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Melakwa Lake via Denny Creek Trail is a 9.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Snoqualmie Pass, Washington that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and snowshoeing and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 9.7 mi Elevation gain 2,680 ft Route type Out & Back

Dogs on leash

Hiking

Snowshoeing

Forest

Lake

River

Views

Waterfall

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Blowdown

Bugs

Rocky

Snow

Description
Waypoints (4)
Facilities
Contact
Getting There

Hike along Denny creek, underneath I-90 past a couple of waterfalls, ending at a high alpine lake. Please note that snow has still been reported in June further down the trail. If you are planing to do the full length of the trail, please bring appropriate gear and pay attention to any blazes/markings on trees, as the trail may be covered by snow. Road will be closed due to snow during parts of the winter.

Federal Northwest Forest Pass to park

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest Snoqualmie District (North Bend) Tel: 425.888.1421 www.fs.fed.us/r6/mbs

From Seattle, E on I-90 to exit 47. Left off freeway for 0.1 miles. Right at T for 0.3 miles. Bear Left at fork onto FSR 58 for 2.4 miles. Left on FSR 5830 for 0.5 miles to trailhead

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (512)
Photos (1029)
Recordings (375)
Completed (1726)
Andrew Swanson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jul 08 2020
HikingBugsGreat!MuddyRocky

This was probably my favorite of the Alpine Lakes lakes I've visited thus far (but I haven't even been to the Enchantments yet, so what do I know?)! The already surreally-green lake turned an almost turquoise color when the sun started poking through the clouds. Be sure to visit the upper lake too, just as beautiful! Trail was not bad, a few streams to ford, complete with log bridges if desired, but nothing impossible. Most of the elevation gain is in the last mile or so, going up the "pass" (it's named something) before dropping down into the lake basin. Keep moving on the trail or the bugs will start to slowly eat you, unless of course you've got some bug spray. There are many good lunch rocks and a little peninsula (we called it Florida) you can chill on at the lake. I'd say it was just as gorgeous than Lake Serene, if not a little more. Keekwulee Falls on the way up were also super pretty and unlike any other I've seen in WA. They looked more like a water feature in a large contemporary European home. Took about 3hrs up, 2 down at a leisurely pace with breaks.

View Andrew's Recording
Dale Eberhardt
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMon Jul 06 2020
HikingMuddyRocky

Fantastic trial. It was very cold at the top on the day I went so be prepared for that. Enjoyed myself and plan on coming back to go for a swim sometime later in the summer.

David Stark
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Jul 04 2020
HikingBlowdownMuddyRocky

We hiked this trail starting at 9:30 on Friday 7/3. You have to take NF-5800 to the trailhead (Google maps will send you to Denny Creek Rd, but that's a one way). The Trailhead parking lot is gated, so you have to park along the road and walk 1/4-ish miles to the actual Trailhead. The trail was fairly muddy, but in good shape overall. You start by meandering through the forest until you get to the slip n slide area across Denny Creek. From there you start to climb and the trail gets significantly more rocky. Most of the rocks are large-ish and easy to step over, but still one of the more rock-filled trails we've encountered in the PNW. There is also a large (5-ft diameter) tree down across the trail after Denny Creek and you have to climb up and over it via the trail wall. This was fairly difficult, but not impossible (our dog just walked right under the log, but too tight for us). Keekwulee falls was next on the trail and it was beautiful, well worth the climb just to that. Melakwa lake was also beautiful, tho we preferred the view and solitude of the upper lake instead. I would recommend checking out that lake. Bugs were not bad for us and the trail was moderately busy for a holiday weekend.

Jim M.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jun 30 2020
Hiking

6/30/2020 - parking lot closed. I was second car at 7:15 am. Saw no one on way up. More people on way way back but not bad as today was a drizzly day. Other trail descriptions accurate. Just a little snow left and easy to follow trail. Alltrails tells me its 10.5 miles and 2800 feet round trip to the upper lake.

Alex J
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jun 28 2020
HikingMuddyRocky
Viraj Waddankeri
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Jun 27 2020
HikingMuddy

Reached Denny creek trail off i90 on exit 47 at 10:00 AM, few spots left in parking lot, also saw some parked on the street. It was a rainy and foggy day might have discouraged some hikers to get out. The trail itself starts easy, pretty flat for the first 1.5 miles where you’ll encounter the first river crossing. Couple of logs are placed to aid in crossing it, needs some balancing act but nothing difficult. From here on out, the hike starts to climb but at a friendly gradient. You’ll get another river crossing which is slightly tricker - has a log but was too narrow for us, we moved across by walking on well placed rocks immediately after you have to go under a fallen tree. From here all the way to the lake it’s climb up, might get challenging for some on the two boulder sections maneuvering around on the rocks. Once you see snow patches on your trail (of which there are a few couple of high patches to cross nothing challenging) you are close to the lake. After the snow patches you’ll start descending and will see a sign for Melakwa lake. The lake itself is absolutely beautiful unfortunately for us, it was extremely foggy and we couldn’t get a good view but still worth it. The hike itself would be moderate (Easy for some experiences hikers) to hard (someone who is lacking some fitness or is out of touch with hiking)

View Viraj's Recording
Isaul Lopez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jun 26 2020
HikingRocky
View Isaul 's Recording
Cindy M
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jun 18 2020
HikingBlowdownBugsMuddyRockySnow

Got to the Franklin Falls parking about 630am. Only passed two groups of two on the way to the lake. Trail has some pretty muddy portions and also portions with water running on the trail. And one big blowdown you have to navigate under. The first Denny Creek crossing was pretty easy - across some logs. The second Denny Creek crossing was doable on various rocks sticking somewhat out of the water, but I’d recommend water proof shoes and poles. The snow coverage really starts just a bit before the uphill slog to Hemlock Pass. Route finding is necessary, as there is no way to see portions of the trail. It’s also quite steep, somewhat soft snow. I eventually put on microspikes, as an uncontrolled slide in some spots was a definite risk. Past Hemlock Pass, there’s intermittent snow coverage. Punching through is a definite risk right now. There was evidence that others had punched through and I slightly did a couple of times. I stopped at the lower lake. I headed towards the upper lake, but the snow along the edge of the lower lake was soft and I was punching through, so I turned back out of caution because I wasn’t sure where the shore actually was and the water began. I had the lower lake to myself. It was a misty magical wonder. Loved it! The hike out became quite busy from the Denny Creek hangout area to the TH.

Michelle Lazarov
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Jun 07 2020
BlowdownMuddySnow

this trail is not quite ready for consumption yet. needs a bit more time to cook. a few large trees have falling over the trail and sections are under either water or snow making it difficult to navigate. I finally gave up and turned around when the trail completely disappeared under the snow. I followed boot tracks and glacsde tracks for a while but neither were actually the trail. some people were going straight up without bothering with a trail, but I was not confident enough to take such measures.

Andrew Tertocha
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFri Jun 05 2020
HikingMuddyOff trailRockySnow

Hiked on a Friday morning in fair conditions, saw very few people the whole trip. Failed to make it all the way to Melakwa Lake, but did manage to top out at Hemlock Pass before deciding to turn around, see below. Please note that this trail is in fact OPEN despite the description. The trail to Snowshoe Falls is in good condition, however after that you begin to hit large patches of snow. Crossing Denny Creek above the falls was tricky, but very doable. At about 3 miles the snow really begins to cover the trail and I was essentially following faint footprints. Lost the trail multiple times and ended up clambering straight up the mountain to Hemlock Pass where the trail becomes visible again. Decided to not push myself to the lake given the trail condition, however a more seasoned hiker wouldn't find it too crazy. Would not recommend attempting the lake this time of year without poles or spikes and GPS as not to lose the trail. In 2-3 weeks everything should be cleared out and will attempt again. Overall beautiful hike though!

Sam Weston
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu May 28 2020
Hiking

Trail was in pretty good shape. Muddy in spots. Large tree across trail just past the Denny creek “water slides.” Snow line begin just past Keekwulee falls. Crossing Denny creek after the falls was a “little wet”. Couldn’t find a great place to cross. Route finding got a little tricky closer to the lake. I may have taken a bit of a “winter route” and skipped some switch backs. Didn’t needs spikes or floatation. Gaiters and poles were helpful. Snow should be mostly melted out in the next week or 2. The lake was beautiful! Only a small part is thawed by the big sunny rock. Parked at Franklin falls TH. Forgot to stop tracker at end. Total hike miles was around 10.5 car to car.

View Sam's Recording
Kyra Dragone
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue May 26 2020
HikingRockySnow

We did this hike on 5/24. We had a great time but honestly weren’t prepared for the amount of snow. Short version-you’ll definitely want trekking poles or spikes to make it to the lake. We started at 8am to beat the crowds and were the only car parked when we started. We only saw two other people the whole morning on our way up. The whole way up we ran into patches of snow here or there but at about 1.5 miles from the lake we started to be in pretty deep snow the whole time. It was well packed but was starting to melt so in certain places our legs would break through, dropping down to our upper thigh. Because of the amount of snow, the trail also became really hard to follow. About .5 miles from the lake we got to a really steep switchback. With the amount of snow and steepness we decided to turn around. It would have been doable with spikes or trekking poles, but without either of those things we didn’t think we would be able to safely make it back down. On the way back down we saw so many people, especially when we got back to the main creek crossing about 1 mile from the trailhead. Back at the car there were about 50-75 additional cars parked.

Daniel Kaseumsouk
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Dec 09 2019
HikingRockySnow

Did this hike on 11/8/2019. Lot had about 6 cars at 830am and when I returned back to the lot at 1:30pm there was still a ton of parking. Drive was fine. There was a quarter mile stretch with snow on the road but everything else was dry. This is coming from exit 52 No spikes needed until about a half a mile pass Keekwulee Falls. From there the snow is nicely padded but can get a bit slippery. The lake is frozen and if you want to see Upper Melakwa you would have to post hole about 2 feet of snow towards there. I made the trek and think it’s pretty worth it since that lake is frozen as well!

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