views were not what I expected...

Great hike with lots of changing scenery. It got busier as the day went with other hikers coming in as we were going out. Hardly a bug to be seen.

'Northwest Forest Pass' required for parking. I think you can get them for 5$ right at the parking lot, our vehicle already has one.

Trail begins wide and meanders thru the forest. It's loud due to the highway above you but this quickly fades. The trail will come alongside Denny Creek and then stairs will lead you right to the creek. You have to cross here and look for the small sign on a tree. More forest and then it opens up. Next you'll see Keekwulee Falls. Alternating forest and open rock switchbacks. We had low cloud for the hike in, and then the sky cleared while we had lunch at the lake. The second lake pathway runs to the left side of the main lake, only takes a few minutes to get there.

backpacking
4 months ago

Great day hike! The initial portion of the hike is uneventful as you walk up an access road. After about half a mile the trailhead is on your left. From this point it’s a good workout; significant inclining trail on both hard, loose gravel and soft forest bed. At around 1.75 miles the tree line opens up slightly and you’ll have some spectacular views; including Mt. Rainer on a clear day. The first signage marks he trail split; right for Lake Margaret, left for Lillian. We did both lakes and they are equally impressive. Both trails finish with a 300 - 400 ft. descent to the lakes themselves. We spent about 6 hours on the trail and at the lakes. We brought along our 2 year old Lab and he loved the trail as well as the lakes!

Pretty lake, trail is pretty rocky so good footwear is key

hiking
4 months ago

Fun hike for the family today. Garmin watch clocked hike at 10.38 miles and we did hike in 5 hrs 3 min. Minimal mosquitoes near the lake but otherwise nice hike. Trail is dry and in good condition. No snow. Trailhead parking lot was very full but it was Labor Day weekend.

hiking
4 months ago

Very busy. Once you get passes snow lake, it’s less busy, but not by too much. Gem lake is gorgeous! Tons of places to camp and take a quick lunch.

Fantastic hike. You get to experience all sorts of terrain :) And no bugs whatsoever this morning. It was good knowing that most of the elevation gain occurred as you approach Hemlock pass. Consistent pace is the key.

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