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we did this hike on New Years Eve and again this past Sunday. One of our favorites for sure. NYE there was allot of snow, obviously fresh and super cold. This past weekend, much of the snow was gone and the lake wasnt as frozen. Two very different hikes and very different views along the way with and without the snow. Cant wait to come back in the summer to camp! Easy in and out very little elevation. Just enough to get your heart rate up a bit and then your there. LOTS of dogs off their leashes would be my only negative comment. We brought 3 dogs both times and kept them leashed for caution both times.

Nice hike definitely recommend microspikes and poles. Has some icy sections.

Soooooo beautiful ! Summer time is definitely the best!

Woody trail is beautiful, leading to spectacular views of 3 falls, lower, middle (wow!) and upper. There are also panoramic views of the Olympics and Seattle to be enjoyed on a clear day, should you choose to add a huge loop to your falls hikes, and head toward Wallace Lake. Record high, clear day in winter and the parking lot was packed, trail busy, but still lots of quiet spots. Dogs had a great time and other owners were conscientious. Really well maintained and signed trails and great facilities at the parking area.

hiking
4 days ago

Weather on the trail was perfect, no need for poles or yaktracks. The trail is super wore down and good for a person looking for a stroll or a family. The upper falls is worth the extra ~1 mi to the top. Also we started our hike at 8:30am and was completely alone most of the time, trail didn't start to get heavy with people until around 10:00.

on Snow Lake Trail

hiking
4 days ago

I hiked on Friday. This was my first time doing a snow hiking so it’s little bit difficult for me. Just made 2/3 of the trail because the snow was deeper in the last 1/3 and the trail was so narrow. I def. hike again with a better preparation to complete the trail. The scenery was very beautiful tho.

hiking
4 days ago

Hiked as far as we could today- a recent avvy slide completely demolished the rest of the trail right before reaching the lake. Multiple hikers that got there before us said they tried going around it right, then left, and ultimately couldn’t make it to the lake. Some of them had GPS and still didn’t make it to the lake.
Otherwise a beautiful hike! There was a decent amount of snow, although we didn’t need snowshoes. We just had microspikes and we were absolutely fine. The snow on the trail was decently padded down when we went and it was warm enough that there was no ice- the microspikes just gave us good grip on compact snow.
Didn’t see any extreme signs of imminent avvy danger, besides the recent slide that ended up stopping our hike early. There is water running through the trail area and one stream was noticeably running underneath a small snowfield, but it wasn’t too steep of a grade and didn’t concern me.

Beautiful in the summer and winter. Definitely a favorite.

hiking
5 days ago

Went up today! Beautiful hike. With snow plows, needed to jump up to trail head. Hiked with spikes for 1.75 miles then lost trail. You could see the divots but didn’t bring snowshoes so decided to turn back. Saw a few hikers, snowshoers & cross country skiers. Maybe they good blaze the trail. A few slides in open fields. Fun streams to cross

Doing this hike again, after 5 years. This time we are doing it with Daughter, our 8mth old puppy and more friends. Going Saturday January 12th 2019. This will be the 3rd hike of the new year.☺

hiking
10 days ago

Took us 2 hours up, 1.5hr down. The whole trail has snow on it, but the first half of the trail was packed down snow. We had spikes on the whole time, but snow shoes would be good for the last half of the trail since we started blazing the trail. There was only one area that was a difficult to get up. Definitely need poles! There was one other group in front of us making a trail since you can't see it eventually. Once we started hiking down we saw a lot more groups hiking up.

Love hiking in the winter as a rainy day or break alt from skiing. Multiple stream crossings are my son’s (5) favorite. Watch out for streams filling up. Need grippy shoes (we turned the hike back into a slip and slide due to my son’s Bogs). We only have done the first mile. Definitely coming back in the summer for some backpacking.

Park in the Camp Sheppard Trailhead parking lot. Easy and gentle incline all the way to the falls. We went counter-clockwise and found the incline wasn't as steep as the descent. There was a somewhat trecherous crossing once we got up to the falls that required microspikes and many deep breaths. We encountered a few groups that turned around once reaching the snow crossing, but we had the right gear where it wasn't a problem.

Such a gorgeous trail all through. One can hear the sound of river pretty much from the entire trail. the views of water gushing on the rocks and the waterfalls are to unbelievable! Middle falls are the most pretty but lower falls are quite a beauty too. Upper falls has a much steeper climb but not the views as impressive as middle or lower. Also if you go to upper falls, the total trail length is 5.5 miles. I think the 4.4 miles mentioned in the description is only till middle falls. But Valley overlook point is beautiful, after middle falls and before upper. The trail condition is very good. Various bridges, stairs and paved paths all through the trail. Hiking poles were such a savior. the climb is steep on this trail, so if you can take the poles, please do!

hiking
15 days ago

Great hike on a beautiful and maintained trail. Being that it was New Year’s Day and free day at state parks we were still lucky enough to find parking.

We had some sunshine and a bit of blue skies. We saw a lot of cool fungus.

Hiked with our two kiddos, ages 5 and 7. The ranger station has a fun scavenger hunt to complete.

hiking
15 days ago

It is beautiful for sure for a bit too crowded for my liking.

hiking
16 days ago

This is a beautiful hike. Avoid the crowds and go on a weekday.

hiking
17 days ago

Visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPR3FnXSfgk or https://www.YouTube.com/TheUpperLeftUSA to see a video from the trail.

This was my first opportunity to hike this trail and I have to say that I enjoyed it quite a bit. This is one of those trails that offers a lot in a short amount of distance. It just seemed like there were views around every couple of corners.

For those who are interested in doing the hike, going early is a definite recommendation. I arrived at the trailhead at 8 am and there were about 20 cars in the parking lot. As I hiked, I saw many people and by the time that I was finished, a good portion of the parking lot was filled. I did this hike on New Year's Eve, which is something that not as many people are going to do. I can only imagine that on a nice summer day, parking is going to be taken up fast. There is no parking on the side of the road on the way to the trailhead so you'll have to find parking elsewhere in the surrounding residential area.

On this day, I only hiked to lower falls so take that into consideration as you read this report. That being said, the hike to lower falls is relatively easy. A more experienced hiker or someone with good cardiovascular endurance would have little problem. I would like to note that there was a little girl less than 5 years old that I saw throughout the trail walking on her own. That kind of tells you about the difficulty of this hike. To me, it seemed like there was not a lot of elevation gain. More so smaller patches of incline climbs rather than a constant climb.

Conditions on this particular day were great. It had been raining consistently for the past couple of weeks and this was an unusually good weather day. I was layered up pretty well and stayed warm throughout the hike but my hiking partner did complain about being cold and losing sensation when not in motion. Keep that in mind as you plan your trip! Another thing that would be helpful is to bring a waterproof layer because there were a lot of water droplets falling from the trees even on a nice sunny day. If you're going on a wet day, bring waterproof gear for sure.

Overall, this is definitely a recommended hike. There is a lot of reward for the amount of effort put in, even if you don't do the entire hike.

If you'd like to see more coverage of various hikes around Washington and the rest of the world, consider checking out my work whether it's through YouTube or my various other social media outlets!

Hải Hoàng Trần
Photographer | Videographer
TheUpperLeftUSA.com
Instagram.com/TheUpperLeftUSA
YouTube.com/TheUpperLeftUSA

hiking
17 days ago

HEATED bathrooms!! The amenities here are fabulous. The parking lot is large, and they have volunteers present. You need a discovery pass to park. The trail was well marked and well maintained. If you use poles, take them! I thought since this was an easier hike compared to the last few, that I didn't need mine. The last mile.....whew! I could have used them!

camping
17 days ago

Hiked in on 12/26 to do a couple of days of snow camping. The area is stunning and quite snowy (note: be aware that the road leading
up to the trailhead is getting challenging for non 4x4s). The bridge over the creek is fine (having poles is a plus for this hike) and the lake frozen over. Baring Mountain looming high above the lake is a sight to see, complete with a crown of clouds.

I had to cut my camping short as my bivvy sack, pad, sleeping bag, wool blanket, and wool base and middle layers weren’t enough for the clear sky cold of the night. I went to bed at 7:30 or so and woke up at 9:20 realizing I was feeling areas of cold even through all of my layers. I elected to bail and hiked back through the forest in light snow following the partially filled tracks of previous hikers. I did get to see very fresh elk tracks - probably missed saying hello by a few minutes.

Walking back at night was a very intense and vibrant experience. I will say I did crazy ivans every few minutes to look for any night eyes. A little disappointed at not being able to stay the night but the overall experience was magical.

snowshoeing
17 days ago

Snow lake did not disappoint. I made it to the top of the lake and didn’t press my luck traversing down to the actual lake. Gorgeous scenery. Tons of snow. A bit wet. But nothing too bad!

Discovery Pass Required (or $10 for the day to park). Discovery Pass is available to purchase at the visitor booth at the entrance to the trail ($30). The trail is gorgeous! Well maintained. There is a small trail loop that includes a bunch of stories about a native tree. The scenery along the hike is beautiful. The hike itself is moderate, the first 2 miles is fairly easy however the last 0.75 miles can be tricky, especially when it’s raining. The falls are breathtaking as well as the view of the valley. Only 1-1.5hrs from Seattle, I highly recommend it!

Hiked 12/29/18. First off, I would HIGHLY recommend bringing poles and ice spikes. It will make this hike a lot less strenuous. Snow shoes are not necessary. Secondly, there was snow in the parking lot when we got there, but even if your car doesn’t have AWD, I think it wouldn’t be a problem since the road to the parking lot isn’t very long. There was patchy snow from the very start of the trail. About a mile in, the snow on the trail became much thicker. There was a compact trail all the way to the lake and the path was very clear the entire way as well. The last 3/4ths of a mile to the lake probably had anywhere from 5-7 feet of snow especially in the avalanche chutes. It rained pretty much the entire day and on our way back, the snow was turning pretty slushy/wet. There’s a good chance a lot of that wet snow and all of the slush puddles will freeze over night. There was already some ice on our way up, which was really slippery even for ice spikes. It took us about 2 hours and 15 minutes to get to the lake and then another hour and 45 minutes to get back to the car. Definitely plan ahead as it does get dark very early in the Forest. Nonetheless, it was beautiful at the top! Enjoy :)

hiking
18 days ago

Did the hike today but only made it about one third or half way due to rain and the trail being washed out a bit. With the rain we thought it was better to be safe so we turned back about halfway. We didn't use snow shoes but we used crampons. Snow shoes are not necessary due to compact snow but if you don't have crampons I would suggest snowshoes. We actually saw a group of 3 guys not dressed for the trail and one of them had on cowboy boots!! The views were beautiful. Next time we plan to get to Snow Lake!

hiking
18 days ago

Went up this morning with high hopes. Trailhead was a little hidden (it’s between the 2 upper parking lots at Alpental and requires a little climb up a snow bank from the snow plows). Brought spikes and snow shoes and used both. Some sections were a bit narrow for shoes though. Spikes would have sufficed for most of the way up. The trail was easy to follow and walk on with packed snow though some sections were soft and did some postholing in spikes.
Unfortunately, once the trail spilts and the switch backs starts, most of the trail was washed out but small slides and avalanches. Going the other direction towards the rim had the same result. I wasn’t comfortable blazing a new route on my own given the rainy weather and the threat of more slides. Disappointed I got as close as 3/4 mi from the lake but it was still a fun hike. Still clocked in 5 1/2 miles RT.
*I used GAIA to make sure I stayed on the trail in the washes out areas but it got a bit too deep for me and my dog.

hiking
19 days ago

Only went about one-third of the way because the family pooped out, but still beautiful and not too much traffic. We brought snowshoes but didn't need them because the snow was already hard-packed from other hikers.

We went on 12/27, once you turn onto the service road theres a few pot holes, we hit quite a bit of snow on the way up the road around 10 a.m. and some cars got stuck, one had to get towed out. The hike was gorgeous, there's some slushy snow on lake, we brought micro spikes but didn't need them. Very minimal elevation gain, but as it gets more icy would be good to have spikes and poles. Plan for extra time as it takes longer in the snow, esp. if you have to park a ways down due to road conditions. There is a bathroom at the trailhead and lots of shy camprobbers :)

hiking
20 days ago

Lots of snow, trail gets a little harder near the switch backs. Bring gloves and a beanie, and poles would help. waterproof gear. Trail is narrow, I wouldn’t wear snow shoes

hiking
20 days ago

I completed this hike in late October and it was beautiful! We started a little too late in the day and ended up being still on the trail at nightfall. It was a little chilly after dark but overall the temperatures were comfortable. It was a little too foggy to see the lake completely but the views were definitely still worth it. The trail gets narrow and rocky (and wet!) in several spots so I wouldn't recommend this hike for young children. The full loop is actually 7.2 miles. Great hike!

we did this overnight 12/19/18. we got up about a mile before we had to put on snowshoes as it was clear no one has use the trail in a while. the trail is only fairly marked but even with the snow it was fairly easy to follow. hopefully we made it easier for people to follow after we trailblazed it lol. other than that beautiful hike!

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